Years ago, I lived in a tiny house a few blocks from the beach with a street address that made mail service nearly impossible.
The city’s streets were on a grid system, with north-south streets given letters: Avenue A, Avenue B, and so on. My otherwise normal street sat between Avenue Q and Avenue R on Avenue Q ½.
Maybe that street got added after they plotted out the city. Maybe long-ago city planners just wanted to be different. Whatever the reason, receiving mail became sporadic and later put me in danger of identity theft.
When I needed a replacement social security card, I had to request a new one three times. The Social Security office recorded sending the first two, but they never arrived. Who knows where they ended up, but I hope the person who received them didn’t have an itch to steal my identity.
Eight years later, I had the problem again, even though I lived 500 miles from Avenue Q ½. Our postal employee delivered my mail to the wrong address so often, I think I got more of other people's mail than my own. A numbered street caused the problem that time.
Odd addresses or number mix-ups aren’t the only reason for mail delivery issues. If you live somewhere that’s new construction, you can’t receive mail until the U.S. Postal Service accepts your new address into its registry. Until then, you’re off the grid.
Even once the postal service accepts your new address, you might have spotty package delivery that varies depending on your delivery driver and how quickly the new address shows up in navigation systems.
Not everyone has the luxury to complain of inconsistent mail delivery. In rural areas, the postal service doesn't offer home delivery.
You might embrace the small town life, but that doesn’t mean the postal service will deliver your mail.
In some smaller cities, such as Jackson, Wyoming, residents don’t have the option of home mail delivery at their physical mailing address. Everyone in town has to get a PO Box. Towns across the country in mountainous areas or rural areas also operate under the same method.
Postal workers will also forgo delivering mail to your address for other reasons. You won’t get mail if a vehicle parks in front of your mailbox.
A loose dog in your neighborhood that the postal carrier views as threatening can prevent delivery for your home - or even the whole neighborhood.
Road construction, or poor road conditions, may also prevent mail delivery. If you’re traveling long term or simply don’t check the mail often, a full mailbox can prevent you from getting new mail.
Having a problem once can inconvenience you. If it persists, it might be time to look for another option, such as a virtual mailbox service.
Virtual mailboxes prevent all the problems with difficult addresses and won’t require you to visit the post office to pick up letters and packages. Plus, you can check your mail from anywhere, on any device. You’ll be able to look at mail scanned in as mail arrives, and have the option of having checks deposited automatically.
A virtual mailbox uses a real street address or PO Box. Mail sent there gets sorted, processed, and scanned. You can go online or use your phone to view and sort all of your mail, then decide whether you want to keep it or have it securely shredded.
Personal mailbox plans start at $19 a month and include up to 50 scanned mail items a month, not including junk mail that is automatically recycled.
Interested in learning more? Here’s how virtual mailboxes work.
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