Wednesday, November 25

Lost in the Mail

Bad news: one of my letters was lost in the mail. This is always discouraging when it happens, and it's one of the inherent risks of postal service.

I was using some address labels from Red Horseshoe, and they're very attractive but not entirely practical. They place the return address directly atop the destination address, and my concern was that an automated scanner might interpret the whole thing as one big address. When my recipient e-mailed me to ask whether I'd written her, I knew something was wrong because anything I send from the Central Loop Station usually shows up within 48 hours, in the contiguous U.S.

Sure enough, she e-mailed again to inform me that only the address label made it to her, accompanied by a boilerplate apology from her local post office. I knew the adhesive that came with these Red Horseshoe address labels was weak and ineffectual in all cases, so I attempted to bolster it with glue stick, which is usually pretty secure. But perhaps the paper I used was too smooth or not porous enough to give the glue some hold, and the label still flaked off the homemade envelope.

While e-mail has none of the romance or hands-on appeal of penning a letter and handcrafting an envelope for it to ride in, it is still exponentially more reliable than postal mail. And I'm not advocating a switch from postal mail, no, for I've had many successes and relatively few failures using this system. (The failures have been pretty dramatic, however.) It's just that I'm not a gambling man, and sending something via postal service is always a gamble, no matter how good the odds, and sometimes I lose.

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