The Struggles of Receiving Snail Mail

by - 7:14 PM

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about the struggles of sending snail mail. I wrote about not knowing what to write and where to get stamps. After the post had gone up I thought I´d covered the most difficult aspects of snail mail adventures. Then I found out there´s something even more difficult: Receiving snail mail. Story time!

When I cam home from Russia, there was a note on my doormat with the Dutch mail service's logo on it. "We missed you on July 26th!" it said. "Your letter, which requires your signature, is waiting for you at the local post office!"
My parents and I had no idea what this was about. I thought maybe Kanra from The Lunar Descent had sent me something that needed to be checked and signed for. My parents were completely clueless and let me listen to my gut, that said the letter was for me.
At the bottom of the note there was a code. I could go online and use it to check details, like sender and weight of the letter. So I did just that at 1.15am on August 1st, only to find out that my letter was supposedly 1 gram. An envelope alone already weighs more than that, but I shrugged it off and moved on to the other information - except there was none. All fields on my screen were empty. Sender: unknown. I moved the cursor over the word 'unknown'. A message popped up: "The sender of this letter is unknown. This could be because they are not registered in our archives or because your letter cam from abroad."
I sighed. Great, very helpful. There was only one field left that wasn't empty. It was another code. I didn't recognize anything in the code, which wasn't even clickable. I stared at it for a while, trying to make sense of it. The last two letters were IN. India? But no one in India had my address, at least not as far as I knew. Besides, even if it came from India, why did I have to sign for it? I never had to sign for anything I got from Pakistan. What was this all about?

After a short night full of questions about the mysterious letter, I grabbed my stuff to go to the post office. The note I'd gotten had come with a checklist of things I needed to bring in order to be allowed to sign for my letter: an ID card and the note itself at least. Money was a good idea too, just in case.
I threw everything I needed in a tote bag and cycled to the other end of town, where the lady at the counter of the post office awarded me to some suspicious looks as I handed her the note and explained why I was there.
'Were you expecting any mail?' she asked.
'A parcel? A letter maybe?'
'No, I wasn't expecting anything!' I blurted. 'All I know is that I came home from vacation to find this weird note!'
The lady didn't raise an eyebrow in surprised annoyance, but she did come very close to doing so. 'Okay then, we'll take a look. Do you have any ID on you now?'
I handed her my driver's license. She checked the picture to see if it was really me. What did she expect? Why would anyone pretend to be someone else for a letter?
She walked away. Stuck my driver's license in a machine. Scanned it. Scanned it once more. Then she put it aside and walked back over to me. 'You'll get that back in a minute. What's your name again?'
I was baffled. Was she really checking if what I'd say wouldn't contradict my ID? This woman was more serious about checking my identity than the people at the Russian border!
'Envy Fisher.'
'Okay, and your address?' she asked, friendlier now she knew I was the real Envy Fisher.
I told her as she pulled a box out from under the counter. It was bursting with letters and I had to tell her my address once more before she found my letter. She put it on a ledge on her side of the counter, where I could see the mangled envelope but not reach it.
'Now if you'd sign please?'
I looked around in confusion. Sign what? Where? 'Excuse me?'
'Right here.'
I had to scribble my name on a teeny tiny touch pad, then finally got my driver's license and my letter.
'Thank you. We hope to see you again.'
'Yeah, bye,' I mumbled as I walked out, still overwhelmed by it all. What was so special about this letter that it needed a full identity check?

I didn't look at the envelope until I was almost home. I recognized the handwriting. The envelope was covered in stickers, two Dutch, three Indian. I didn't open it. That's too difficult when you're cycling anyway. Back home I threw the letter on the dinner table.
'And, did it come from Pakistan? What did Kanra send you?' my parents asked.
'It's from India!' I shouted as I stormed off. I didn't feel like reading the letter at all. I was too annoyed by all the things that happened at the post office. It took me an hour to get over it, then I finally opened the envelope and read my letter.
As it turned out, Kanra had given my address to my friend in India so he could send me a surprise letter for my birthday. That's the sweetest thing people have ever done behind my back, but the stress! I wish everyone awesome surprises for their birthday, but the post office experience? I do not recommend it!

Stay Awesome!

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8 Fellow Ramblers

  1. That is so cool Envy! And also stressful. Still congrats on getting the card.

    1. Haha, thanks! It was awesome and a nice story to tell now :P

  2. haha I get you, although I LOVE snail mail despite all that! Happy birthday too :)


    1. Thank you! I still love snail mail too :) Which reminds me that I still need to write and send some :)

  3. I KNOW!!! I feel you! This stuff happens to me too!

    1. It's the best and the worst and so stressful!

  4. wow - thats a lot of hassle for a letter, although I confess I do love receiving snail mail. Right now I'm living in China and that's a nightmare too! Whenever you get a parcel or letter, the post office ring you to ask if they can deliver it - which would be fine if I could speak Chinese lol. Once the post office realises I'm not a native, they generally just hang up on me. RUDE! lol

    1. The things you have to go through to receive snail mail are even worse than my little episode! Still living in China sounds awesome!


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