Back when the iPhone first came out, the popular tagline floating out there was “There’s an app for that.” Want to order food? Tagline. Want to dump your significant other? Tagline. Perform life-saving surgery? Tagline. It’s gotten to the point now, however, where there really does seem to be an online tool for living the reality of our offline lives. But would you want someone viewing and then digitizing your snail mail?
While not everyone still has a landline phone, having a physical mailing address is a basic necessity. But what if you can’t even bear to have that part of your daily routine offline? There are apparently apps willing to do that, too — digitize your snail mail for reading on the smart device of your choice.
TechCrunch points to the Outbox service, which is aimed primarily at urban markets: Someone from the company drops by your physical mailbox three times a week, pick up your mail (using a copy of your mailbox key that’s made by emailing the company a photo of it, if needed) and digitize it.
And if the mail isn’t simply paper? Small packages or Netflix DVDs go into an Outbox-branded mailer and either left with a doorman or sent to an alternative address, like work, and the customer receives an email notification that a package has arrived.
“I had this crazy idea that I wanted a Dropbox for my snail mail,” explains one of the co-founders, who had moved six times in eight years. “I had this overwhelming pent-up frustration with postal mail.”
But while this all sounds very orderly and whatnot — what about the basic fact that someone else is viewing, and likely reading, your mail? Is this essentially giving someone permission to commit mail fraud? Sure, there’s a lot of junk in the mail now, but there’s also lot of personal and private information contained even in those credit card mailers.
The company says it shreds original documents unless otherwise directed, but the fact remains that strangers have their eyes on your personal property before you do.