Heather Roy

30 March 2018

A mailbox tells you a lot about its owner. It becomes obvious when delivering mail – or in my case flyers. Mailboxes, I’ve decided, are an excellent study in human psyche and behaviour.

Mailboxes and I have history. Delivering flyers (into mailboxes obviously) is a rite of passage in politics. Those interested in a political career start off by delivering flyers for their party. It’s an exercise in humility, which is quite a good thing for those with political aspirations. The next step is progressing to door knocking and handing over the flyer in person. This sorts the sheep out from the goats and not all pass the test. Those that do can go on to have good careers in politics. There are of course the few that parachute into prime positions in political parties without experiencing this particular rite of passage. My experience is that they often never quite grasp the subtleties of grass roots politics. But I digress …

I’ve been reacquainted with mailboxes again in the last few weeks because I’m selling my house privately and the marketing plan calls for the delivery of 5000 flyers. I’ve been hitting the streets each day between house viewings. I’d forgotten the mailbox frustrations. The new and well maintained are completely overshadowed by those that make delivery a nightmare – the broken, the rusty, those hidden in bushes, covered in spider webs and some just not able to be found at all. My respect for posties has been renewed.

Here’s my amateur, non-scientific psychological analysis of mailboxes and their owners;

Type of Mailbox Owner’s Personality Trait
Brand new with wide slot for letters Conscientious, helpful
Old but well maintained Dependable, humble
Old, wooden and freshly painted Debonair
Old and tatty – in need of replacement Stingy, Sad
Large (much larger than a mailbox needs to be) Extrovert, Confident
Metal, rusty with a hinge loose Frugal, Despondent
Painted, brightly coloured Imaginative, exuberant
Innovatively shaped (eg as an animal) Gregarious, creative
Full, mail and circulars not collected Thoughtless, Lazy
Full and contents completely soaked Unruly
Pole broken and box part sitting on the ground Improviser
No mailbox to be found Anti-authoritarian, optimistic
Mailbox obscured by foliage and difficult to find Shy
Mailbox positioned up a bank or tricky obstacles Adventurous, fearless
Mailbox with lid (plastic variety) Reliable, careful
Mailbox with tiny slot (for DLE sized letters only) Modest, introverted

We’re all supposed to have a mailbox and they should, according to NZ Post, meet certain criteria and be well positioned so posties can deliver mail to us easily.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in a lovely big family home in Karori, Wellington (my flyer has all the details!) you can view it on TradeMe – listing  #571258790.