The United States Postal Service is an integral part of our daily lives. A whopping 421.4 million pieces of mail, on average, are processed each day. Despite the massive volume, not everything that’s mailed is on the approved list.
That’s because safety is a prime concern. The USPS doesn’t want its employees or customers getting hurt by an explosive device or poisonous gas. And if someone does because you sent something you shouldn’t have, get ready for some ramifications.
“Anyone who mails, or causes to be mailed, a nonmailable or improperly packaged hazardous material can be subject to legal penalties,” says USPS spokesman David Coleman. “The Postal Service is committed to the safety and security of its employees, its customers, and its transportation networks and will remain vigilant in safeguarding the mail stream against any article that might pose a hazard to health, safety, property, or the environment.”
So what constitutes a risk to the mail system? Turns out, a lot of things, including the following eight.
Gifting a bottle of wine, liquor or beer can be a nice way to show gratitude, but don’t try to send it through the mail. Any taxable intoxicating liquors with an alcoholic content of 0.5 percent or more are banned.
The same goes for FedEx and UPS. Unless you’re a licensed shipper with a signed contract with UPS or FedEx, you can’t ship spirits. Instead, purchase from a physical or online retailer, or join a beer and wine club, and have your gift shipped by the business to your loved one.
Did You Know …
The idea of shipping a person through the mail may seem downright ridiculous, but that wasn’t always the case. In July 1915, letter carrier Charles Hayes of Tarkio, Missouri, carried a child by postal mail to her grandmother’s house on the same route. The cost for this precious cargo back then: 10 cents. Five years later, postal officials barred the delivery of human cargo.
Dogs, cats and certain other domesticated pets can’t be shipped via the mail, for obvious reasons: They would need to be tended to, including given food and water, during transit. Snakes, turtles and poisonous reptiles are also on the do-not-mail list. The post office will let you send other small cold-blooded animals that are deemed harmless, such as baby alligators, frogs and lizards. Chickens, ducks and other poultry are also allowed, as are bees, worms and goldfish, though you need to follow specific rules to ship them. Though UPS and FedEx won’t ship your furry friend either, there are shipping and transportation companies that specialize in getting your pet to its destination via road or air transport.