zephalis wrote: Diadem wrote: Shiyiya wrote: Diadem wrote: functoruser wrote:
Diadem wrote:This comic had me totally confused until I realized that the yellow thingies on the door were supposed to be those notifications. And not of delivery, but of failure of delivery. Is that an American thing? Them nailing those to the door? Here in NL we just use the mailbox for that.
It's a sticky note. In the U.S., private companies such as UPS and FedEx aren't allowed to put things in a mailbox. In fact, it's illegal for most people to do so. By federal law, only employees of the U.S. Postal Service are allowed to place items in mailboxes.
Double-U-T-F? You're kidding right? That's gotta be one of the most absurd laws I've ever heard of. We're talking about the US here right, not Soviet Russia?
What about other postal services? How do they deliver their mail? What about newspapers, magazines, house-to-house magizines, flyers, notices from the local council, etc, etc? Do they just throw them on your porch? Ring your doorbell every time?
Quite apart from being absurd, how is that even constitutional? A man's house is his castle, except for his mailbox? Do police break into your house at night to check if someone deposited illegal materials in your mailbox?
I'm... confused. I'm half-thinking that you're joking, but it'd be a very weird joke to make in an otherwise serious post. But it's just so ... huh?
Uh, dude, mail BOXES, not mail SLOTS. It is a box on a stick out by the street, not a flap in the front door. And there ARE no other mail services. USPS delivers the mail, period. Newspapers are generally deposited in driveways or in a plastic box bolted underneath the mailbox (ours lands in the driveway in a plastic bag). Flyers and such are generally stuck to or by the door, or behind the flag of the mailbox. No idea what a house-to-house magazine would be.
I already suspected functoruser was only talking about the box-by-the-side-of-the-road type (though the word mailbox really also refers to slots in your door). But that still doesn't make any sense. It's a box on your property, why does the federal government get to decide what you'd want to put in there? Mailboxes often aren't even marked as such. And even if they could constitutionally make such a law, why would they want to? Do Americans seriously prefer their newspapers thrown out in the rain on their porch? Or the dozens of other things for which mailboxes are useful. Sure you could add a secondary mailbox under your primary mailbox, just for newspapers. But you have to admit that's just completely unnecessary overhead.
There not being any other mail services also hugely surprises me. I so often hear people complain about USPS. And monopolies are hardly ever efficient. How can a competing mail service not be commercially viable? I'm from the Netherlands, a country which is practically the size of a postal stamp, and we still have several.
It's to prevent any excuse for mail tampering. From what I understand, at one time there were other delivery services and they would take the mail out of the box. Sometimes they would mistakenly take the wrong letter (similar to how you can sometimes receive a piece of your neighbor's mail); sometimes they would intentionally take mail out. At first it was unscrupulous employees stealing because the blame would shift to the other service (also why you aren't supposed to mail cash). Eventually as the USPS got bigger and small companies couldn't compete and some of them began tampering with the mail in a vain effort to make their service more reliable [which likely failed also because
Magazines, and local municipal notices are delivered through USPS at different rates (which reduces the overhead of having special companies for each type of mail). Newspapers are typically delivered to special boxes or in plastic bags (although most people don't get print papers anymore unless they are a local paper). Flyers are rolled up and placed in door handles or rubber banded, or slipped in the side of an outer storm door.
As for the domain issues (i.e. "a man's house is his castle), there are two issues at hand that I'll handle separately:
- The box itself is yours (you payed for it). The air-space inside the box is wholly owned by USPS and the owner of the box is given permission to deposit materials that comply with postal regulations, provided that they have affixed proper postage, and to remove materials deposited by on-duty postal carriers.
- Ownership is of physical things. A landowner owns the land and a homeowner owns the structure (they are usually the same person but not always). The airspace and mineral rights are owned by the individual state's department of natural resources (up to a certain altitude where it's owned by the FAA). This is why someone has to get permission to build a structure on "their" property. The homeowner is typically a sub-lessee of the airspace that the city leases from the county who leases it from the state (not on paper, but through the tax system). [property ownership in the states is actually a very complex section of law. It's complexity stems from the philosophical nature of "ownership" coupled with the inability of the masses to understand the huge mounds of intricately placed verbiage (read: horseshit).] Actually, landowners (aside from native american tribes) don't own their land here either which most people don't realize, but that's a different argument.
It the case of the efficiency of a monopoly, it works because of the way it's set up. USPS is not a free reign corporation, nor is it a department of the US government as it once was [this is commonly confused especially because postal workers get government pensions due to the nature of the negotiations when it was split from the government]. USPS is a regulated monopoly (similar to our electricity and natural gas services). This means that they are not only a non-profit corporation but they are regulated to prevent them from raking exorbitant amounts of money like a vast amount of non-profits do. They're prices are capped to keep them from charging whatever they want. The efficiency comes from the size of the corporation which is fairly self-sufficient (they have their own engineers to make equipment, their own vehicle repair service, etc) which is something that isn't possible unless you are making a lot of money (which you can't do with cheap prices unless you are a monopoly or near to it).
As for the loss of jobs to email. USPS has said that the shift to email has had a significant effect on the total volume of mail but the population increase has far outweighed that AND most of their mail comes from certified letters (email is not guarantied to get there), official documents that need a real signature or a special seal, and packages which can't be done electronically. Most of the lost postal jobs are from new machines and technologies taking over peoples jobs (optical character recognition is a big one). Most of this is in response to two main factors: population increase (volume increase) and demand for low prices. [I would cite all of that but I read it a couple years ago on the USPS website and don't know which document it was]. I actually graphed the prices over time once (wish I could find it) of the price of 1st-class mail for the first ounce and additional ounces and it came out very linear!
As for the people getting bad UPS service, I feel sorry for ya. We've had the same driver for 15 years and he's awesome. Always has a smile on and on the ball at all times.
EDIT: for the people who don't get their bells rung, it may be because of complaints in that area of bells being rung being the annoyance.
EDIT: Forgot to be on topic...I've had that type of this happen only it was setting an alarm. I spent so long setting it I missed what I was setting it for...twice...in a row