Lumpy Mail

When I was working in REALLY corporate America, no, not IBM, but a company with 2,000 employees here, another army of worker bees and soldier ants in Atlanta, and then 4 other large arms of the mother company…all figuring out how to sell different types of insurance, I first heard the term “lumpy mail.”

Lumpy mail is well, mail that’s kinda lumpy. In other words, it’s a sneaky way of doing direct mail campaign that makes the recipient of your marketing piece say, “Oh Wow! Look at this…I’ve got [real] mail!” A good example is the credit card offer that came to the house in today’s mail. A medium-sized Kraft envelope arrived, about 5×9″, with a strange heft to it that said enclosures. This was one credit card offer that didn’t get the immediate rip-in-half-without-opening treatment and I did just what those craft marketing whizzes wanted and looked inside the magic envelop. It didn’t take long to realize I’d been sucker-punched. The “squishiness” and light heft and crinkly sound of the envelop was merely a square of bubble wrap inserted for no apparent reason other than to dupe gullibles like myself, and the offer went into the “round file,” following an environmentally sad number of its less creative predecessors.

So that wasn’t that interesting. BUT…when I looked for more lumpy mail ideas, I found some really out of the ordinary mail thingies that if I found them in my mailbox, I would say, hey that’s cute, oh my how clever, and would have been pleased with being singled out for a marketing pitch.  Some of these include a coconut shell, sawed in half and sealed with a zipper; or fortune cookies in cute little Chinese food boxes, with customized fortunes.  I’ve heard you can also send a letter on a whole coconut (for those of you not from the tropics like us who have the trees and have to pick these things up off the ground in order to mow the grass, it’s about the size of a football)…like a really ungainly postcard…of course additional postage required.

Funny thing is, I always had this pipe dream of being a mail lady, driving one of those funky Jeeps with the steering wheel on the wrong side, delivering love letters and birthday cards, small packages, happily anticipated magazines, etc. This little reverie has me as an older version of our neighborhood mail lady, who is just what I aspire to in my dream. Suzie the mail lady, is fit, upbeat, loves dogs and her neighbors. She always has a smile on her face, some nice words of welcome if I have time for a brief chat, or a friendly wave of her hand when I’m in a rush. She even takes my nutty dog for a joy ride from our house to the next, which thrills my 12-year-old Spazhound to no end. I just hope that by the time I get ready for semi-retirement that there will still be lovely stamps and hand-written letters, at least once in a while, in my mailbag.

zip.gifLike a woman who has to get the last word in, I didn’t want to tuck my blog entry in for the night without at least one image (lucky you, you got 2!). I really wish I had a photo of Suzie to grace this page. But instead, I thought I’d just put the friendly face of Mr. Zip (I thought his name was Zippy, not sure why). When I first searched for him, I couldn’t find him. Mr. Zip was hiding from me. I finally was able to track him down, as he must have appeared in his heyday, a dashing young zippypinpostal deliverer who would brave any element. He was sitting on eBay for $29.99 starting bid or buy him now and forever have him grace your home for just $39.99. It would be a great one-of-a-kind gift for someone who’s really into postal lore or perhaps someone who’s retiring from (rather than to) a career of mail carrying.

I finally did catch up with the Mr. Zip as I remembered him (see first image above), in the height of his career, and much leaner from toting all that mail, but also more chipper and enthusiastic to my way of thinking). I also got a well-needed explanation from a friend of his about why he’d become rather reclusive as of late. According to Bill Straub, “Mr. ZIP carried out his duties, through rain and snow and gloom of night, until being forced into retirement in 1986…”

Now as I mentioned when I first started rambling on the mail topic, I’ve dunked my toes in the corporate world, and I don’t blame our dear Mr. Zip one iota for taking offense at being giving the boot by his lifelong employer at the tender young age of 40. Sounds like grounds for an age-discrimination lawsuit.

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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