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Don’t They Teach Addressing Letters In School Anymore?

, , , , | Working | August 5, 2022

For a while, I used to sort out the mail for a big company that outsourced its mailroom to my employer. Due to downsizing, the mailroom had even been moved to our building — which wasn’t even in the same town as their head office, mind you!

A very interesting experience in those days were letters that were not specifically addressed to departments, but to employees in person. Naturally, this happens, but contrary to my predecessor, who had been doing their mail for nearly forty years, I had no clue where most of these people worked.

Luckily, [Predecessor] had not always known, either, and had taught me the way to find out: look it up in the staff guide on their intranet network. So I did. 

Obviously, that did not necessarily help. Firstly, people tend to neglect to update their profiles. Quite often, I found profiles claiming the employee in question worked in a building that had been closed off and sold a few years ago, due to… downsizing. Thankfully, the courier often just called the head office reception, where his wife worked, who would often know better.

Even worse is when someone sent in a letter addressed to someone with a quite common surname, without adding any further information, like, y’know, a first name or something. Imagine getting a letter addressed to “Mr. Smith,” without any first name, initials, or a department. Good luck finding out for whom the letter is meant.

At some point, I was so done with this that I simply left the letter for “Mr. Smith” for the courier to find, with a post-it on which I wrote: “Which one of the literally dozens by that name?” Obviously, he and his wife had no way to find out, either. At least, he took my (quite passive-aggressive) note in good humour. When I came back, he had written under it: “Whatever you feel like. :)”

Please address your letters properly, folks — especially when you send them to a big corporation with hundreds if not thousands of employees.

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