Last Saturday, I sent out a large mailing for my scholarship organization, University Scholarships for South African Students, containing my annual appeal for funds. Today, a batch came back, with a bar code printed on the bottom of the envelope and then crossed out, but no indication of wrong address, or address moved, or addressee deceased [I get a distressing number of those, as my funders age and pass on to their reward.] One of the letters was sent to my sister. Now I know that her address is correct and that she has neither moved nor died, so I hopped in the car and went to the post office to find out what is going on.
It seems that the post office now has a machine that automatically reads zip codes and sorts the mail accordingly. It reads from the bottom of the envelope up. As it happens, this time around, the addresses I had merge printed onto the envelopes were situated a bit high up and, since I have a logo consisting of an outline of the continent of Africa above the return address, the machine was reading the return zip code rather than the addressee's zip code, and was returning the envelopes to me!
The only solution is to throw out the hundred or so envelopes I have remaining and have the print shop do a new run of envelopes on which the logo is moved below the return address. That will ensure that the addressee zip code is read first, and all will be well.
I think I would like to return to the time when you handed a letter to a chap on a pony and he rode off into the sunset to deliver it. All that remains of that storied era is the Wells Fargo bank branch across the street.