25 Interesting Facts about Postal Services

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1FedEx cargo planes

FedEx cargo planes

FedEx uses several empty cargo planes that roam the country's skies overnight in circuitous flight paths, ready to divert on demand in order to accommodate unexpected package volume.

2. UPS drivers don't take the shortest routes. UPS has special software which optimizes each route by eliminating as many left-hand turns as possible. As result, UPS claims it uses 10 million gallons less fuel, emits 20,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide and delivers 350,000 more packages every year.

3. USPS mail delivery vehicles are 25-30 years old and use engines designed in the 1970s that get 10 MPG.

4. The UK Royal Mail ran an underground railway network in London of driverless trains from 1927 until 2003 to move mail between sorting offices.

5. The most rural post office in the US is the Supai Post Office which is located is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and is serviced by a mule train that takes 2.5 hours to reach it. It services the Havasupai reservation and demonstrates the obligation of the US Postal System to service every community.

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6Duck hunting stamp

Duck hunting stamp

The US Post Office sells a $25 stamp that's required for duck hunting. The proceeds go to conservation efforts.

7. In 1994, a disgruntled FedEx employee hijacked and tried to crash the FedEx Flight 705. He used hammers and a spear gun as weapons. The pilots, though severely injured, inverted the cargo jet, pinning a hijacker to the ceiling of the plane and performed maneuvers beyond all known capabilities to land safely.

8. The mail truck most commonly used by the USPS was produced by Grumman and is called the Long Life Vehicle. Production began in 1987, and a new one hasn't been produced since 1994.

9. The US Postal Service began home delivery during the Civil War after a postal worker became so torn up by seeing women lined up in the cold to see if a letter had arrived from a son or husband at the front lines that he started delivering mail to homes.

10. In 2014, FedEx was charged with distribution of controlled substances and a conspiracy to distribute misbranded drugs. DEA told it to stop catering to list of drug dealers, but refused to give the list when FedEx tried to comply. FedEx pleaded not guilty since they had no way to tell who was on the list.

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11USPS mail

USPS mail

According to the USPS, if you ever receive unsolicited merchandise in the mail it is yours to freely keep. It is also considered a rare instance where "finders, keepers" applies unconditionally.

12. Junk mail destroys 100 million trees a year. This is the equivalent of deforesting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.

13. Canada Post receives millions of letters addressed to Santa Claus each year, with a special dedicated postal code, H0H 0H0. About 15,000 current and retired Canada Post employees respond to each letter received pretending to be Santa.

14. After the USPS began offering parcel post, numerous poor families used the service to mail their children to relatives. One girl was mailed to her grandmother 73 miles away for just 53 cents.

15. The United Parcel Service (UPS) considers bull semen a "common item that may be hazardous."

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16FedEx Bet

FedEx Bet

In 1971, FedEx got down to the last $5,000, which wasn't enough to refuel the planes to make that weekend’s deliveries. With impending bankruptcy and no other options, CEO Fred Smith literally took all of it to Vegas, got lucky, and turned it into enough money to refuel, finish the shipments, and save the company.

17. FedEx planes have anti-missile countermeasures and are the only commercial planes to currently carry them.

18. In 1959, the USPS attempted to deliver mail via cruise missile and successfully shipped 3,000 pieces of mail from Virginia to Florida in 22 minutes.

19. The longest mail route in the United States is 187.6 miles (300km). Jim Ed Bull, the 72-year-old letter carrier, drives the route 5 days a week through rural Oklahoma. He only makes about 200 deliveries throughout the whole trip.

20. The Israeli postal service receives more than 1,000 letters addressed to "God" every year. Instead of disposing or archiving them, the undeliverable mail department opens them and puts them between the cracks of the Western Wall.

21South Pole post office

South Pole post office

USPS has a post office at the South Pole with the postal code 96598.

22. Post office workers once sent a live cat through the pneumatic mail tube system in New York.

23. Mongolia’s postal service adopted a system that uses a 3-word address instead of a street address. The system maps the world into patches of 9 square meters and assigns each one a unique 3-word address that helps postal workers deliver mail in the city or remote places more efficiently.

24. A French postman named Ferdinand Cheval tripped on a rock in 1879 on his mail route, and inspired by its strange shape, began collecting stones for the next 33 years to build “Le Palais Idéal” (the Ideal Palace) by himself. It still stands and is a major example of “naive architecture”.

25. The UK Royal Mail buys one billion rubber bands a year. So many are discarded on streets that they are a nationwide litter problem, and harm animals that eat them.

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