Delivery/Registery Failure

Assuming that addresses are copied correctly and proper postage is provided, what are some of the reasons why postcards are never delivered/registered?

As a Canadian postcrosser, I can attribute Canada Post halting delivery to Belarus and Russia in 2022, and logistical problems connected to China and Ukraine, so many of those postcards travelling to those countries have expired or are close to expiration as in the case for postcards travelling from Canada to Ukraine.

But I’m noticing a few postcards destined for Germany and even the United States of America have expired.after 60 days. One common denominator to these postcards is that the majority of accounts are not regularly active.

Thoughts as to reasonable explanations, reasons?


On the optimistic side: even when addressed correctly, postal workers may deliver them to the wrong address. It’s not uncommon for me to get my neighbors mail, more commonly when I lived in an apartment but I still experience it living in a house. It the receiver does nothing to get your mail to you, it’s just gone.

Less optimistic: people may choose not to register a card for who knows why or completely forget to register a card (out of sight, out of mind?). And if you rarely get good mail, it might be easier to accidentally toss a postcard with the fliers.


i am not 100% sure but someone told me that there has been strikes (by the post office or the trains not sure) in germany. this might be the cause cards not being registered quickly.


There could be a variety of reasons. Some of the common ones are that students go back to school and forget. Also, some are short-timers and lose interest after a bit.


Sometimes mail just gets jammed in a machine and damaged beyond recognition, falls off a conveyor belt, blows out the window of the letter carrier’s car, or who knows what else :person_shrugging:

Mailboxes also get vandalized or have accidents (mine has been whisked away by a county snowplow more than once.)

A family member or roommate of the intended recipient might check the mailbox and forget to give them their mail. My mother was horrible about that when my sisters and I were growing up, like we would be eagerly awaiting a letter from a friend, and not until we mentioned that it had been so long we were getting worried, would she go, “Oh yeah, I think you got a letter a couple weeks ago, it must be somewhere in my car. . .” It drove us crazy!


FYI, I’ve no trouble sending or receiving mail to Ukraine in the last 2 months - it takes about 2 weeks coming & going.

Some mail does get lost & given staff shortages due to COVID & fewer airline flights, I would expect there would be more lost as a result.

I’ve had about 1/4 to 1/3 of my cards to the US expire in the last 6 to 8 months & there are 2 other reasons I think that’s happening beyond what I’ve already mentioned. And 95% of my US cards are active accounts.

First, USPS requirements for postcards state that the bottom 1/2 inch or so must be left blank for machine codes. When that doesn’t happen, I believe the cards get kicked out of the automated system & must be hand sorted. Given staffing shortages, I can see that would be a problem.

Second, even making sure that space is there, I’ve still had a lot of US expired cards & I get the feeling given the cuts to USPS that perhaps mail like postcards or anything that needs handsorting has been downgraded in terms of processing or delivery priority.

Some of your cards may be expired because of people not being active, but I think it’s more complicated than that looking at the whole picture.

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Postcard delivery in the U.S. is not being “downgraded.” They are first class mail,and are treated as such. They receive the exact same priority as first class letters.

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I don’t know about that - I really can’t account for why so many of my US postcards with active accounts have expired. Dejoy made major cuts to the USPS & nothing has really been reversed since Biden came in, so I think it’s a reasonable theory.

And these expired cards have increased since late last fall, before that time, I never had any problems with US cards arriving & arriving quickly. So something has changed within the system I think - it could also be staffing shortages too.

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There’s a discussion here that follows your line of inquiry. Lots of theories here.
It’s not ‘you’. There seem to be quite a few global mail logistics challenges/issues.

I so appreciate the sharing re bottom of card… guilty over here ;(
. I have 3 cards from 6-4 weeks to active members who still are travelling. Do they ever get to them regardless of delays?

It would make no logical sense to delay delivery of postcards. When people drop postcards and letters into postal collection tanks in the U.S., they are all taken together, and sorted together, by sorting machines. They are then, again, mechanically sorted into trays, where they are placed into “Delivery Point Sequence,” i.e., in delivery order, for every mail route. Virtually this entire sequence of events is automated, with little human intervention. It is thus easier, and more efficient, to sort and deliver postcards with the letters, as opposed to separating the cards from the mail stream for later delivery. It would be time consuming and inefficient to remove postcards from the mail stream. It would also be illegal, as it would be an intentional delay of the delivery of first class mail.


I agree, I was thinking more of mail that needs hand sorting. With staffing shortages or cuts, I could see that pile getting less attention.

In any case & whatever the reason, something has changed within the system.

It’s summer, folks are on vacation. Globally mail has slowed.

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Just a reminder, it’s not summer globally.


In those places where it’s summer, mail volume does typically go down, because people are on vacation. But mail delivery shouldn’t slow down, at least in the U.S., because only a certain quota of postal workers are allowed to take a vacation in any given week, throughout the year.

It does seem strange that Canada - US Mail is so troublesome since we are right next door. Not just postcards, but letter mail takes a strangely long time to arrive from Canada. Generally my postcards to and from Germany are faster than any mail to and from Canada.


Yes, absolutely, but I think that’s mostly because the German postal system is super efficient compared to ours in Canada & the US.

I wonder if part of the difference is that mail to Europe is airmail vs mostly truck transport in Canada & the US?

I currently have an official card traveling from Florida to Maryland for 15 days, not sure if it has arrived and just not registered or what… but I also have received a card in the not so distant past from California in 3 days, so who knows?

No one can really explain the mysteries of the US postal system! I delivered mail for 5 years and I think I left with more questions than answers. But, here’s a little bit of info that may help. They don’t machine cancel most 1st class mail anymore. That’s why you’re supposed to leave the bottom strip blank on the postcards. It’ll get a bar code there. If there’s not space for the bar code, there’s a strip of white tape added, and the bar code is printed on the strip. Best thing about that is the strip is like a post-it note and can easily be removed without damaging the card. If the card gets misdirected at some point, it gets a neon orange bar code, usually printed directly on the front of the card (not good for the postcard!). This orange bar code supercedes the first code in the system.
If I draw a name of someone who has a special interest in cancellation marks, I take the card to the post office and talk nice to the clerk to get a hand stamp!
However, none of this explains the slowdown in delivery. No one will take responsibility for that, but the post office has officially put out notice that packages will take one or more days longer, and just get over it, along with the constant postage increases.


Edit: Sorry, @samquito I guess I mixed up your comment with someone else who mentioned Deutsche Post, so I think it makes not much sense that I answered directly to you :see_no_evil:

The last strike at Deutsche Post was in February and affected only Postbank / post offices. Mail / sorting centers weren’t on strike.
And the last strike at Deutsche Bahn freight traffic was almost a year ago. And as Deutsche Post is just planning to transport mail via train (so far only parcels ect. through DHL) I think also that had no affect.

The main problem at Deutsche Post is that they have too few staff, especially in the summer months. For example, I have only received mail once a week for weeks now. My main postman is on holidays and the representation totally overwhelmed with “tons of mail”…
On the postmarks I can see that even domestic mail tooks around one week, 10 days ect. from time to time to get to me. But then it could happen that I get 50 cards and 10 letters on one day.

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