Went to check my USPS po box today and this happened

Hello new to this forum. Willing everyone is doing well during these times.

I recently got a po box. The day I got the po box I wrote 2 letters (folks locked up) with the new address in my car and plugged in the address for another letter (international penpal).

I figure I’d check the mail in two weeks to see if I got anything. For kicks I even ordered a book online and a cassette tape from an artist to be sent there. Today (15 days later). I check my po box and see a blue plastic thing blocking where they are supposed to insert the mail. I reach in grab it and go to the front desk to see what’s going on.

I ask what’s going on with my po box and give them the blue thing I grabbed from ny po box. The lady who I ask this passes on the question to 2 other clerks who look me up, and verify that my po box is active and say there is no problem and Im good.

I sit in my car for about 10 mins and something tells me to get clarification on whether having that blue block in my po box would cause any mail coming for me to be sent back. The guy goes on about the po box being open only 2 weeks and it takes time for mail to be forwarded. I tell him that I had no mail forwarded there and had anticipated some mail. After a little back and forth he does say any mail that came for me would be turned around but then blows it off and doubts any mail would reach me that fast, mail circulating, contact the people who sent me mail blah blah blah.

I don’t mind mail not coming, people not responding, etc but I hope the two people on the inside didn’t write me and these letters bounced back.

What would you do in this scenario?

The two packages I will email about.

The international probably hasn’t arrived.

I’ll check the po box next Friday or on the weekend.


I don’t understand this story very well. Could it be that there was a blue thing to block your mailbox because it was new (newly rented by you) and no one had put anything inside yet? Like when you buy a new item and it’s packaged and wrapped until you start using it?
It’s true 2 weeks is quite short, especially in the USA nowadays with all the trouble your postal system had.

(P.S. I looked at the link when I first read the post, then I read it again to see if I could understand with a second read. I had initially thought “folks locked up” meant they were on lockdown! So I couldn’t understand who the people “on the inside” were, at first I wondered why clerks inside the post office would write. Then it all clicked in my mind! I think it’s not always easy to convey information to people who have less context and, despite thinking my English is pretty good, some expressions still take time to click in my mind).

Linguistic essay aside, I don’t know if this is that weird or just there is no mail yet for you and the blue thing was just still there because no mail needed to be put in the box. Or I am missing something.


I’d ask to speak with the Post Master or whomever heads the main branch of your county postal service.

This is a very good point. Was the ribbon on your side of the box or the side the Post Office uses. When I’ve had post boxes in the past, the box had a back entrance for workers to use and a front entrance for me to use.

Hi Elkoa. Im not the best writer and I did use a few phrases that might be “American”. “Locked up” and “On the inside” are referring to people in jail/prison.

You might be right but the blue thing looked like something they use so the postal workers on the other side know not to put mail in there. And the guy said po boxes with the blue thing have mail sent back. Maybe he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Ive never seen this before with other po boxes I have gotten.

It was on the side the post office uses. It wasnt a ribbon it was a plastic square that fit right on the box on their side.

Thanks for explaining this, I also didn’t understand it. :upside_down_face:

It sounds as if the plastic blockade is to prevent mail being put in the box (when it isn’t in use) - perhaps they forgot to unblock the box after you rented it?

If there isn’t any information on the post’s website and the staff in your post office can’t help, I’d use the contact form on the website. Or I’d write a letter to myself for a test. :wink:

Perhaps you should clarify in the title of your topic that it’s about a P.O. box in the USA, so that users who also got one are tempted to read it.


Speak with the postmaster about it. Also, you might try to send yourself a card or something to that address from somewhere across town, just to verify its is working.


Thanks for the edit suggestion.

Yeah I might do that.

I have a post office box in various cities since 1987. Rarely if any problems. I assume that when you insert your key, you are able to open your box? If so, then your box is active.

You should be aware that USPS mail handling is dreadfully slow. They never recovered from the fiasco that occurred in November. To illustrate how slow it is, I usually order my stamps from the USPS fulfillment center in Kansas City. I order online and within a week, my order is here. Fond memory. My last order took 2 1/2 weeks to get to me! One of the worst run outfits on Planet Earth.

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