Mystery letter from overseas

For about 20 years I had a PO Box in Nevada. I lost it this year when it expired because I did not receive timely notification and some notices did not reach me overseas. I am willing to pay the new box holder (they told me it was re-rented) to get it back. So I sent a letter addressed to “Box Holder” from my home in Europe.

The letter was never opened and returned marked “refused”. I am now going to send a post card so it can be read without opening. Just a simple request that if they are willing, I will pay for any charges to get the box back. I plan to include my email, website and Nevada phone number on the Prague post card as I will be in the US by the time it gets there.

I am baffled that the person never opened the letter and just refused it. It was a hand-written envelope and did not look like junk mail. Maybe they thought it was full of anthrax??

If you received a hand-written letter from overseas addressed to “Box Holder” from someplace you had no relation to, would you open it? I know I would.

I’d probably open it too, being a curious cat. However, I can understand why some folks wouldn’t.

For example, as a postal worker, I can tell you that I was familiar with the Nigerian scam long before most people (early to mid-90s). Mail in strange brown envelopes would arrive in Sydney ex-Lagos by the sackful (thousands and thousands of articles). Strange thing was, they were all handwritten.

We had discovered it was a scam, but were duty-bound to deliver the mail as addressed. Thankfully, the Nigerian postal administration gave us the word that the stamps were forgeries and the mail was being snuck onto aircraft somehow. So then, we were able to simply bin the stuff.

Out of historical interest perhaps: in a form of proto-email harvesting, the Nigerian spammers of the day used to use the Sydney telephone book as their source material. We could tell this because the suburbs were abbreviated in that telephone book kinda way (“Blmre” for Belmore, “Pmtta” for Parramatta, etc).

And no aspersions on your good self Desert Nomad, but I find it kinda funny that an anonymous box holder in Nevada would return something because it seemed dodgy. :smiley:

Oh, I like that story.

I liked the fact that during my brief AP career we weren’t allowed to do anything with local mail. One day at Redfern we had a bag full of dope split open. After a brief consultation we were told to seal up the parcel, wrap it in plastic and put it in the appropriate mailbag. I bet the recipients shat themselves when they got it but they were safe as houses - we told no-one. Is that still the way it works?

Oh and I would open the letter in the OP.

Hmm… not as far as I’m aware.

Look, I personally think pot is pretty harmless (relatively), but you never know when a sting might be on. Anything like that, my response would be:

  • try not to touch the thing.
  • call somebody else over as a witness
  • stay with the parcel while somebody summons a manager
  • relax in that it’s now somebody else’s problem
    I think generally, these days, they’d be a lot tougher on this, just out of the modern-day increased sense of the need to cover one’s arse. The manager would likely call the Corporate Security Group. They’d get the police involved. The police would come and take it away. Happy police for a few days…

Guessing, but maybe the new box renter is only using it for a specific type of mail? Survey returns, orders, something that would come in a specific form/envelope. If they hire out mail opening, then anything that doesn’t match the expected mail might get automatically returned to sender.