The art of misdirection
April 21, 2009
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A postcard arrived in the mail today. Yay! I thought. Then: oh, this isn't for me. This is for a couple in Sheffield.
The card had been addressed to a very similarly named road to mine, then a suburb of Sheffield, then the actual city of Sheffield, but the senders had written SE13 instead of S13. So the Royal Mail sent it to me. It had gone through all their sorting processes, automated and – do they still have any manual sorting? – and nothing had spotted that this card was in LONDON when it clearly wanted to be in SHEFFIELD. I have now scribbled out the errant E with a little note asking for redelivery, and will pop it back in the post.
I think this minor incident tells us one of two things. Either the postcode is really very incredibly important for getting mail to the right place, and we should indeed heed the advice to not forget the postcode, or the days of Royal Mail being able to deliver letters addressed to 'Mr Rigsby, Third House From The Phonebox, Sussex' are behind us, seeing as how it's apparently impossible to tell when a letter is 200 miles away from its rightful home.