A handful of months ago, the public post office mailboxes — those classic blue rounded-top thingies—were modified. Previously, you would walk up to them and pull the handle forward; a section at the top would swing towards you from a hinge in the middle, with the bottom half of the same section swinging away from you below the hinge, thus blocking your access to anything already in the box, but you could now shove a handful of outbound mail across this metal section, then let go, and it would swing back and eat your mail.
Now you walk up to it and it’s welded shut; a very narrow orifice has been added at the very top, with little metal trailing fingers that you have to push your mail past to get it to go in. You can maybe get two pieces of mail in on top of each other if they’re skinny but if you’re mailing thank you cards to a dozen people, your’e going to be standing there for awhile, doing 2-3 at a time max.
I see online descriptions of the fact that the changeover occurred but no explanations about why.
Did I miss a relevant news story? Was there a concern or an incident involving bombs / bags of rotten fish / other horrible things being put into PO boxes? Or was there a case where the security of already-mailed mail was breached and this fixes it? Something else?
Here is a thread from February about the same thing. The reason is to prevent people from stealing mail already in the box.
It’s to prevent people from dangling glue-ended string (etc) to fish out mail (in the hopes of getting checks or cash, I guess) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/nyregion/mailbox-theft-fishing.html
It thought it was related to the rule that you can’t mail something that weighs more than 13 ounces. For more about that rule, and a photo of the informative warning label that USPS has been putting on mailboxes, click here.
But that rule has been around for almost 15 years, while the mailboxes are new.
Yeah, I was wondering if there had been an event — like an incident where someone did indeed fish out someone’s mail with fishing line and chewing gum —or a phenomenon such as people ignoring the 13 ounce rule and creating problems and the post office decided it had to do something about it.
True. I had forgotten to mention my suspicion that they are phasing in the new mailboxes slowly. Around 2-4 years ago, I mentioned to my wife that the mailbox near us had been replaced, and the previous and current versions were exactly as the OP had described.
So if they were changed recently in your area, and several years ago in my area, it’s entirely possible that the changeover began 5-10 years ago somewhere else.
I’ve found several articles attributing the new boxes to antitheft measures (https://www.boston25news.com/news/mailbox-fishing/2I4V6TIYRNEC7DN2A3H2YWSFZY/); have you seen any about the weight restriction?
A few years ago, I mailed a payment using a mailbox outside my dry cleaners. As usual, after opening the hatch, setting the letter on the inside, and closing the hatch, I pulled the hatch all the way open and looked to see that the letter had actually fallen into the bin. To my surprise, I could see the letter against the back wall. I found a slender branch on the ground and poked at the letter to force it off the wall and into the bin. When I finished, I noticed the end of the stick was sticky! Taking a closer look at the back wall, it looked like it had been coated with something.
That experience, plus the fact that the chewing gum and string method has undoubtedly been surpassed by tools such as one of these, persuaded me to stop using mailboxes entirely.
It sounds like this new version makes it safer to mail using a mailbox.
I had not thought about stealing mail. The best I could come up with before was that it was to prevent people from dumping shit in there for grins. Chocolate malts and the like, or much worse.