Going Postal! 25 Fun and interesting facts about the US Postal service.
What does every single house have, is very personal yet put on display for everyone to see, and still, no two are exactly alike? The answer is “your address” and that leads us to today’s topic: fun and interesting facts about the U.S. Postal Service:
1. Last year, our tried and true U.S. Postal service delivers 154.2 billion pieces of mail.
2. In fact, the USPS handles 47% of the world’s entire volume of mail and packages!
3. Every day, the USPS processes and delivers a dumbfounding 509 million pieces of mail, which comes to 5,890 per second!
4. Monday through Saturday, an average of 7,184 mail carriers walk door to door to deliver our mail, called the USPS Fleet of Feet.
5. The U.S. Postal Service is the centerpiece of a $1.4 trillion mailing and shipping industry in this country, employing more than 7.5 million people every year.
6. Delivering all of that mail is quite a Herculean task, requiring 214,933 vehicles, making it one of the largest civilian fleets in the world. Mail is commonly delivered using airplanes, trains, trucks, cars, boats, ferries, helicopters, subways, float planes, hovercraft, bicycles, mail carriers on foot, and even mules (more on that later), operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
7. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that the U.S. Postal Service is women into the fabric and history of America. To protect the integrity of our mail system, there are more than 200 federal laws on the books, all enforced by the U.S. Post’s own Inspection Service, which is one of the most venerable law enforcement agencies in the nation.
8. Despite the enormity of the United States Postal Service (USPS), this agency receives ZERO of our tax dollars for its operating expenses, relying instead on selling stamps, postage, and other products to fund its service.
9. The United States has about 42,000 ZIP Codes, used by the USPS as the foundation of our mail delivery system.
10. Most people don’t realize that “ZIP” is an acronym that stands for “Zone Improvement Plan” and can be either five or nine numbers.
11. The lowest numerical ZIP Code is 00501, which is designated for the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville, New York.
12. The highest number for a ZIP Code is 99950 in Ketchikan, Alaska.
13. The honor for the highest elevation of any ZIP code belongs Alma, Colorado’s 80420, sitting a dizzying 10,578 feet above sea level.
14. 92328 is the lowest ZIP code at 282 feet below sea level in Death Valley, California.
15. General Electric in Schenectady, New York even has its own unique ZIP Code that’s easy to remember, 12345.
16. In 2015, 19 billion USPS stamps were printed and 12 billion sold, with 77% of them the popular Forever stamps that will never increase in price.
17. But stamps aren’t the only item in high demand to facilitate all of our mail, as the Postal Service also went through 888 million rubber bands in 2015!
18. There are now also 31,606 Postal Service-managed retail offices (or just Post Offices) in the United States.
19. The smallest is Ochopee Post Office in Ochopee, Florida, covering only 61.3 square feet. The largest post office, however, is a massive retail space in James A. New York, New York, covering 393,000 square feet.
20. And the venerable post office in Hinsdale, New Hampshire has operated out of the same building since 1816, making it the oldest still in use in the country.
21. The post office in Peach Springs, Arizona, the remote tribes of Havasupai Indians who live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. To deliver their mail, postal carriers have to traverse an 8-mile trail down into the Grand Canyon by mule train every day, hauling approximately 130 pounds of mail, food, supplies, and even furniture, all weighing up to 4,000 pounds, to the Havasupai.
22. You may have heard the old excuse, “The check got lost in the mail,” but, in fact, the most common reason why mail is undeliverable is that senders don’t address their letters and packages correctly and legibly, occurring 4.7% of the time in 2010. As for the amount of mail that was actually lost by the USPS? No one knows that percentage because the mail never showed up the be counted!
23. Most people don’t realize that you can send just about anything through the mail, as long as you can stick a stamp(s) and write an address on it. In fact, when the USPS was first established in the early 1800s, people often tested the veracity of the new postal system by mailing some crazy things! Over the years, people have mailed tree stumps, plastic lobsters, their whole mailbox, and other human beings in a couple of bizarre cases!
24. As a form of protest against the government and the USPS, some people even started mailing bricks, just to weigh down the mail carriers load and try to sabotage the system.
25. But one mail carrier in Kentucky took it a step further, failing to deliver 45,000 letters and packages along his route regularly just so he could get off of work early and pick his kids up at school. He was eventually caught, tried, and sent to prison for “destroying, hiding, and delaying” mail – a federal crime.
Look for part 2 of this blog with 25 more fun facts, including dog bites, online mailing, the rich history of stamps, and even crazier items people have tried to mail!