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  #1  
Old 12 January 2017, 06:07 AM
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Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
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Default Postcards delayed in the postal system.

I've often wondered why it takes so long for a postcard to arrive compared to a letter. One that I sent while on holidays several weeks ago has just turned up at work. We're in a modern new business building with an efficient mail room, so it's not been hiding in there. Other recipients are just getting theirs.

There seems to be some sort of postcard "twilight zone" where they hang out for a few weeks.

I worked briefly in postal sorting years ago and there did not seem to be any deliberate delay. What's happening.
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  #2  
Old 12 January 2017, 01:42 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Postcards aren't treated as "time sensitive" material. They generally are cheaper to mail too. They probably get sorted and distributed on a "when we have time" basis.

OY
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  #3  
Old 12 January 2017, 02:45 PM
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I send postcards occasionally, and they seem to get there about as fast as other mail. I've had replies to them get back to me in the mail within a week.
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Old 12 January 2017, 02:56 PM
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Most mail has the address automatically read by computers and sorted. The sorting systems take an image of mail where the address can't be read and forward it to a center for decoding (either by computer or by human). Since most postcards have the message, address, and return address all on one side, I would guess they end up having to be decoded via human, which will certainly add a delay to the process.
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Old 14 January 2017, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
Postcards aren't treated as "time sensitive" material. They generally are cheaper to mail too. They probably get sorted and distributed on a "when we have time" basis.
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Most mail has the address automatically read by computers and sorted.
Artificial Intelligence has reached the next level: our computers have learned how to goof off at work.
When they tell us they're updating, they've really gone behind the mainframe to pass around a computer doobie with the other computers.
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Old 14 January 2017, 02:07 AM
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But he's talking about the Australian postal service, so I'm not sure our American standards will apply. I'm also not sure I have much more to contribute to solve this mystery.
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Old 14 January 2017, 06:53 AM
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30 years ago or there abouts I had penpals in Canada, the US, Britain and Ireland. There was a marked difference in the time it took to get to the British Isle compare to getting to the US continent. I can say for sure which was quicker (hey 30years ago) but I am thinking the British Isle was quicker. But hey small island compared to large continent. These were letters or aerograms rather then postcards though.

When I did a tour of England and France about 20 years ago I was sending postcards back to various family members. I am pretty sure they were reasonable quick. Put is this way. I was gone for a month and I didn't beat any of them back.

We had a remarkable effective postal system, considering the size of the country. But with advent of email postal mail has declined. I now only get deliveries three days a week as opposed to 5 days a week we used to get (with an extra delivery on Saturdays leading up to Christmas)
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Old 14 January 2017, 01:43 PM
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Plurabelle Plurabelle is offline
 
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Having lived in the US, Canada and Ireland, the US takes its postal system seriously. The post office really does seem to embrace the motto of "in rain, sleet, snow etc". That said, bulk or postcard rate mail is definitely not as critical as first class mail.

Canada Post - we used to call it the Donkey Express. It's slow as could be.

Ireland - all of the packages delivered to me would automatically go to the depot for pick up. They didn't even try to deliver something larger than a letter because my house had a mail slot rather than a letter box. I once tried to ship a small package back to the US - it was about 2.5 lbs and they wanted more than 100 euro. Nope, I'll stash it in my suitcase!
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Old 14 January 2017, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
But he's talking about the Australian postal service, so I'm not sure our American standards will apply.
Whoops, I managed to miss that!

And there are clearly differences. We've still got six days a week service; though I do sometimes see talk about dropping Saturdays.

-- in some old mystery stories there appear to be references to multiple deliveries each day, in parts of England and I think maybe even the USA. I expect that was only in the cities, though.
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  #10  
Old 14 January 2017, 06:46 PM
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Not just cities. We used to have morning and afternoon mail delivery here (long before any of us were born). People used to use that service to ask for dates, etc., before telephones.
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  #11  
Old 15 January 2017, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
-- in some old mystery stories there appear to be references to multiple deliveries each day, in parts of England and I think maybe even the USA. I expect that was only in the cities, though.
Until last year we had multiple deliveries M-F, on Saturday only A post is delivered.

Now they're closing many of the post offices and laying off people. Not enough mail.

I would expect postcards requiring hand-sorting more often. I have received postcards where the address is written in the middle of a wall of text, with just a line drawn around it. I would expect the automatic scanners would have a problem with reading the address and spitting the postcard out.
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  #12  
Old 16 January 2017, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Die Capacitrix View Post
Until last year we had multiple deliveries M-F, on Saturday only A post is delivered.

Now they're closing many of the post offices and laying off people. Not enough mail.
Same here, unfortunately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Die Capacitrix View Post
I would expect postcards requiring hand-sorting more often. I have received postcards where the address is written in the middle of a wall of text, with just a line drawn around it. I would expect the automatic scanners would have a problem with reading the address and spitting the postcard out.
I suspect this may be the problem. I can't exactly remember when it was but I do remember the ads when we switching from manual to automatic and we were told to put the postcode (zipcode?) at the end of the address. Of course we had the usually complaints from people "But this is how we have always done it..why are we changing waaa " Cause postcodes are nothing more then a way to make sorting the mail easier and this will make sorting the mail easier.
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