Who thinks that random knowledge is useless? Not us! The US Postal Service is one of the oldest organizations in our country, and it has a ton of interesting history that most people aren’t aware of—until now! In the spirit of that history, we thought we’d share five fun facts about the US Postal Service that may or may not help you out the next time you find yourself at trivia night. Just remember: if you win any prize money, we expect a check for 10% in the mail! Just kidding…kind of.
1. USPS Has a Facility Dedicated to Deciphering Bad Handwriting
If you get annoyed when you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting, think how USPS workers must feel on a daily basis! They are constantly plagued by indecipherable hand-written mail, to the point where they established the Remote Encoding Center in Salt Like City. This facility is a last resort for unreadable mail. In it, roughly 1,000 workers dedicate their days to decoding illegible handwriting using technology and good old fashioned eyesight.
2. One Route in the United States Still Uses Mules to Deliver Mail
While mules and horses used to be one of the most popular transportation methods USPS used, those days are all but gone now. However, there’s still one mule route that’s going strong! True story. USPS still uses mules to deliver mail to residents of Supai, Arizona, an isolated town at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Supai is obviously a tough place to reach. Other than by mule, the only two other ways to get there are via helicopter and rafting down the Colorado river. The mules’ journey takes about three hours to get down to the town, then five hours to climb back up. Talk about stamina!
3. Megan Brennan is the First Female Postmaster General
Megan Brennan is USPS’ current Postmaster General, and she is the first female to ever hold this esteemed position. This is a very impressive feat, and USPS compensates her quite well for her hard work. In fact, the position of Postmaster General earns the second-highest salary in the entire US Government, right behind the President of the United States!
4. Mailmen Really Do Get Attacked by Dogs
The urban legends are true: dogs do not like the mailman. In fact, USPS reports an estimated average of 6,000 dog attacks on letter carriers each year! While this might seem a bit funny at first, the Postal Service places their employees’ safety at top priority. In fact, USPS reserves the right to have residents pick up their mail at their local post office if a letter carrier feels unsafe or threatened.
5. USPS Workers Traveled 1.4 Billion Miles in 2018
In fiscal year 2018, postal workers traveled a total of 1.4 BILLION miles to deliver our mail and parcels! That number is equal to 56,220 laps around the Earth, 5,861 trips to the moon, and roughly 8 trips to the sun. This is even more impressive when you consider that it’s mostly members of the baby boomer generation delivering mail. Join us in giving all of the hard-working letter carriers a round of applause! Or, you could just smile and say “thank you” the next time you see your local letter carrier.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering: that enormous mailbox in the main photo is a wooden sculpture the town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania rolls out every year during the holidays! Hungry for some more random facts about the US Postal Service? Check out USPS’ blog post entitled Size and Scope.