Anyone work in a billing center?

Every day when I open the day’s mail it is a pain in the ass. Some I just grab the corner and tear. For envelopes I might want to keep I get my handy knife and slit the top open. I know there are machines that cut a small strip off the top.

So how does the mail arrive to the people who have to go through it and credit each account with the amount on the enclosed check? Does a clerk dump another 500 envelopes on your table when you get low and you have to open them? Do the envelopes arrive to you pre-cut? Do they somehow remove the envelope yet keep the invoice and payment together?

The people I used to work with in medical billing, well most of it is electronic. But all physical mail went to me first. This was a small doctor’s office over the last 8 years, maybe 20 to 50 pieces of physical mail a week. Either the receptionist or myself would grab the mail from the mailbox on the curb, and it arrived on my desk in that state. I would just use a handy letter opener, sort the payments out from other mail like bills, records, subpoenas, etc.

For the first couple years I would send our billing service a weekly fax of all the billing related mail, then deposit the checks myself. Billing would go through the faxes at their office and credit each account. Grainy images were a pain and it took me a long time to make the irregularly shaped and sometimes double-sided mail work with the machine. After a couple years (and after the company we used moved conveniently close to our office) we decided to have the billing service send a courier for weekly pickups instead.


I have worked somewhere where there was a lot of daily mail to process. They had a machine called a jogger/slitter that you put a stack of envelopes in, and it would bounce the envelope contents to one side (the jogger part) then would cut off the opposite edge of the envelope (the slitter part).

If you think leaf blowers are annoying, you do not want to be in the same room when the slitter is running. Even with the door to the mailroom closed, you could hear that thing halfway across the building.

UPS experience here. Yes, we ran stacks of mail through a machine to open the envelopes. The opened envelopes were then arranged in trays so we could process them quickly. One step of the process was running a total on a 10-key. When I started, I was using a single finger to make entries. Within two weeks, I was using four fingers on my right hand and never looked at the machine itself. It was not unusual to run totals of over 500 figures.

I recall an article many years ago, when people used snail mail, about the lost letter office for the USPS. They mentioned a machine that (as stated above) cut a tiny slit off the top of each mis-addressed item. Then there was a suction cup process to pull the envelope open so the operator could look at the contents. they had about a second or two to decide if the contents were interesting, or capable of helping locate the intended recipient, then the machine moved on to the next item unless they pushed a button to set the item aside.

I work in Accounts Receivable and every day, someone on the team has to go into the office to retrieve mail and process paper checks. We get our checks in two ways: Those that are sent direct to the office (aka ‘dirty mail’) and items that are bounced to us by our lockbox processor.

The dirty mail, we open individually with a letter opener. Items from the lockbox come with the top of the envelope snipped off. This sometimes has the unfortunate effect of cutting an enclosed letter in two, as the ‘snip’ transects the folded letter.

I’ll put that machine name right up there with the louver groover machine that cuts slots to assemble louvers. And it was water powered to boot.