You Have (Even More) Junk Mail!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Lifehacker reports that the U.S. Post Office is rolling out a service they call "Informed DeliveryTM" (Or is it "Informed Delivery®"?):

The service, called Informed Delivery, scans your mail then emails you a black and white scan of that mail. The USPS has been scanning envelopes for a while because it's how their sorting equipment works, and now they're just making those scans available to its consumers.
Delving further reveals that this will just be letter-sized items, and that you will be able to, "Get access to interactive content provided by mailers." No surprise there: The service, which I will admit has advantages, comes free of charge.

That said, any loyal reader who gets a vague feeling of déjà vu might recall a similar, but vastly superior service that had been on offer a few years ago:
[The founders of Outbox] wanted to allow consumers to digitize all of their postal mail so that individuals could get rid of junk mail, keep important things organized and never have to go out to their mailbox again. They set out to "redefine a long cherished but broken medium of communication: postal mail." Customers would opt-in for $5 a month with "Outbox" to have their mail redirected, opened, scanned and available online or through a phone app. Consumers could then click on a particular scanned letter and ask that it be physically delivered, or that certain types of letters not be opened (e.g., bills etc.). [bold added]
Do note especially that, not only will you continue being inundated with junk mail if you sign up for this new service, but that you will also have access to its digital twin, "interactive content." That's me whistling through my teeth sarcastically. We all know what that "interactive content" will be.

And don't forget that the Post Office killed Outbox, despite the founders approaching the Postmaster General with the idea of improving the bottom line of the Post Office itself.

My closing remark from 2014 bears repeating:
So if -- even in this day and age of [technological] marvels -- the idea of being able to go through your mail on your smart phone sounds like the stuff of science fiction, you now know why. That -- along with your money -- is what the government took away from you. In return, you get what sounds like a juvenile prank: a pile of trash delivered to your home every day that you have to rummage through, in case something important is buried inside.
The only real change is that there is a new twist to this prank: When the Post Office mis-delivers your important mail, you'll have "informed delivery" to thank for going through the pile three or four more times because you "know" it's there.

-- CAV

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