Does anyone know what the green mailboxes are for? They are often located near a normal blue mailbox, but sometimes they stand alone. I think I remember hearing that they were for military use, but I’m not sure. Any mailmen want to tell me whats up?
I think they’re called relay boxes, and they are for the storage of mail to be delivered by letter carriers on foot. That way, they don’t have to carry a whole day’s worth of mail on their backs. I thought I had first read about this in the Straight Dope, but I can’t find it now.
Good question, I meant to ask this a couple weeks ago but forgot to. IIRC, the one I saw had “U.S. Army” painted on the side of it. The weird thing was that it was sealed up where someone would deposit mail in the blue ones. I didn’t see any other means to access it.
You’re right, they are called relay boxes, and that is what they are used for, according to my antique 1960 World Book Encyclopedia.
Though nowadays it seems that most letter carriers drive Jeeps from door to door and no longer have to walk their routes, and hence the relay boxes wouldn’t be needed anymore. Or is the volume of mail now so great that a Jeep is too small to carry all the mail for the route, so that the relay boxes are still needed? Maybe we have some postal workers here who can clue us in.
Bibliophage is correct. They contain extra bags for the carriers, provide them places to drop off empty bags when finished, and also contain other route carrier supplies (some forms, etc.). They are meant for foot-bound carriers, since a mailman with a truck would be able to carry those items themselves.
I’ve seen these boxes in use; the postman had one open and was picking up an extra bag to hold additional mail he’d picked up.
Thanks. Now I’ll be able to sleep at night.