Mailbox Locations Well Kept Secret on US Postal Service Website

I had a bunch of letters that needed to be mailed yesterday at work. The mailman had already come, so I thought I’d just go online and find the nearest post office mailbox, the pick-up times, and it would be a rather simple task to mail them.

Wrong. I was confusing the United States Postal Service website with those of Fed-Ex and UPS. If you go to those websites, you can pop in your zip code and get a list of all their drop boxes and the last pick-up for the day.

Fed-Ex and UPS both use the word “location” to lead you to their nearby drop boxes. Often they are close to a US mailbox, so I probably should have just used their websites and hoped for the best.

That’s too logical for the post office. I spent a good twenty minutes on their website, and finally just gave up and drove over to an industrial park where I knew I had seen some mailboxes, hoping they had late afternoon pick-up times.

While I was digging deep into the post office website looking for a mail box….I had to figure out what they called the darn things. Are they mailboxes? This led me to government descriptions of the types and features on receptacles we can use to receive our mail. There was information on door slots, locked mailboxes at your house, etc. No locations of street side mailboxes.

Drop off locations? No, these are places to buy stamps, whether staffed or not. I found “pickup options”…but I wanted to drop off.

As I scoured the website, I found references to drop boxes, drop-boxes (with a hyphen), lobby drop, collection boxes…just no way to locate the nearest damn mailbox sitting on a street!!!!

If this information is on their website, it’s pretty well-hidden. What’s the big secret? Is this part of homeland security…keep the terrorists (and citizens) away from our mailboxes?

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18 Responses to “Mailbox Locations Well Kept Secret on US Postal Service Website”

  1. The Domestic Goddess

    I dunno what the big secret is. But I do know that a few years ago they did away with half of the drop boxes in town as a cost-saving measure. People use the mail less so they need less mail employees and therefore less drop boxes. Or so they said.
    In my town, half of the boxes meant half of two boxes. So all four blocks by four blocks of my town now has one box. The end.

  2. intuitivelyobvious

    Next thing you know, they will decide with only four blocks….every body should just email each other and forget the mail box altogether. They they wonder why revenue is down. I bought some forever stamps…hope I can use them before “forever” expires.

  3. crazyhecallsme

    Hmm.. I did a quick search, and I couldn’t find much either.

    HOWEVER, when I did a web search of “blue mailboxes” (clever, huh?), I came up with these (of course none of which are part of the official USPS site.)

    http://www.payphone-project.com/mailboxes/
    Despite the URL, it also helps you find the blue mailboxes by entering your zipcode.

    http://phaedo.cx/archives/2006/10/02/every-wonder-where-to-find-a-blue-usps-mailbox/
    Another blog entry about the lack of the USPS’s knowledge of their own mailboxes.

    http://www.mailboxmap.com/
    I found this as well, that supposedly maps out the blue mailboxes in your area.

    Interesting that I didn’t get any matches at all from the post office website.

  4. intuitivelyobvious

    Thanks for the info. Now I need to write about “why google is better than the postal service.”

  5. bob spencer

    Thanks for the info on blue mailbox location. The same thing has happened in our town. Hardly any blue mailboxes left in Belfast ME.

    But my issue is with the Postal Service’s inflexibility with where you put your mailboxes (delivery recepticals?).

    Friday, the Belfast, Maine postmaster told me he decides where they go. I didn’t ask if there were any appeals –should have.
    He explained his issues: letter carriers fall on icy steps etc.

    One building I own has mailboxes out on the Major Atlantic Highway (US RTE 1) in Belfast Maine. The problem is that in the winter, large tractor-trailer trucks go by. There are snow piles. It is slippery. It can be splashy. Next door, they have a mailbox located just inside their parking lot. The carrier pulls in, delivers, turns around and drives out for one customer. I have 5 tenants and from them I have heard that they don’t feel safe getting their mail int he winter. If I move the mailboxes into my parking lot,I was told that it would add maybe 100 feet to the route to do this. I pointed out that I had 4-5 customers versus one next door and at many single-family or single business drops so the cost of delivery per customer could include a measure of customer safety and still be below average. Surely our 41 cents should buy as much delivery as anyone.
    Forty-two cents as of next week, he corrected me. Besides ours and the neighbor’s (relatively new) locations were “established” locations.
    By the Postal Service “established” ?
    I asked for mine to be “re-established.”
    A pause and long stare.
    Well, the carrier would need to drive where there might be parked cars which could back out into the delivery truck as it passed. This would be dangerous.
    This is true of all of Main Street, I noted.
    Yes, but one did not have to drive on Main Street.
    I too paused. I had to admire the rigor of the point.
    I pointed out that retrieving mail on busy Rte 1 in icy, slippery weather with occasional fog seemed considerably more dangerous.
    My tenants could rent P.O. boxes in this very Post Office if they were risk averse, I learned.
    This was the general tenor of the conversation. I can see a sort of logic to their position, but it did not seem that compelling.
    Meanwhile they will visit the site and consider it. For this I am grateful though not too optimistic.

  6. intuitivelyobvious

    Are you talking about residential tenants? In most of the businesses I’ve worked at, the mailman had to park, get out, and walk the mail in. I’m curious…if you build a new residential building….does the post office dictate where the boxes will be? Do they determine the central location of all mailboxes at an apartment complex during the design phase?

    Thanks for your comments.

  7. LouisM

    The only reason the Post Office seems to be there is to deliver corporate junk mail at subsidized rates. You the tax payer pay the subsidy. Why should corporate junk mail be mailed cheaper than private citizen’s letters? Our rates should be cheaper, junk mail rates should be more and the public should be able to refuse the crap permanently. Get rid of junk mail and you could cut USPS expenditures in half. Then fire half the abusive supervisors and managers and keep the postal carriers. At my post office there is a recycle tote like the size of your out door garbage can on wheels full of junk mail. People walk in, open there box, toss the junk retrieve one letter and leave. Antiquated, BS system of taxpayers subsidizing corporate crap.

  8. jerry

    You’re not giving the payphone project enough credit. Not only do they show you the location of the mailbox, they tell when pickup is scheduled.

    What I want from the USPS website is an answer to the following question:

    Q: I am at location X. It is now time T. Where is the closest place I can drop off a letter to be ensured it will be picked up today? If there is no way to get a letter picked up today such that it could be delivered tomorrow, where is the closest place to drop off a letter.

    You can answer these questions with the payphone project (not as easily as I would like to) but you cannot answer those questions at USPS.

    USPS sucks.

  9. intuitivelyobvious

    It’s unbelievable the amount of crap you can find on the PO website…and still not find what you need.

  10. Gary Lucido

    You are confusing the post office with a profit driven organization that is customer service focused. We can only hope that when the government takes over health care it will be just as well run.

  11. Jim

    If anyone’s still interested, I just found this. If you go to the USPS website, click on Locate a Post Office (http://usps.whitepages.com/post_office). The resulting page gives you a “What are you looking for?” menu, where you can select Collection Boxes. You can then put in an address and it will work its magic.

    -Jim

  12. susan

    I have just spent the last half an hour doing this exact same thing looking for a collection box and I can’t believe its driving me mad. I give up

  13. The Sexy Armpit

    i agree..this is pretty silly.

  14. Maren

    I just noticed that mailboxes (“collection boxes”) have been added to the USPS location search, as Jim mentioned above. I think this is a relatively new feature, as I know I’ve tried to find this info in the past…but payphone project still works better, apparently. The USPS site claims that the 2nd-closest box to my address is 1.3 miles away, but the address listed for it is in a town 9 miles north of here (and of course I know of several boxes that are closer than that). The other listings look about equally useful. Maybe give them some time to work the kinks out? 😉 I remark also that the location search is now run by whitepages.com, so we probably have them to blame.

  15. Mag

    I was having a problem trying to locate a drop off box in my area as well and this website YOU found was a HUGE help. Thank You and I cannot believe how hard it was to find.

    http://usps.whitepages.com/post_office

    THANK YOU SO MUCH :o)

  16. bob

    You should try http://www.mailboxmap.com/
    It has a really cool graphical interface, and also shows UPS locations.

  17. Kelly

    Everyone seems to be able to belly-ache about the postal service and say things like taxpayers subsidize “junk mail”. If you knew anything about the postal service, you’d know that it receives no government funds…it is all SELF supported! Also, no-one wants THEIR post office closed or THEIR blue collection boxes (that’s what they’re called by the way) removed yet they say stupid things like was said above about “we should forget the postal service and just email”. Let me ask you something-when is the last time you e-mailed an order off e-bay? a shirt? a gift card? a title to a car? how about this…put the postal service out of business and let 700,000 people go to the unemployment lines…did you know it is that huge?? think people! And…mail more stuff!!

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