Monday, November 12, 2007

The Postman Always Begs Twice

This is one of those rare days where American and Mexican holidays overlap. In America, today is Veterans Day, the day Americans set aside to feel sightly bad about doing fuck-all for the nation's vets. Here in Mexico, today is Mailman's Day, which we likewise plan to celebrate by averting our eyes and pretending our letter carrier doesn't exist.

This is pretty easy to do because - unlike American vets, who keep showing up in homeless shelters, police standoffs and Walter Reed Medical Center - our mailman keeps an exceedingly low profile. He accomplishes this mainly by never coming to our house with any mail. Thanks to the miracle of email, the only things we ever actually get in our mailbox are bills, and around here all the utilities companies employ couriers who hand-deliver them. They know that if they entrusted the Mexican Postal Service with the job, bills would show up weeks or months after the due date, causing everyone in the city to have their water, gas, electricity and phone service cut off 12 times a year. Even junk mail from private companies comes hand-delivered. We still throw it away without opening it, but somehow it's less offensive knowing that the company cared enough to hire a guy to walk their flier over to your house. (Occasionally these guys, not being professional mailmen, elect to toss the junk mail through our open window, which really sets a new standard for "intrusive advertising.")

In fact, having lived at this address for 11 months, I can say that the only letters our mailman - Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, apparently - has ever delivered to us are three postcards alerting us to the upcoming Mailman's Day, and the gratuity envelope pictured above. It seems you're supposed to hand it back to him directly. Obviously, you wouldn't want to put it in the mail.

1 comment:

'Eddie Willers' said...


Sepomex still uses donkeys to move the mail from one town to another - how else to explain the three weeks to get a letter from Tampico to Monterrey, but a 5 hour drive away?

The 'Mexpost' express service - which charges MN$200+ for a letter - just means they hit the donkey a bit harder.

Then I read in the local paper that Sepomex employs just 63 people in the whole of the Tampico municipality! An area of 800,000 population served by a postal system that operates with less than 70 people and no automated machinery.

Sheesh! No wonder the mail never gets anywhere!