See your mail before it hits the PO box

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

The United States Post Office has come out with a new “app.” It lets you see what will be in your mailbox before it arrives.

My first question was, “why?”

Then I read the brochure that landed in my mailbox. If I already had the app, I would have known that it was in there.

“Sign up today for this new feature and get a daily email showing detailed images of the letter-sized mail that will be arriving to your PO Box,” it stated.

That way you can plan to check the box on certain days when you know there is important stuff in there. Many times I check my box, and except for some junk mail, walk away empty-handed. Then I run into someone I know, and we strike up a conversation. It takes a while.

I regard myself as a tech-type of a person (although I still like writing checks and making bank deposits in person), but even I have to question the practicality of this app.

Why would I want to see what’s coming to my P.O. Box before it arrives? I kind of like to make a trip to the post office and be surprised. Note that the brochure said “before it arrives.” There was no mention of when it would arrive.

I’m not complaining, but some of my mail has arrived a bit late, like two weeks late. Most of it, however, as people run things, there will be mistakes. That’s understandable.

With this app, though, I would be able to see what a letter looks like before I even get it. Somehow they take a picture of it in transit and email it to me.

What if I really don’t care what it looks like? I would assume that it is probably a No. 10 envelope with my address and a return address.

But, since I am the self-described gadget guy, I decided to download the app to see how it works. I went to the website and put in my information, including a special code that was on the brochure.

It was hidden under a scratch-off, like the ones lotto tickets have. Match three, and you win a prize. In this case, it was a long one with letters mixed in.

I typed it all in, and then there were some more things to fill out. This was taking way longer than I thought, but these days I guess they have to be careful with security.

When I thought I was done, one more page popped up asking me to answer some personal questions, familiar only to me. They already knew the answers, though, which is scary.

I had to get them all correct to “see my mail before it arrives.”

I got one wrong, but they didn’t tell me which one. I think it was the credit application question.

nyway, I blew it, and they offered to let me do it again, or something like that. By then, I quit reading the small print. I just closed the website and called it a day.

I guess I’ll just see what my mail looks like when I open my PO Box. How retro.