USPS Cares About Your Mail When It Doesn’t Really Count

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Lana is a little frustrated with the U.S. Postal Service right now. She writes that she received an odd envelope in the mail from USPS–the tear-off advertising sheet from the front of a Netflix envelope addressed to her. An overly conscientious postal employee took the flyer, carefully placed it in a damaged item envelope, and mailed it back to Lana.

She writes:

Dear Consumerist,
I have been an avid reader of yours for some time and have followed your articles detailing the postal service’s desire to rid us of our mail on Saturdays. The postal service has lost many items of mine over the years, birthday cards, magazines, bills… but I’ve never received anything quite like this from them before. In the past two weeks the postal service has mailed me back the piece of the Netflix envelope that you normally tear off and discard when opening it. The worthless scrap of paper that I always trash as soon as I open my movies was sent back to me as if it were a precious letter. And not once, but twice.. and on two separate occasions. And what’s more interesting, at the top of this scrap it says ‘presorted first-class mail u.s. postage PAID netflix’ but apparently the postal service just wanted to take that extra step and re-package it, pay additional postage fees, and send it home to me. I have no idea how these wound up in the mail to begin with, possibly still attached to the movies I mailed back to Netflix, but I find it incredibly bizarre that they would actually opt to send them back to me. Wouldn’t SOMEONE working there realize what it was? Don’t they see enough of these envelopes daily to know that if there is literally nothing attached to it, no dvd, no actual Netflix envelope, that it is fairly worthless? Maybe the whole thing is just a practical joke. To add another level to their dedication, this message was on the back of the envelope sent to me by the USPS:


Dear Valued Postal Customer,

I want to extend my sincere apology as your Postmaster for the enclosed document that was inadvertently damaged in handling by your Postal Service.

We are aware how important your mail is to you. With that in mind, we are forwarding it to you in an expeditious fashion.

The United States Postal Service handles over 202 billion pieces of mail each year. While each employee makes a concerted effort to process, without damage, each piece of mail, an occasional mishap does happen.

We are constantly working to improve our processing methods so that these incidents will be eliminated. You can help us greatly in our efforts if you will continue to properly prepare and address each letter or parcel that you enter into the mainstream.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding and sincerely regret any inconvenience that you have experienced.


The only inconvenience that I can think of from this experience is the waste of federal money used to send me these items.

I’m not sure. I find it oddly touching that the post office is willing to carefully pack up anything without judging its value, but I also see Lana’s point.

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