Mail for “or current resident” is not for me


I have this thing about my address.

It bugs me, a lot—no, A LOT—when I get something in the mail that suggests a person or company, that has nothing to do with my address, knows more about it than I do. An extension of this idea is when someone pretends to know the occupants, offers an extension in case they don’t know the occupants, and really only cares about the owner of the wallets inside.

Let’s start with the part that doesn’t bother me.

A ton of people get my address wrong. The street name is two separate words. You know how weathervane is one word, but if I spaced it out as weather vane you probably wouldn’t question it? It’s like that.

If you check out the signs at the end of the roads, the street is two words. GPS units… marked as two words. But we consistently get mail… handwritten and automated-system-generated… with the street spelled out as one word. Information from the town and county and so on, two words. Post Office, they use one.

Could be that I live at 79 Weathervane Circle or 79 Weather Vane Circle, and for the most part you’d address my birthday card, drop in the mail, and rest comfortably that it was on the way to me without a concern. (And, thank you. Loved it. Very funny.)

And, with evidence piling up on both sides, I don’t care. I use two. I tell people two. That’s what the street signs say, and if I’m giving you directions, that’s what you’re going to be looking to find. (As long as the birthday card arrives, I’m good. It’s the thought that counts.)

Further along the road of address arguments, it bothers me when mail arrives with the nine-digit zip code in place. It’s not the extra four numbers that bothers me in any way. Those are fine. Instead, consider things like signing up for something. Chances are really good you never gave them a nine-digit zip code. You provided five. But the mail arrives with nine, and they seem to know more about you than you do. I didn’t tell some company more than a thousand miles away the full run of nine digits. I gave them five when I ordered the shirt or whatever. Just five. But there they go, putting nine digits in place.

I hear you. Got it. This isn’t a big deal. Pet peeve territory, and hardly worth that. So, let’s move along to irritant number two.

Got an envelope today in the mail. Used the name of the previous owner for the address. A previous owner that moved years ago. But that wasn’t all. This wasn’t something to mark as unable to forward or no longer at this address. The name line continued on…

…or current resident

Look, if you want me to frequent your business… if you want to send me some coupons… if you want to announce your grand opening… all of that is fine and wonderful. Heck, address the envelope to “Current Resident” only and I’m fine with the idea. But when you try to personalize it, miss the person named by multiple years… well… yeah. You can also reverse it. Get my name right, but add in the current resident part just in case I moved and someone else is holding it. Either way, it sure makes me feel appreciated and valued.

(And yes, almost all of the people that set up those targeted mailing lists not only end up with the) wrong name on the envelope, but use the nine-digit zip code as well.

Am I taking too much from all of this? Probably. And to be fair, more often than not I don’t even look at the address portion. I do the traditional scan, sort by bills and personal and junk, and pay attention only later. It’s important if I owe money, happen to be expecting a package, or want to enjoy a card. All good things. But junk mail is junk mail. By and large, not important.

From customer relations materials, there comes this point where people are taught that remembering names is a way of expressing value. It conveys the message that the customer is important to you. And in the case of mail, adding in those extra words as a disclaimer of sorts misses the mark.

It’s a weird dynamic, I suppose. Kind of like the legendary days of old with someone standing on the door wondering if the head of the household was home. It’s not the intention to offend or upset. And like I said, I probably have tossed plenty of mail without even noticing the named recipient. But it seems so easily correctable. (And far less crazy.)


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