More than a century ago, the Sears Roebuck catalog arrived in the mailboxes of rural Americans and changed their lives. It didn’t just make fine toilet paper: shoppers could order everything from clothing to guns to entire houses and have it delivered to their homes. Now online shopping has opened the world up even more to rural people, letting them buy food cheaper than local supermarkets and clothing that the Walmart a half-hour drive away doesn’t carry. [More]
H. lives on a rural mail route, and her mailbox is secure, with a lock and a slot just big enough to slide letters through. When a package containing an expensive camera lens went missing recently, she learned that her mail carrier had put the package in the “parcle box.” The what? Oh, the unused but not secure mailbox on her street that some neighbor wrote “parcel box” on a long time ago. H. had no indication that her package had been placed in the box until the mailman left her a note about it. By then, the box had already been stolen. The post office, for its part, insists that the package was delivered as addressed.