Mailing a can of Coke®

In my younger days, I had always heard that if you put the right amount of postage on a can of Coke® (or any other soft drink) and taped the mailing address to the can, then dropped it into a mailbox, that the post office had to deliver it. I have never put it to the test, but I thought this would a great opportunity to have the myth (if it is one) debunked. Seems to me that if that can popped (nowadays) it would ruin the mail that was in the box, but we’re talking the days of can openers that bit into the side of the can and made a triangular opening. Plus, those cans weren’t aluminum. So how about it? Was it possible?



I believe Cecil did a column about what you can and cannot send in the mail, along with guidelines. I’m too damn lazy to find the link though. Someone wanna pick up my slack?

A friend of mine mailed her brother a coconut. All she did was stick a mailing label and the correct postage on it. I’ve been wanting to write my sister a letter on an old white keds shoe and send that through the mail. :slight_smile:

I don’t know about soft drink cans, but it is certainly possible to put the right amount of postage on a water bottle, tape on the mailing address and customs declaration form, and send it through the international mail.

Don’t ask how I came by this knowledge … it’s a long story.

Inside was a “Message in a Bottle” from a friend on vacation in New Mexico.
The thing had a fancy label and stationery, made to look like an old treasure map.

It was a souvenir, designed for mailing without a package, so I guess it must work all the time or they’d stop making them.

You might find this interesting.

Not totally the same thing, but I think this is the column you mean, ** SINsApple**:

Can I mail a brick back to a junk-mail firm using the business reply envelope?

Friedo, you are awesome. When I saw this thread I immediately thought of that page you linked, but I’d read it months ago and had no idea how to find it again.

I did, and I do. I just bookmarked the site, friedo, and I thank you for recommending it!


Had a room-mate in college who mailed a banana to a friend at another school. He wrote the address on an index card, taped it to the banana (no other packaging), took it to the campus post office and got postage on it and mailed it. It arrived at its destination in remarkably good condition.

It’s truly amazing what the Post Office will deliver. I once sent a bagel to a friend. Just a bagel, with a note and the address written on it, and the correct postage taped to it.

I’ve also sent things without really knowing the address, and they almost always get there. The best was this address:

Athena’s Friend
Pink House Two Doors Down from [local restaurant]
Top Floor Apartment
Town, St zipcode

I also wrote “Thank you very very much Mr. Postman!” on the envelope. I dunno if that did anything, but the letter got there.

On that topic, I’ve heard of two similar stories:

The first one happened in the sixties’. It seems a postcard got correctly (and timely) delivered to the New York offices of MAD Magazine, mailed from, as I recall, New Zealand. All it had as an address was a drawing of Alfred E. Neuman’s face. :smiley:

The other one was a letter adressed to “Fort Gesuntheit!” that got correctly delivered to Fort Huachuca (which I believe is in AZ or NM.)


Arizona is the home of fort hwa-choo-ca (you have the correct spelling)

Along the same lines, I was told of a story about an old woman in England who had alzeimers (sp?) and sent a letter to somebody in Vancouver, Canada with nothing but a name on the envelope.

The local post office people recognized it and sent it off to Canada and then somehow it made it’s way once it arrived in the country.

To the op: Yes! It is possible! My friend put a stamp on one side of a walnut, wrote my address on the other side, and it was mailed to me without any problem! I’m sure it gave the postal workers a lot of laughs! :smiley:

When I lived in Pleasanton, CA I received a letter that was addressed as follows:

Leslie Evans
Maynard, MA
The post office from my old (small) town remembered me and forwarded it ahead.

A famous (and probably apocryphal) story has the following letter successfully arriving at its destination:

Can you piece out the man’s name, town, and state from this puzzle?

John Underwood


John Underwood
Andover, Mass

I’ve seen that, I believe I read it in a book by Bill Bryson, IIRC.

I once received a neon plastic fish in the mail.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission mails its samples back to the home office.

However, tarantulas are non-mailable.

I finally got around to running all this past the Better Half this morning as he was getting dressed for work. The best examples that popped into his head of “odd objects sent through the mail” were, first, coconuts. “We get those all the time,” he said. Then, the people who mailed an entire brick building to Alaska, one brick at a time, because the shipping costs were too high. I said, “That’s an Urban Legend, isn’t it?” He said, “No, it’s a true story, it’s in the Postal Record occasionally.” (I looked it up on Google, and I notice that several trivia websites have it as “mailing it across Utah”. Maybe there were two instances.)

Friedo’s link goes to the legendary “mailed a balloon and a 20 dollar bill in a baggie” experiments. Letter carriers are still talking about this.

He said the saddest things they have to deliver is when a plane goes down, and the mailbags are salvaged from the wreckage. The mail from that is usually wet and smoke-stained, and is repackaged in Zip-Loc Baggies for letter carriers.

He said the creepiest thing he’s ever had to deliver was a package of cremated human remains. Oh, they deliver cremation remains all the time, it’s no big deal. But this package was leaking.

I asked him about mailing a full can of Coke. He shrugged and said, “Oh, sure.”