Talk:Post-office box

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Comments on recent edits[edit]

Handedness: Where is this true? I've never seen it in the United States.

Naming of PO boxes: Do you have a primary reference for this? 11:17, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Naming and Handedness[edit]

I did read somewhere that early telephone exchanges were labelled with names. Don't ask me to quote the source. This does seem reasonable since names are intuitive and WYSIWYG. However as the the number of lines (or PO Boxes) increases, names become clumsy.

  • names are variable length while numbers are the minimum length.
  • Errors are likely to occur with similar names - J. Smith and J. Smyth.
  • after a while, names will get added out of order - you cannot rewire the exchange just to get the names in order.
  • As subscribers change and the exchange gets full, with ad hoc extensions, the naming scheme is likely to get chaotic.
  • numbers are arbitrary, and can be allocated without reference to any alphabetic order.

As for handedness, some site inspections might be in order to see which handedness is more common. Lets do some research!

  • since the po box holder need only access the one box, it doesn't matter which handedness is use, because after a while, the holder will recognize their box automatically.
  • PO worker would probably prefer a left-to-write ordering, since this matches the way one writes.
  • In the few countries with right-to-left writing, they might prefer otherwise.
  • A numbering scheme for PO boxes using a grid pattern is not necessarily a good idea if you are short of numbers.

In this country, the telegraphs, telephones and the postal system were until recently run from by same government organisation (Postmmaster-General's Department or PMG), and there is likely to have been some cross-fertilisation of ideas between the two. The US is probably one of the few countries where the telephones, telegraphs and post offices are and have always been separate.

Tabletop 12:08, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

The use of names for early telephone numbers is pretty well known, but what does that have to do with PO boxes? 00:11, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
In some countries, the postal and telephone services were part of the same organisation, and often in the same building.
What does that prove about the naming/numbering of PO boxes? Please provide sources. Thanks. Doctor Whom 16:33, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Numbering of boxes at X[edit]

  • The boxes at X are numbered left to right as the customer sees them.
  • The boxes are in ten rows from top to bottom.
  • Two numbering systems are in force, as the boxes are not all of the same age.
  • The boxes are of three sizes, all of the same height, but of different widths.
  • The widths are
    • 3.0 units wide so 1 box in a group made of large boxes.
    • 1.5 units wide so 2 boxes in a group made of medium boxes.
    • 1.0 units wide so 3 boxes in a group made of small boxes.

In format A, the boxes appear to be numbered in groups of 30, which could be as many as 30 small boxes or as few as 10 large boxes.

The groups might be numbered 1-30, 31-60, 61-90, 91-120, increasing by 30 for each group. 30 seems to be a reasonable easy number for mental arithmetic.

The first group is numbered as the boxholder sees them:

  • 1st row: 1, 2, 3
  • 2nd row: 4, 5, 6
  • 3rd row: 7 ...... a large box, so 7 and 8 are not used.
  • 4th row: 10, 11, 12
  • 5th row: 13, 14 ..... two medium boxes, so 15 not used.
  • 6th row: 16, 17, 18
  • 7th row: 19, 20, 21
  • 8th row: 22, 23, ..... two medium boxes, so 24 not used.
  • 9th row: 25, 26, 27
  • 10th row: 28, 29, 30.

The numbering scheme allows for large, medium and small boxes to be swapped without having to renumber the whole wall.

In format B, the top box in each column is given a colum number times 10 plus 1 ( 10xN+1) and the boxes in each column are numbered with the addition of the row number.

  • Thus the 68th column would be number 681, 682, 683, 684 ... 689, 690.
  • Where large and medium boxes are fitted, numbers would be omitted.

Tabletop 10:43, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Rest of the world?[edit]

This article is way too US-centric. Many people in the world use PO Boxes because that's they only way they can get their mail!Quiensabe 00:57, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Way too US-centric? Given the amount of Australian content, that's debatable. As for the argument, "Many people in the world use PO Boxes because that's they only way they can get their mail," what does that have to do with whether the article is US-centric? The US isn't the only country in the world with home mail delivery. Doctor Whom 22:02, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Nobody was suggesting that the US was the only country with home mail delivery. My point was that people in the Middle East and Africa have different reasons for using PO Boxes from people in developed countries. Quiensabe 14:20, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

There is another point which may only applay in america that they are locked boxes, I work in a post office and they simply have plastic slots.

In Australia they have them, but they're called Locked Bags. Quiensabe 14:20, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

citation for rural areas[edit]

"In some rural areas of countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia, mail is not delivered, or is delivered as rarely as three days per week [citation needed]"

I know they don't deliver in some areas of the US because I have a PO Box at one of them. If you look at [1] they have Fee Group E, in the fine print it says PO Boxes are free for these people because they don't offer delivery services. I don't know about the part where it is delivered as little as three days though so i will take that out along with the [citation needed]

How does this effect the ability of people to get a passport?


what are the requirements of opening a pobox in the u.s.? i am an american overseas, and interested in opening a pobox so that i can send all my stuff back. since i dont have any living arrangements for when i return, i need to have my stuff sent back to a po box so i can get things sorted. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:48, 23 December 2006 (UTC).

ACLU Position[edit]

"These practices has been criticized..." is found in the article. Is this really how it's supposed to appear or is it an error? -- 22:51, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

How does this work for rural American? Do Alaska, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have rural route systems and are there areas where rural residents do not have mail delivery or a phisical adress.

I don't know about the 4 states you mention, but as recently as the early 1990's in Tuba City, AZ, (with a population of about 10,000) there was no home delivery. You had to rent a PO box in order to get mail. Wschart (talk) 02:41, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Australia, PO Box rentals where there is no home delivery are given a discount. Tabletop (talk) 08:11, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Typical UK!!![edit]

I have been living in the UK for many years. In shops, many items don't even have price tags, out of sheer carelessness. The Royal Mail link is exactly the same - no price for PO Box services! ALL of the other web links give prices. 21:17, 21 May 2007 (UTC)Nation of Binge Drinkers

From memory it is about £53/year for a personal PO box. Perhaps a large business has to pay more but I am not sure. Rugxulo (talk) 21:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

which style is correct?[edit]

which style is correct?

  • "PO Box"
  • "PO box"
  • "P.O. Box"
  • "P.O. box"

(the swiss ad agency in charge of my business cards doesn't know...) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:16, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

or maybe just

  • "Locked Bag" is also possible

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When were rates uniform?[edit]

Based on, it looks like the rates have always been stated nationally by the service (unless this ended in 1970) Galacticheart (talk) 01:52, 15 May 2017 (UTC)