We sat down with a veteran mail carrier to find out what it's like to be on the other end of the mailbox.
Please note: interviewee requests to remain anonymous for this interview.
Write_On : How long have you been a postal worker?
Interviewee: I’ve been working for the post office since 1985. So 31 years.
Write_On : What is your job title? Or what do you like to be called?
Interviewee: Mail carrier. Not post man. No.
Write_On : What is a typical work day for you?
Interviewee: Getting up in the morning, getting there around 8. And I’m a rural carrier in a small town, I’m different from the normal carriers so when we finish our deliveries we go home, we don’t have a set schedule. When I’m done, I’m done. It’s nice.
Write_On : Sometimes we want to stop and say hi, or ask our mail carrier questions but we know you're on a tight schedule. What is the etiquette there?
Interviewee: Well, I’m very flexible. I usually chat with customers, we can’t take too long, but we’re very polite to our customers and friendly.
Write_On : What is your favorite part about your job?
Interviewee: My customers. Getting to see people every day. I have a regular route that I’ve been doing for seventeen years. So I know everyone pretty well. I have lots of friends around. We’ve become friends. My route is 25 miles. I drive and deliver in a rural area, outside of the city limits. So I can’t walk, even if I wanted to.
Write_On : and your least favorite?
Interviewee: The politics.
Write_On : Have you noticed any changes in the amount of letters being sent? More or less?
Interviewee: It’s a lot less. There’s not that many personal letters. It’s mostly emails. The only personal cards we get is when someone passes away you’ll notice that. Otherwise it’s someone’s birthday or something like that.
Write_On : Is there a time when you noticed a decline in personal mail being sent?
Interviewee: When these came out! (laughs and points to cell phone). Devices. The internet.
Write_On : How often do you get to see beautifully decorated mail?
Interviewee: The ones that have a lot of artwork are usually from prison! Usually they’re the ones that have drawings and stuff. But otherwise pretty envelopes you see mostly around Easter, Valentines.
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Write_On : Describe a unique piece of mail that caught your attention.
Interviewee: I’ve actually received a coconut in the mail from my co-worker who went to Hawaii. I’ve seen messages in a bottle, but mostly regular envelopes.
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Write_On : What are some tips you can offer for anyone sending a letter? Any dos and don'ts?
Interviewee: Always put your return address. Because if you don’t do that it can go back to what is called “Dead Letter”. And it could stay there for quite a while. The inspectors have to open it up. Always put your return address because it can get stuck to a piece of equipment, or get stuck to another letter and can go from California all the way to New York before it comes back!
Write_On : What do you hope to see in the future of mail?
Interviewee: I hope people keep sending letters. You know, it’s more of a personal thing. Right now, people are keeping in touch but they use this (points to the cell phone) but it’s not personal. Someone likes to open letters – especially older people. That’s their joy. Sometimes they’re right there by the box waiting for it.
Write_On : We started Write_On to promote joy, creativity, expression and connection through hand-written correspondence. How do you hope this campaign can help people to connect?
Interviewee: The way we get paid is by how much people mail! That’s how they figure out our pay. (Laughs)! The best thing to do is write to someone in the hospital or who is down or isn’t feeling well. They love to receive mail. Older people love to get mail. Sometimes that’s their whole day. Young people, it’s their phone. But older people – the highlight of their day is when they see the mail carrier. We’ve gotten invited to weddings by our customers. They’re like our family now. We’re a small town. We know everyone.
post by Sakura of America