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23 Things Your Mail Carrier Won’t Tell You

Postal workers from around the country reveal the secrets of their profession and why mail is still the country's best bargain.

white dog front doorLapina/Shutterstock

Maybe your dog won’t bite you...

But as a postal carrier, I'm less certain. In 2013, 5,500 of us were bitten, an average of 18 bites per delivery day. That’s why I wince when your Doberman comes flying out the door. These are the 11 shocking things your mail carrier knows about you.

red envelopePixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Remember this on Valentine’s Day:

It takes our machines longer to read addresses on red envelopes (especially if they’re written in colored ink). Rain, snow, sleet or shine, this is the definitive list of the weirdest things mailmen have seen.

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Why stand in line?

At usps.com, you can buy stamps, place a hold on your mail, change your address, and apply for passports. We even offer free package pickup and free flat-rate envelopes and boxes, all delivered right to your doorstep.

sign package mailESB Professional/Shutterstock

Media Mail is a bargain!

But most of you don’t know to ask for it. Sending ten pounds of books from New York City to San Francisco through Media Mail costs $7.43, compared with $19.95 for a Large Flat Rate Box. Besides books, use it to send manuscripts, DVDs, and CDs; just don’t include anything else in the package. Check out these surprising facts about the post office.

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We don’t get a penny of your tax dollars

Really.

StepanPopov/Shutterstock

UPS and FedEx charge you $10 or more ...

... if you mess up an address. Us? Not a cent.

stack envelopes mailPixel-Shot/Shutterstock

We put good-news mail on top

Paychecks, personal cards, letters—anything that looks like good news—I put those on top. Utility and credit card bills? They go under everything else. We can't just stop giving you bills altogether, but they can be a little less stressful. Just follow these 11 tips to save on every household bill.

mail truckcleanfotos/Shutterstock

Sorry if I seem like I’m in a hurry

But I’m under the gun: Our supervisors tell us when to leave, how many pieces of mail to deliver, and when we should aim to be back. Then some of us scan bar codes in mailboxes along our route so they can monitor our progress. Find out what ZIP code really stands for.

stamps mailjmrainbow/Shutterstock

Yes, we do have to buy our own stamps

But a lot of us carry them for customers who need them. If we don’t charge you, that’s because we like you.

ballpoint penJorge Alejandro Gonzalez/Shutterstock

Use a ballpoint pen

Ink from those felt tips runs in the rain.

View Slides 11-20
Originally Published in Reader's Digest