Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery

A letter from my college alumni association
An invoice from the gas and electric company
A bill from the dentist
A solicitation from a local ISP to change internet providers
Yet another letter from the AARP asking me to join
An invitation to get a new low interest credit card
A coupon from my local hardware store

These are some of the items that showed up in my mailbox this past week. I actually don’t get that much physical mail from the US Postal Service delivered to my mailbox these days. Most of what I do receive consists mosty of catalogs, solicitations, and junk mail, along with periodic, unwelcome bills and the one hard copy magazine I still subscribe to.

Even so, when I received a post card last month from the USPS telling me about a new service in my area, I was intrigued. This new service, dubbed “Informed Delivery – Email Notification,” would send me an email every morning with black and white images of the front of the actual envelopes that would be delivered to my home that very afternoon. Neat, huh?

So I signed up. After all, my mail usually isn’t delivered until very late afternoon and sometimes not until early evening. I think my mailman likes to sleep in. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, to learn via an email early each morning what I otherwise wouldn’t find out until many hours later?

And so, starting a few weeks ago, I began receiving emails at around 8:30 each morning with these envelope images. I got a kick out of seeing what was going to be delivered to my mailbox much later that same day. To me it was like experiencing time travel or having a special prescience about an event yet to have happened.

I’d say to my wife, “Hey honey, guess what we’re going to get in today’s mail.” At first she seemed mildly interested in hearing what was going to be delivered, albeit not nearly as excited about it as was I. By the third day, though, she seemed not to care at all.

I must admit that, after only a few weeks, the novelty — even for me — wore off. In a way, it’s as if, when you were a kid going to bed on Christmas Eve, your parents handed you an itemized list of the Christmas presents that you would find under the tree when you woke up on Christmas morning. Way to ruin Christmas, Mom and Dad!

I miss the anticipation of going to my mailbox each afternoon to see what the mailman brought me. It was something to look forward to late in the day. Still, I’m going to continue to get my early morning notifications. If it ever gets to the point where getting the early morning heads-up takes all the joy out being surprised by whatever mail shows up in my mailbox each afternoon, I’ll stop the USPS emails.

But right now it’s time to check my email to see what’s coming to my mailbox later today!

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