help your mail carrier

It’s summer, and it’s hot—in fact, those of us on the east coast are facing record-breaking temperatures this July. It’s a rough time to be outside, so we thought we’d devote today’s blog to some people who work tirelessly in the elements all year ‘round: mail carriers. Below are 8 things which can help your mail carrier, and which can also help you!

Your dog is scarier than you think

We know, we know—your dog is a total sweetheart; his bark is way worse than his bite! While this may be true, remember that your mail carrier doesn’t know your dog from any other strange animal in the neighborhood. Your dog also doesn’t know your mail carrier, and may behave very differently when he is protecting you and your property! Therefore, make sure to always keep your dog secure if mail carriers will be setting foot on your property. Since some mail carriers will simply leave if an unsecured dog is present, this can help ensure that you get all your mail and packages on time.

Secure your package like it will be tossed down the stairs

…Because it will be. Well, probably not down a literal stairwell, but certainly on and off of various chutes, belts, ramps, conveyors, and loading docks, all of which are automated and programed to prioritize time instead of delicacy. Always be sure to use plenty of bubble wrap and cushioning material, and buy high-quality cardboard boxes that can withstand the rough and tumble. If you do receive a package that’s damaged, try not to blame it on your mail carrier—he or she is just the end point of a very long, rigorous journey.

Don’t put anything but paper inside envelopes

Many people are unaware that today’s mail sorting machines are very different from the machines of the past. They process the mail very rapidly, at about 35,000 pieces per hour, so fast that the stream of mail looks like a blur! Anything that cannot be squeezed between the machine’s rollers will become caught, crushed, or forcibly removed, and retrieving it will be very difficult. Even if the item can be safely retrieved, and is still undamaged, there is no way for a postal employee to identify where it came from. So, if you want to send anything to a friend or loved one that’s larger than .0007 inches thick, err on the safe side and use a padded envelope mailer.

Informed Delivery can make life much easier  

If you aren’t already using USPS’ Informed Delivery tool, it’s definitely something to investigate. All you have to do is create an account for free. USPS will then email you previews of your mail before it arrives to your mailbox. This is an especially useful feature if you live in a house with children or roommates. It can help you see your anticipated mail before anyone can intercept it. Just be aware that Informed Delivery has its limits. If you are notified that mail is on its way, and it remains in transit, there’s not much your mail carrier can do.

No mailbox? Use General Delivery!

If you are ever in a situation where you would like to receive a package at a different address, or if you become homeless and don’t have an address at all, you can use General Delivery to have items delivered to the post office of any city. Simply address the package as following:

Recipient’s Name

Recipient’s City, State, Zip Code


The package will be sent to that zip code’s post office, and can be picked up with the correct ID.

Don’t interrupt the flow

If you see a mail carrier out on a delivery route, don’t approach and ask for your mail. The mail is sorted in order of delivery, so getting to yours takes some digging. Postal employees are under high pressure to complete their routes quickly. To help your mail carrier be as efficient as possible, it’s best to just be patient and wait. This also goes for apartment dwellers: if you see a mail carrier filling a shared mailbox, wait for them to complete the job.

Mail delivery is a tough job

Many people are unaware of how physically demanding mail delivery can be. Mail carriers can walk up to 15 miles a day, and can deliver thousands of items in one shift. Those who drive mail trucks aren’t much better off. Mail trucks tend to be old and unreliable, and most have neither heat nor air conditioning. The job can also be dangerous, especially in high-crime areas. This Reddit thread discusses just a few of the more alarming situations USPS employees have faced on the job. All in all, mail carrying is not for the weak of heart (or body)!

A little bit goes a long way  

Although the mail sorting process is automated, the people who ultimately hand you your mail are human. And they do want you to have the best mail delivery experience possible! There are many ways you can help your mail carrier, like:

  • Leaving your porch light on after dark, especially if you live in a high-risk area
  • Clearing away hoses, childrens’ toys, and other tripping hazards
  • Clearing thorny plants, like roses and cacti, away from your mailbox
  • Replacing thin door mail slots with a larger mail receptacle

At high-volume times, like Christmas, you can even leave out snacks, bottles of water, and other tokens of appreciation. Just don’t leave out a tip—USPS employees are not permitted to accept money in any form. And at any time, a kind word and a friendly wave are always appreciated.

This article was published by SSI Packaging. To learn more about our packaging materials, marking and coding equipment, and other small business solutions, please check out our product catalog today.

(804) 808-1606