Does anyone have any stories, anecdotes, facts or anything at all on the subject of how the post office(s) and the post men and women view (or don't view) mailart. Anyone have any interesting or funny stories on this topic? I'd enjoy hearing them.
I have to say that I've been yelled at a few times by the postal workers. So when i mail mail art I feel like a secret agent... like I'm trying to get away with something. I was even lectured in front of my three children about how I should never write anything below the address and if I did it should be in RED ink so the computer wouldn't read it. I just try to stay out of their way... and now I weigh my own mail... and sneak it into the big blue box... hee hee. And I do try and obey the rules... to avoid any real jail time... I will also not send any nude photos with clothespins... they'd get me for sure!!!!
Thanks for all your stories everyone, they're terrific. Jennifer, I find that the US Postal service is not postcard friendly at all. 60% of the cards I send to the US arrive chewed up with those mystery orange barcodes all over them or worse, a white sticker across the front with the orange barcode printed on that. And on top of that they're slow. A card sent from Quebec to Germany will usually arrive earlier than a card sent to New York on the same day.
I live on an Island in Ireland .. I'm the only mail artist here .. and as in each small community in Ireland, the post man knows every one.
Each time a letter arrives in the Ireland, eighter with unreadable name, unknown name, no name at all.. or any strange looking envelope, the mail man brings it to me, asks me my advise and together we open the suspect letter. Very oft indeed it's for me.
Small towns make a difference in postal service, I think. Our USPS office here in California is small. I know the workers by name and they know me. When I launched the Thumb! call earlier this year, I made it a point to go in and describe "mail art" to them and explain what I was doing and what they should expect, in case things would show up without my specific P.O. Box.
Later on, I asked if they noticed the "interesting mail" coming in. One said "We aren't supposed to look at the incoming mail. But yes, sometimes stuff jumps out." After that they would let me know when I walked in. "Oh, you got a really cool one today!".
If I'm mailing an unusual piece and want them to hand-cancel it they are very obliging. They'll say, "Here's some cool stamps you'll like". or "You put the stamps on, we know you like them put on in a certain way. "
So overall, they've been great.
One worker considered having her son's pre-school class contribute to the call although that never materialized.
I gave them an invite to the Thumb! mail art exhibit.
Also...I usually bring them a basket of cookies and chocolates at Christmas as a thank you because I appreciate what they do.
Thank you Joan,
I'm in a small town also and my post office is a small counter in a convenience store. The staff don't really understand it too well but they're very cooperative even letting me cancel my own stamps if I choose to do so. However the incoming mail doesn't go through their hands, it's delivered directly to my mailbox by the postman. That's why I was surprised a few weeks back when one of Angela Behrendts artistamps was cancelled by my local postoffice. I'm beginning to think Angela pulled some kind of a fast one on me.
I never thought of wine, although every once and a while I slip a painting in for Stacey ( my post office worker) although half the time I really think she enjoys the fact that mail art isn't the usual drudgery.
Yes Wilma, this was very nice of you. I also went to my local postal counter today and the girl there complimented me on the Flipflop Santa Claus I sent out last week.
I'll go back tomorrow with one for her.
Thanks for all the great stories everyone!!
Well Roland, it looks like the German PO is a lot more tolerant than the Canadian one. On wednesday I sent a postcard to RF Cote in Quebec City, about 250kms away. This normally requires .55 Can cents. Yesterday it was back in my mailbox with a sticker on it asking me to pay an extra $1.11 because I'd added a few little bumpy things on the surface!! I'm not sure your experiments would work here.
Yes they did give me stories because i had a few bumpy things inside... they were beads...i was questionned as if i was the worst criminal and they warned me that the US post just might rip open the envelope...as long as they pick up the beads...
I am having a huge problem with Canada post on this front. They have this little plastic guide that sizes everything for the sorting machine. If it doesn't fit, we pay extra. However Peter 1.65 for extra cartage sounds a bit wrong. Depending on weight it should either be .97 or 1.37 for heavier things.
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