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Post office boxes just randomly around town?


DawnM
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I am sure it isn't random, but I remember there used to be post office boxes all over the place.   Sometimes on a residential street you would find one.

Is that a thing of the past?

My dad is driving me nuts.   He sends out lots of letters and receives lots of mail.    Everyday he asks where the mail is and if we have gotten it.

I know this is pretty much his whole life now, but we are busy.   He wants the mail taking to a post box.   He doesn't want it in our mailbox with the flag up.   He is sure someone could take it and it won't reach its destination.   Although we live in a gated community and live in the area with a gate that only has 2 dead end streets and no one comes back here!   OY!

Yesterday he asked twice if my son could drive him to the post office, just to put the letters into the mailbox.   He wasn't able to.

I told him I would take them today, but seriously, I don't drive past a post office and this is becoming an issue.   

Last week he gave me some large letter size envelopes and wanted me to go in to the post office and stand in line and get them weighed to mail.    Our post office is usually fairly busy when I am off work to go, so I just stuck a few extra stamps on there and put it in the drive through post box.   He is none of the wiser.

Anyway, my question is, are there mailboxes in other areas anymore, other than the actual post office, where I can drop his mail, and how can I find out where they are?

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thank you.   As I figured, there are none on my way to work.

I can put them in the bin at work to be picked up, but it is a huge stack and I think they may say something if I have that many going out that aren't work related.     And I am not at my normal school for the summer so I don't know the office staff at this school very well.

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There’s a box on my dd’s street, but she’s in an urban(ish) area. There’s a box at each end of my community (3 miles apart), but that’s because we have group mailboxes instead of home mailboxes.  I haven’t noticed any other random boxes in our area... except for in front of post offices!

There weren’t any in my suburban hometown 20+ years ago, either. But the post office was only about a mile away.

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You may have to suffer through teaching him to trust your mailbox. We have a couple drop boxes in our neighborhood; including a drive-up box at the post office, but I’m in the suburbs with kiosk mail boxes. There’s no way I’d drive out of my way for daily mail. In your shoes I’d just use your home mailbox and suffer through the grumbling until he gets used to it. Once it becomes part of his routine and he sees that all his mail it getting where it needs to go, he’ll move on. I might cave and promise a once a week mail drop if a drop box is going to be on my way to something, but entertaining the daily requests feels like a trap.  Is your dad mobile enough to use your home box yourself? Maybe he can stalk the mailman and put is mail in just before he expects delivery..
 

My grandmother used her home mailbox, but knew what time the mailman came and would be put out of the guy was “late.” Ditto for the newspaper guy. 

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Many apartment complexes have locked mailboxes in a single location (like a cabinet).
These boxes also have slots to receive mail into a locked box.

(We're rural, but our subdivision has one of these.)

For incoming mail, there are mailbox signals, indicating if the mail has been delivered.
https://www.amazon.com/MailSig-Mailbox-Signaling-Device-Standard/dp/B06ZZ2RLJP

Also, USPS provides a daily email alert with scans of the mail/pkgs to be delivered later that day.
You can sign up online at usps.com
That system also allows you to ASK the mail carrier to schedule a pickup of a package at your house.

Good luck helping your Dad enjoy his mail, rather than getting stressed out about it!

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For the few items we send, we usually place it on our mailbox for pickup.  But, I can think of three free-standing boxes you can place mail in within a mile of my house, just off the top of my head.  That isn't counting the four post offices within three miles of my house (one is in the back of the local hardware store and it is the one with the best service).  I generally avoid going in the post office to the counter; there is a machine that will weigh an envelope and print out the correct postage to attach and it is available 24/7--it is much faster (and more reliable) than the counter service.  

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Oh, I don't go daily.   It is just when he has letters to send, it does equal about once a week.   

He just has nothing else to do but perseverate on the few things that he deems important.   

And many times the bulk of the letters won't fit in my mailbox.   His last mailing was 300+ letters going out.    But if the amount is small, I really just want to use our box.   UGH.

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3 minutes ago, DawnM said:

Oh, I don't go daily.   It is just when he has letters to send, it does equal about once a week.   

He just has nothing else to do but perseverate on the few things that he deems important.   

And many times the bulk of the letters won't fit in my mailbox.   His last mailing was 300+ letters going out.    But if the amount is small, I really just want to use our box.   UGH.

300? Wow. 

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That is a lot of mail, wow.

Is it possible that the mail carrier could come to his door, perhaps once a week? Maybe there are accommodations for disabilities?

Like this: https://faq.usps.com/s/article/If-I-have-Hardship-or-Medical-Problems-how-do-I-request-Door-Delivery#:~:text="Hardship" or "Medical Problems,a statement from a Doctor.

Editing to add that you might need to get him a separate address, like "221B Baker Street."

Edited by Innisfree
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I remember this too, not that long ago actually, but a week ago I googled to find where one was and there were NONE! I was shocked!

I KNOW there were those blue mail boxes you could drop a letter or small package in just a few years ago - I remember putting something in one because I'd missed the pick up by the house. They are all labled on them when the last pick up is, and at the time I could look online to see as well. But when I tried to google for them I just got actual post offices. 

Weird!

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My town has one in front of the police department and a couple outside the post office.  
 

I think I would insist he trust the mailbox unless there’s a check or an official document (tax returns or insurance forms, in which case you might want tracking anyway). 

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Ok, nevermind, it seems Google just doesn't know where the collection boxes are. I went to the USPS website and in the "send mail" section was able to search for collection boxes and there are quite a few. That's a relief! I'm glad you started this thread because I was pretty disgruntled about them being gone!!!  I had to mail out a bunch of of my newest books for reviewers and they wouldn't fit in my mailbox. I arranged for a pick up, but that meant waiting until the next day. 

Oh! I know you can arrange for a pick up for packages, maybe you can for letters? 

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We also have several within walking distance. But we can also walk to the post office. That's what he really needs. To be able to go bug them for a few minutes every day. 

This is re-enforcing my belief that cities are the right place to be elderly.

I hope you find a solution. I second that if it's a gated community, sometimes you can drop the mail at the gate somewhere. That was the case at my dad's community - you could leave it with the gatehouse.

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

You may have to suffer through teaching him to trust your mailbox. We have a couple drop boxes in our neighborhood; including a drive-up box at the post office, but I’m in the suburbs with kiosk mail boxes. There’s no way I’d drive out of my way for daily mail. In your shoes I’d just use your home mailbox and suffer through the grumbling until he gets used to it. Once it becomes part of his routine and he sees that all his mail it getting where it needs to go, he’ll move on. I might cave and promise a once a week mail drop if a drop box is going to be on my way to something, but entertaining the daily requests feels like a trap.  Is your dad mobile enough to use your home box yourself? Maybe he can stalk the mailman and put is mail in just before he expects delivery..
 

My grandmother used her home mailbox, but knew what time the mailman came and would be put out of the guy was “late.” Ditto for the newspaper guy. 

What do you by “a trap?” 

Like, first it’s daily trips to the post office and then what…daily trips to the coffee shop? LOL

I know Dawn is busy and I hope her Dad comes to see using the letter carrier pick-up at their own mailbox as potentially *better* than using the corner mailboxes (if available). Bc you are guaranteed (baring any unforeseen situations) your letter will be picked up the day it is put in your own mailbox, whereas if you miss the daily pick up at a corner mailbox, it won’t be picked up until the next day.

 

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I understand the mail theft concerns.  I'm pretty sure there exists locking mailboxes for homes.  That might make him feel better about leaving them for the letter carrier.  Is your letter carrier in a vehicle or on foot?  If on foot it might not be kind to leave hundreds of pieces at one time.

I don't think you can just give home a separate address to receive his own mail from the USPS.  However, you could give him his own mailbox by his exterior or interior door for you to drop his mail in.  You could put his mail in there in the morning or before you go to bed if he goes to sleep sooner than you.  That way he gets it in the morning.

Could you set a twice a month post office trip and take him there?  Then things to weigh etc would have to wait until then?  Can he get his own postal scale if he wouldn't want to wait?

Mail can be a real lifeline.  When my sister died I heard from countless people about mail.  I try to send more of it because of her.

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Ooh, locking mailbox is a great idea! Quickly found this one on amazon https://amzn.to/3i4jZNc

It's $112 but might be worth not dealing with the hassel!

As for weighing stuff, you can weigh mail on a kitchen scale and print postage. You can do it via USPS website or stamps.com but it's a huge PIA compared to using the website pirateship. (trust me, I've tried a bunch, lol)

You can also get labels to print if doing it alot, that are basically sticker paper, or just print on regular paper and tape on. I've done both.

https://www.pirateship.com/

 

Edited by ktgrok
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25 minutes ago, happi duck said:

I understand the mail theft concerns.  I'm pretty sure there exists locking mailboxes for homes.  That might make him feel better about leaving them for the letter carrier.  Is your letter carrier in a vehicle or on foot?  If on foot it might not be kind to leave hundreds of pieces at one time.

 

We have a locking mailbox, but it only secures incoming mail.    My dh takes our outgoing mail to work with him because we know mail thefts happen in our neighborhood...I've even found a pile of stolen mail thrown on the side of the street.  

There was a postal box not far from us, but the lady at the post office told me that the thieves were putting a box inside to catch the mail before it drops to the bottom, then they retrieve it!  That box was removed for a time, but now there's a new one, a different style than the old one that should prevent the box trick.   

Dawn, your father needs to make friends with the mail carrier! 

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2 minutes ago, Laurie said:

That's the one we have.  It protects your incoming mail, but not outgoing.  

Oh

Well...maybe her father doesn't need to know that part, lol?

Or send at least one package priority mail, so he can arrange for pick up?

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5 hours ago, DawnM said:

thank you.   As I figured, there are none on my way to work.

I can put them in the bin at work to be picked up, but it is a huge stack and I think they may say something if I have that many going out that aren't work related.     And I am not at my normal school for the summer so I don't know the office staff at this school very well.

It’s worth it to ask. Does the office staff have to do anything or does the USPS carrier just come pick up the mail? If the USPS is doing all the work, it’s probably not an issue with you adding to the pile, especially if you mention that your dad sends a lot of mail and he’s uncomfortable leaving it in your mailbox.  I’m sure they’ll understand the quirkiness of an old guy. But I’d tell them so they don’t think you’re like running a side business because you don’t want them to think you’re putting this mail together while on the clock. 
 

I totally get it- my dad (and fil before  he passed away) is super quirky about the mail. 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Annie G said:

It’s worth it to ask. Does the office staff have to do anything or does the USPS carrier just come pick up the mail? If the USPS is doing all the work, it’s probably not an issue with you adding to the pile, especially if you mention that your dad sends a lot of mail and he’s uncomfortable leaving it in your mailbox.  I’m sure they’ll understand the quirkiness of an old guy. But I’d tell them so they don’t think you’re like running a side business because you don’t want them to think you’re putting this mail together while on the clock. 
 

I totally get it- my dad (and fil before  he passed away) is super quirky about the mail. 

DH called and said he will drop it off at the mailbox in front of the post office today.    And this is my last week of summer school, so hopefully we can get on a good track for things going forward.  

If I end up at my school I have been in for 4 years, they won't care.

Edited by DawnM
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26 minutes ago, Laurie said:

We have a locking mailbox, but it only secures incoming mail.    My dh takes our outgoing mail to work with him because we know mail thefts happen in our neighborhood...I've even found a pile of stolen mail thrown on the side of the street.  

There was a postal box not far from us, but the lady at the post office told me that the thieves were putting a box inside to catch the mail before it drops to the bottom, then they retrieve it!  That box was removed for a time, but now there's a new one, a different style than the old one that should prevent the box trick.   

Dawn, your father needs to make friends with the mail carrier! 

Not sure if you remember my thread about how slow my dad walks.   To get from his entry door to the mailbox would take him 20 min or more.

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30 minutes ago, Laurie said:

We have a locking mailbox, but it only secures incoming mail.    My dh takes our outgoing mail to work with him because we know mail thefts happen in our neighborhood...I've even found a pile of stolen mail thrown on the side of the street.  

There was a postal box not far from us, but the lady at the post office told me that the thieves were putting a box inside to catch the mail before it drops to the bottom, then they retrieve it!  That box was removed for a time, but now there's a new one, a different style than the old one that should prevent the box trick.   

Dawn, your father needs to make friends with the mail carrier! 

Bummer!  I thought the letter carrier had a key too like apartments or clusters of boxes.

Eta: stolen outgoing mail is especially a problem due to check washing.

Edited by happi duck
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Once you find a routine for this, it will hopefully get easier (whether it’s you and DH dropping off mail, using your home mailbox, or arranging special pick ups), I just wanted to say that this sounds so familiar to me.  Not the specific issue, but the experience.  The perseverating.

This may or may not apply to your situation, and it’s ok if it doesn’t, but just in case it does … Our elders, especially the one living with us, become laser focused on One Thing at a time.  It’s almost like they spin in a loop until that One Thing is satisfied.  Whatever it is they are stuck on becomes their own little Holy Grail. This led to multiple calls each day from FIL to drop everything and bring him X at the nursing home.  And to my mother needing (insert Very Specific Hard to Find Item) immediately.  Or … the list goes on.  We’ve had four years of this.  It’s exhausting to try to accommodate every thing, but we try to meet in the middle often.  So something like a locking mailbox, or finding a routine for the mail might help.  Like, here, “outgoing mail goes on this table.  I will pick it up and put it in the mail each morning.” (…and that could mean in your home box, but maybe you don’t have to be specific?) In our case, the creative solution for needing X item immediately was to encourage a lot of list making, and we have twice a week meetings when we sit down separately with the two elders who are prone to this and go over the lists and place orders.  

Your dad may not be doing the same Laser Focus on the One Thing that my elders are doing, but just in case he is … I wanted to share so you’d know you’re not alone.  
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Do you have any UPS stores around ?  I don’t know if it’s every store but our store has a bin for regular USPS mail that is part of the mailman’s route. He picks it up daily. 

Yes, they are just as inconvenient as the post office.   And parking around them is awful.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Once you find a routine for this, it will hopefully get easier (whether it’s you and DH dropping off mail, using your home mailbox, or arranging special pick ups), I just wanted to say that this sounds so familiar to me.  Not the specific issue, but the experience.  The perseverating.

This may or may not apply to your situation, and it’s ok if it doesn’t, but just in case it does … Our elders, especially the one living with us, become laser focused on One Thing at a time.  It’s almost like they spin in a loop until that One Thing is satisfied.  Whatever it is they are stuck on becomes their own little Holy Grail. This led to multiple calls each day from FIL to drop everything and bring him X at the nursing home.  And to my mother needing (insert Very Specific Hard to Find Item) immediately.  Or … the list goes on.  We’ve had four years of this.  It’s exhausting to try to accommodate every thing, but we try to meet in the middle often.  So something like a locking mailbox, or finding a routine for the mail might help.  Like, here, “outgoing mail goes on this table.  I will pick it up and put it in the mail each morning.” (…and that could mean in your home box, but maybe you don’t have to be specific?) In our case, the creative solution for needing X item immediately was to encourage a lot of list making, and we have twice a week meetings when we sit down separately with the two elders who are prone to this and go over the lists and place orders.  

Your dad may not be doing the same Laser Focus on the One Thing that my elders are doing, but just in case he is … I wanted to share so you’d know you’re not alone.  
 

 

Thanks.  Yeah, my friend's mom is acting the same way.   They just have one thing that is so urgent.

Raising the elderly is hard isn't it?

😂

Edited by DawnM
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you can request a package pickup if it is USPS first class mail.  https://tools.usps.com/schedule-pickup-steps.htm  " And mailpieces weighing more than 10 oz bearing only stamps as postage are not eligible for pickup."

The postage you can purchase online via paypal (for packages or large envelopes)--you just need a kitchen scale to weigh them, and then you can print from home.

I would think that there has to be a way to have them come to the door for 300 mail pieces as well, but I can't find it immediately. 

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We live by a few business complexes, a lot of real estate/loan companies. Each complex has a FedEx box, a UPS box and a regular mailbox. Now granted we live in a nice area, but I've been known to use those in a pinch.

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A lot of streets in my area (and ALL the new construction) have cluster mailboxes.  I think that they are required now for new developments.  One benefit is that there’s a locked slot for outgoing mail in each cluster box unit.  

I am wondering if your community could get a locked outgoing mailbox installed by the guard house?  

 

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

We also have several within walking distance. But we can also walk to the post office. That's what he really needs. To be able to go bug them for a few minutes every day. 

This is re-enforcing my belief that cities are the right place to be elderly.

Yeah, my dad will walk to the post office and stand in line just to have something to do.  Bonus: if there’s a long line, he has something to grumble about for the rest of the day and into the next, which is also entertainment for him.  🤣

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19 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

A lot of streets in my area (and ALL the new construction) have cluster mailboxes.  I think that they are required now for new developments.  One benefit is that there’s a locked slot for outgoing mail in each cluster box unit.  

I am wondering if your community could get a locked outgoing mailbox installed by the guard house?  

 

I think I'd advocate for that. I'm sure a few other residents would appreciate it and the cost would likely be pretty low.

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23 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

A lot of streets in my area (and ALL the new construction) have cluster mailboxes.  I think that they are required now for new developments.  One benefit is that there’s a locked slot for outgoing mail in each cluster box unit.  

I am wondering if your community could get a locked outgoing mailbox installed by the guard house?  

 

Here the thieves have started to use crow bars to pry them open.  Or they rip the cluster mail box all the way off of it's post and then rip things open (with what I can only imagine is some kind of chain hooked up to a truck or something?)  It's horrible the lengths that they have started to go to. 

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If a locked outgoing box by the guard house isn't approved either by the HOA or USPS: Is there a guard 24/7?  Maybe they could get a mail bin and take outgoing mail from people and then hand-off the bin to the letter carrier.  (Just like how an office has an outgoing mail bin.). I'm assuming the guards are trusted?

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1 minute ago, lauraw4321 said:

I have to know who he is sending 300 letters to?

If he was formerly in ministry (which I believe is the case) many have built up big lists of supporters and other ministers that they send out prayer letters to.  I know that my parents did that even after retirement. 

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Largely thing of past.

Could he learn usual time your carrier arrives and hand mail directly to carrier or put it in box and watch till carrier arrives?   Maybe have a portable seat from which to watch, and a book to read or audiobook to listen to.  (Might be an activity in itself.) 
 

Or photocopy letters and include an easy Stamped return postcard for recipient to send back ... if no return post card he could resend letter. 

 

 

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It won’t work for 300 letters, but we have a locking mailbox that has a little clip inside the mail deposit door that you can clip a couple outgoing letters into. It would work if he only had a few. I could find a link to it if you decide something like that would work.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

These don't work for outgoing mail.

Thanks.

I thought that USPS carriers had pass keys that allowed them to have access (as at cluster boxes), but it appears I was wrong in that assumption.

Bill

 

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Just now, Spy Car said:

I thought that USPS carriers had pass keys that allowed them to have access (as at cluster boxes), but it appears I was wrong in that assumption.

I used to think that too until we actually got one.

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