In Which We Kill The Messenger.
It started off as an innocent enough joke. We’d heard of some folks mailing unwrapped bananas to their friends, and we wanted to see what kinds of silly things we could get away with mailing ourselves. But then we ended up learning a lot of valuable information during the life of this column as we tried to push the boundaries of what could pass through the U.S. Postal System these days.
It turned out to be so much easier to get things sent from one location in Dallas to another that it really became more of a challenge to think of things that we thought actually might not make it back. But, week after week, items like used syringes, synthetic urine, a bag of human hair and an old McDonald’s cheeseburger continued to find their way back to our mailbox time after time.
Still, we don’t feel like Can You Mail It? was a complete waste of our time. Like I said, we learned a lot. To wit: You don’t really need to worry all that much about what kind of envelopes or packages you select when mailing an object. In fact, we noticed a pattern that items packaged in clear plastic baggies or mailed with no packaging at all, often came back in better shape than those in which we used more standard shipping methods.
More recently, we also discovered that most of the time when you use a plastic baggie as your envelope, your stamps often don’t get voided. So, as long as you and your pen pal remember to keep sending back each other’s baggies, you’ll never have to buy stamps again.
But, really, the overall trend we’ve noticed is that the USPS just doesn’t really give a fuck anymore — which is awesome if you enjoy mailing things like used condoms to unsuspecting friends.
So, for our final edition of Can You Mail It?, we decided to blatantly break the rules.
In week one of this column, we did our research, finding all the items the USPS explicitly does not allow to be mailed.
Among the items on that no-fly list: alcohol; drugs; firearms; tobacco; human remains; chemically, biologically or radioactively hazardous materials; perfumes; nail polish; flea collars or flea sprays; aerosols; bleach; pool chemicals; paints; matches; batteries; fuels or gasoline; airbags; dry ice: mercury thermometers; cleaning supplies; items previously containing fuel; glues; and fireworks.
So we grabbed a couple of AA batteries, threw them into a clear plastic baggie so as not to disguise our intentions even in the least, and bid them adieu. We fully expected to never see them again.
And yet, four days later, there they were, sitting in our mailbox, officially killing the last ounce of fun we tried to squeeze out of this concept.
A few more running totals before we turn the lights off on Can You Mail It? for good: Not including the original condom we tried mailing (the only item that didn’t make it back to us in during the run of this column, even though we later mailed one successfully) the other 14 items we sent took a total of 46 days to return, and cost us $24.30 in postage.
Worth every penny, we say. Especially this last one.
Item: Two AA batteries in a Ziploc freezer bag.
Estimated Value: $1
Cost of Postage: $0.90 (or free, as noted in last week’s post).
Method: We put the batteries into a clear Ziploc freezer bag, then wrote the address on the outside of the bag in a Sharpie.
Days to Deliver: Four.
Condition Upon Arrival: After three straight weeks of using the same Ziploc baggie, the address was finally starting to fade, but other than that our package was in pretty great shape.
Final “Can You Mail It?” Success Rate: 93.33 percent.