Sorting Through Mail Box Confusion

9 years 9 months 1 week ago June 20, 2007 Jun 20, 2007 Wednesday, June 20 2007 Wednesday, June 20, 2007 10:14:41 PM CDT in News

In today's world we live for convenience--drive through food chains, internet banking, and drop-off mailboxes.

But if you've dropped your mail off in the blue boxes around Columbia lately, you may have noticed a change.

The boxes that were once clearly marked, now say nothing at all, leaving some customers confused.

The mailboxes on the corner of Fifth and Walnut never get a break.

Car after car pulls up and drops off their goodies leaving the boxes behind without a second glance.

But where the boxes once clearly said "in town" or "out of town" now are blank, leaving every box to look the same and leaving some customers wondering about the sorting process.

The days of hand sorting are over.

Across town at the United States Postal Service, Loretta Tolliver was nice enough to show us why there is no longer a need for different boxes.

"Once the mail comes into the building whether it's in town or out of town it all gets dumped into here which is our advance facer cancel system which actually tells the mail where to go from here," Tolliver said.

Big words and a big machine, but a relatively simple process.

Once the mail is picked up from the boxes around town, its sorted by machine to its final destination, much quicker than by hand.

"The two machines can process up to 60,000 pieces an hour, so there's no need for a man to sort those pieces any longer," Tolliver said.

The mail then moves to the delivery bar code server.

"All of the mail that can be processed through the dbcs that mail can be processed all the way to the carrier so that way it gets to the post offices quicker with more accuracy and efficiency and it is delivered timely," Tolliver said.

After going through the jogger where the mail is separated and sorted through the system, it automatically ends up in the destined zip code area where the employee simply stacks it in a bin and sends it on its way making a job that was once very timely now fly by.

"Automation is incredible, it has allowed us to move more mail through our facility, it helps the customers put their mail into the system without sorting it and to also get it in a timely manner," Tolliver said.

Now you no longer need to feel bad about making the mail man sort your mail because as Tolliver says, it actually makes their job a little easier.

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