As part of The Book Of Everyone team, I work at a company that’s helped create 400,000 personalised books and sent them to people in 175 countries and counting. It means we put a lot of time into thinking about post. And there’s a lot of post to think about. And I mean a lot. The US Postal Service alone processes 21.1 million pieces of post every hour!
That means things don’t always go perfectly. Couriers are only human and sometimes make mistakes. So if you’ve ordered one of our personalised books and it hasn’t arrived when you expected or has been damaged in the post just contact our super helpful customer services team to get things sorted.
With our printers in the UK, United States, and Australia, we’re always looking to find the fastest, most affordable, and reliable delivery options for making sure that books arrive safe, sound and on time. In the course of my research into postal services and delivery options I’ve stumbled upon some brilliantly interesting tidbits about everything from long-delayed letters to priceless packages.
Here are eight of my favourites.
1. Royal Mail estimates that there are over 100,000 post boxes in the UK. Most of them are painted the iconic red colour, but in 2012, 83 post boxes were painted gold in the hometowns of Team GB’s gold medal winning Olympians and Paralympians.
2. In 2010 a letter in France was delivered to Seix, near Toulouse after being posted in Paris in 1790! The long (long) wait was caused by a small error in the address on the envelope which saw the letter spend 220 years in the sorting office of Saix, 108 miles away. In the time it took for the letter to arrive the French Revolution happened, the entire Napoleonic period came and went, and both World Wars took place.
3. In 1958, the Hope Diamond (modern value – $200-250 million dollars) was sent to the Smithsonian via USPS in a plain brown box. Postage cost $145.29 and, unsurprisingly, most of that was insurance!
4. In Japan you can pay for a premium postal service that takes ten years to deliver your letter. The service is often used by people sending “heartful” messages to their family, friends and even their future selves.
5. As of 2011 there were 154,866 post offices in India, the most of any country in the world. India is also home to the highest post office in the world. Hikkim (pin code 172114) is located at 15,500 feet.
6. The longest journey a piece of post in the UK can take is from the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall to the Isle of Unst in the Shetland Islands. The 860 mile journey requires a soon to be well-travelled letter to take trips in vans, planes, a helicopter, and a ferry.
7. Since 2001 the German post office has been offering posties training in dog psychology. This might be because according to official figures 3,000 postman a year are bitten by dogs in Germany: resulting in 2,255 pairs of torn trousers.
8. In 1916 a businessman named William H. Coltharp decided to construct a new bank in Vernal, Utah. He wanted only the best bricks from the local area for his new business and decided to have those bricks sent 173 miles from the Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company. All 80,000 of them – through the post.