Saturday, March 04, 2006

Return to Sender

When you mail a letter or parcel and don't affix enough postage, what happens? It gets returned to the sender's address, correct? I am assuming that the same thing happens when no postage is affixed; the postal office assuming you forgot to affix it.

Having done an abnormally large number of local mailings lately, I've gotten to thinking: What would happen if I put my address in the centre to area, and the receiver's address in the top left from area, and did not affix any postage? Understand my question? To make sure you do, if I'm sending a letter to you, as long as you're local, I would put your name and address in the sender's address field, and my name and address in the receiver's address field. Would the postal worker who handles the letter see that there isn't sufficient postage and have it sorted to be delivered back to the sender, thereby unwittingly sending it to you as I had hoped they would, at no postage cost to me?

Would that work? Maybe I'm missing something..

(Confidential to the Canada Post: I'm not saying I would do this, I'm just curious if it would work or not. If it would work, you can thank me for giving you the heads-up. I accept all forms of payment.)

Now the theme song for this post.

Here's Return to Sender by Elvis...

Return to sender, return to sender.
I gave a letter to the postman,
He put it his sack.
Bright in early next morning,
He brought my letter back.
She wrote upon it:
Return to sender,

address unknown.
No such number,
no such zone.
We had a quarrel,

a lover’s spat
I write I’m sorry but my letter keeps coming back.
So then I dropped it in the mailbox
And sent it special d.
Bright in early next morning
It came right back to me.
She wrote upon it:
Return to sender,

address unknown.
No such person, no such so.
This time I’m gonna take it myself
And put it right in her hand.
And if it comes back the very next day
Then I’ll understand - the writing on it.
Return to sender, address unknown.
No such number, no such zone.
Return to sender, return to sender...


robedger said...

I can't see why that wouldn't work. You are an evil genius.

Brad Cumiskey said...

I tried it once, it worked! I then mentioned it to a friend once who works for Canada Post, and he says that it is a common problem, they have no real way to combat it - other than to narrow down repeat offenders (and to try and keep the technique quiet).

As an aside, a favourite true story of mine was when a Satirist group in Quebec (back during the referendum in the 90s) created a fake stamp, from the national republic of Quebec with a picture of Bonne Homme on it. They used this stamp on mail sent to the Commissioner at the federal Ministry responsible for official documents. It made it there.

jblueafterglow said...

I figured it would work. But drop 100 letters in simultaneously and they might catch on quickly.

As for the satirist group's fake stamp, I'm pretty sure you don't need any postage for anything sent to anyone at the federal (and maybe any level) government. So fake stamp or no stamp at all, it would make it.

martias said...

I read the title of this post and thought that it would be about you returning David Emerson's letter that he sent to all his constituents (because of your earlier posted rant).

I've sent letters this way, but only as a gag to see if it would work. While it might seem tacky to some, I wouldn't mind getting a letter this way.

But what would happen if the person receiving the letter saw that the name and address was wrong, and put "return to sender" and gave it back to the postie? Letter in limbo.

stodmyk said...

I used to do this on a semi-regular basis, back when cheques were still de riguer for bill payments. Interestingly, several of these backwards-addressed letters ended up coming to my mailbox sans postage (but with a postage date stamp on 'em).

Note to Canada Post: since my mid-twenties or so, I've not only filed taxes every year, but I've also been a responsible user of standard postage rates.