Can They Count You If They Can't Find You?

(I came across this photo here. Yes, it’s real.)

So we have yet to receive a census form.  This actually bothers me, not because I care so deeply about the census, but because I’m pretty sure it’s another indication of how the post office thinks we don’t exist.  Or rather, not that WE don’t exist, but that our ADDRESS doesn’t exist.  Pardon me while I bore you with some of the details.

1) We move into our new house last July.  As previously noted, the house is NEW, as in, there has never been anything at that address before.

2) We forward our mail.  Our mail is successfully forwarded for about two weeks.

3) Two weeks then pass in which we receive NO mail.  Not one single item.

4) I finally flag down the mail carrier to inquire about the mysterious lack of mail.  She says “oh, hmm, here is mail addressed to you, but the number is XXXX.”  This number is the address of our next door neighbor.

5) I go to the post office, where I am told to fill out another change of address form to change it from our neighbor’s address back to the correct one.  I do so.  The guy behind the counter says: “This is so weird, you’re the second person today who’s said their mail is getting forwarded to their neighbor.”

Since then, we’ve been getting mail regularly.  I’ve got to assume that most/all of it is getting to us.  But something odd is still happening, because many items that arrive still have our neighbor’s address printed on the label.  Anything with this problem is always computer-printed.  So, engineer that I am, I figure there must be some kind of database out there in which our address is incorrect.  Last month, I filled out yet another change of address form, but the mistakes continue.  I go back to the post office and speak to a supervisor for about 20 minutes, who was very nice and polite but ultimately incapable of doing anything because he doesn’t know why it’s happening in the first place.

But I’m not giving up, and I have a new clue!  Last week Jose went online to change the address on his pilot’s license online.  The attempt failed, but the FAA website gave us a very helpful error message:  “Address failed USPS Delivery Point Validation system check.”

Ah ha!

I look up “Delivery Point Validation” and what do you know?  It’s a database!  A database of address, like I assumed there must be!  Apparently some post office supervisors are not aware of such a thing, since the very nice and polite supervisor insisted that the sender must have the wrong address for us.  So now I get to figure out how to update the “Delivery Point Validation” system, and you can all stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.

And thus concludes my soliloquy on the post office.  I hope you enjoyed it.

1 Comment on Can They Count You If They Can't Find You?

  1. byron
    March 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm (6 years ago)

    I know how that goes. When I had my house built, it took almost two years to get FedEX and UPS to accept my address. It’d either get rejected on the web when I’d buy something, or they’d call me asking where my house was, adding 2 days to the delivery time. It was for sure a hassle though.


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