Thursday, November 8, 2007


I'm not ashamed to admit that I take a perhaps inordinate joy in getting the mail each day and always have. If the bub and I are headed home around lunchtime, I often pause and think, "Oh, bet the mail will be there when we arrive." Then, a nice little sense of anticipation builds. If I'm upstairs working on my dissertation and I look at the clock and see that it's after 10:30 a.m.--yes, my mail arrives early most days!--I head downstairs for the mail (and a snack).

Growing up, my siblings and I competed to get the mail and, more importantly, to sort it. Even now, as an adult when I'm back at my parents' house, I sometimes have the urge to yell "I get to sort it!" when my mom comes upstairs with a stack of mail.

Because I work at home, it is very seldom that I don't have first dibs at the mail. My husband knows the rules now. He is allowed to get the mail, but he is not allowed to give me any clues about what's in the stack. Early on in our marriage, he would thoughtlessly flip through the mail and pronounce, "Nothing good today. Just junk." Even if there's "just junk" in the pile, I want to discover that for myself. I feel robbed when I don't get to go through each item with the hopeful expectation that a piece of good mail is in there: an invitation, thank you note, card, baby announcement, new magazine, or media mail package ordered from the Amazon Marketplace. Most days I am disappointed with the mail, but these letdowns don't keep me from eagerly going to the mail box day after day.

Yesterday was a crap mail day. Every item was a piece of junk: a bill for Chicago magazine, an American Express rewards pamphlet (the 500th of the year), some ads printed on paper as thick as Scott toilet tissue, something from AT&T, and so on and so forth. As I pawed through this stinking pile, I felt a sense of déjà vu. Such mail days have happened before . . . maybe even once last week and the week before that and the week before that. Is it possible that the United States Postal Service has one day a week where no "real" much less "good" mail gets delivered? Instead of researching this on Wikipedia or the USPS website, I'm going to conduct my own experiment and informal survey. Readers, start paying attention and tracking your mail as I plan to do. Is crap mail infiltrating your mailbox one day a week? Crap mail may just be a problem in my zip code, but what if it's a regional or even a national phenomenon? I'm going to get to the bottom of this pile of crap. NTB.


CJR said...

I recommend buying some ribs or other prepared meat product from a catalog. It will seem a novelty at first, and you will think there are not many companies selling fully cooked and sauced ribs by mail.

Then you will start getting a new catalog from a new company every week. And just like "Omaha Steaks" also (oddly) can get you lobster, all the other catalogs have a specialty, be it ribs or chicken or honey-glazed hams or steak or Kobe beef or seafood. BUT -- they also all offer all the other things in the back of the catalog. And there are like 20 companies sending us catalogs now; only the covers are different.

Now I think the stuff all comes from one place, but you know what? It's still delicious.

Steph said...

I LOVE mail, too! There's just something so special about getting a pretty card or letter - addressed by hand - to ME! It's just a very special moment. I can often see the mailman (it is a man) approach our house from my office window. On a few occasions, I've almost fallen down the stairs as I rush to greet him. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Everyday was crap mail day. Until we joined Netflix. Hooray!

Sara G.

msp said...

i love love love going to get the mail. it's definitely a highlight of my day--especially because i am lucky to have a few friends who still decide to utilize stamps. ntb. so there are enough "good" mail days to make the whole event worthwhile. eli is now a big fan of getting the mail too--mostly because we get at least 2 toy catalogues a day. apparently i shop too much online.

M said...

I seldom actually get the mail, but I always know when I get home there will be my stack of mail waiting on the bottom steps for me. (Note: office of my husband is in basement and it gets separated from business stuff). I seem to have some great magazine or catalogue waiting for me each day(probably because I subscribe to so many. One observation I have made regarding mail is that I only get about one credit card offer per day now whereas I feel like I used to get four or five per day. Refund checks, a statement from a store which I did not make a purchase that month, and notes and pictures are really the tops.

E... said...

Getting the mail at our house is somewhat of a production if we don't happen to get to it on the way home from somewhere. If we're returning home, I can just pull up in my car next to the mailbox and grab it. O. always says "the mail is come, Mom?" If not, I usually wait until after naptime, and take O. and N. both down the driveway. That involves getting pants, socks and shoes on, and these days, a coat. I also have to put N. in the front pack, because O. will always want a ride on the swingset on the way in. But hey, at least a half an hour of that post nap/pre dinner slow block of time is gone. I'm always sad when we've gone through all of that just for envelope of invoices for my husband (home office as well). Even worse is when some magazine like Coal Age or Hoist (these are real, and they come to my house) tricks me into thinking there is a real treat of a magazine in there for me. I used to think Saturday was the crap mail day, all junk, until they started delivering Entertainment Weekly on Saturday instead of Friday. Now Friday is almost always the disappointment.

Actchy said...

My dad has suspected for years that there was a USPS conspiracy regarding the fact that nothing good ever comes in the mail on Saturday. But what does this mean? Is the conspiracy that all crap mail is held at the post office for Saturday delivery? That all crap-mail senders wait to post mail on a date certain each week to be sure of a Saturday delivery? Hm.

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