What happened to the blue mailboxes?

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By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL

Have you noticed that mailboxes like the one below have disappeared from most street corners? They were once all over the place in most big cities and suburbs. Even in the good ol’ days you’d seldom find one in a tiny town because the post office was usually a short walk from about anywhere.


postal mailboxIn my town of Edmonds, Wash., I first noticed the public mailboxes disappearing about five years ago. Then, last month, one of the few that remained disappeared, one I would use on my way to the grocery store.

I guess the postal folks have decided that people can either use their home mailbox or drop by the post office. It’s probably a money-saving move — fewer stops for mail carriers.

Keep an eye on your town’s blue mailboxes. If they are not gone yet, I bet it won’t be long.

NOTE FROM CHUCK: Shortly after I posted this, I received an email from a former postal employee who referred me to a story that explained where these blue boxes went. Read it here.

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Chuck

I worked in the post office for over 31 years. I remember having to do a count on the amount of mail I picked up in each box. It was not long after that, many of the boxes were gone and I don’t remember any new ones being placed. About the green boxes someone was talking about are called “relay boxes” only used on walking route. The mail they would deliver are in sacks in the green boxes. I do not think there are very many of those around anymore.

Rory R

Saving money IMHO is just an excuse, every other year or so postage fees go up. I know I’m old but the days of an airmail stamp costing 8 cents is long gone. First of all the stamp itself is gone, since mail that travels any distance goes by air, and secondly have you noticed the cost of a 1st class stamp these days? I like most others use online bill payment and use email, texts, and facetime to communicate with family and friends. When @ home I have packages jammed into my mailbox that can hardly fit, although the house is across the street from the community mailbox. So when ordering packages I specify Fedex, Prime or UPS. The USPS says it is struggling to stay alive, I believe that, the service for the most part sucks.

Chuck

Where do the bad guys stash their empty pistols now that the blue boxes are gone? Saw that in a lot of movies.

Tom Gutzke

Can’t remember the last time I saw a mailbox. Try to find a post office in a strange city- lots of luck. Even asking at a gas station or restaurant doesn’t help. Type in “Post Office into a GPS and it doesn’t know what you mean. At least a smart phone helps now that I have one.

don

Remember the olive green boxes you would see next to some of those blue boxes–I think they are all gone now too. They were for walking ailment to store their carts etc in.

RV Staff

I’m heading to the blue mailbox in front of the local Albertson’s right now. Won’t use my mailbox for outgoing mail after three bill payments I put in it for pickup got stolen. I’m glad the box is so close by, but if it weren’t there I’d head to one of the area post offices, which also have the blue boxes for drive-up convenience. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Rita Monat

https://www.mailboxmap.com/mailboxes/map?q=St.+Peters%2C+MO

Been full-timing 15 years. Found this website to locate those blue mailboxes. Use it often when we roll into a new town.

Patrick Granahan

In December it took 13 days for a first class letter to go from Connecticut to North Carolina.
Also in December we went 4 days without mail delivery to our neighborhood….reason was
three inches of snow !
Meanwhile the USPS managed to deliver tens of thousands of Amazon packages at reduced postal rates during the same time period.

A very mismanaged outfit.

Add another 5 cents to mail a letter…pay more for poor service.

The Pony Express did a better job 100 years ago.

And you are looking for their Blue Boxes !

Tommy Molnar

We still have several here in Carson City, NV. Two are out front of the PO for drive-by deposits.

I looked into buying one a few years back to replace the mailbox in front of our house. When we take off on a multi-month trip, it seems the post office just can’t get their act together for holding our mail. Max hold is 30 days and any more take a meeting with the postmaster (whom you must make an appointment to see). And they STILL screw it up! We finally pressed our neighbors into service and they now take our mail out of the box every few days.

Oh, and that’s when I found out you can’t buy these wonderful old blue (or whatever color they used to be) boxes. The PO must destroy them (they say). Just like U-Haul will not sell their small trailers when they go out of service. They destroy them as well.

Captn John

Those blue boxes continue to see less use annually. Every office has each one on a rotating schedule every 2 years. A week count the pieces collected. The reason is cost and liability. Although they last a long time they do require replacement due to age or accident (vehicles hit several annually). Maintenance checking to make sure they are safely anchored so they do not fall on someone and are hard to steal. They also need new labels and decals applied and painted. For some reason some think burning the contents is fun. Upon opening carriers have had cats jump out at them, found snakes, trash, and even feces. They are costly and use is rare.

KellyR

There hasn’t been a mail box here in Tampa for decades. A long time ago there was a rash of vandalism and I thought bomb material or chemicals dumped in mail boxes. I thought that mail boxes all through the nation were removed during this scare. I was surprised to see comments that people were wondering where they went at this late date. ???

MELVIN GREGORY

Chuck, you are right! I haven’t seen one in for some time. Didn’t think much about it. It’s a part of our past, just like the pay phones. We still have one or two of those in our town.