We do not get mail in Costa Rica.

We do not send mail in Costa Rica.

This is a conceptual model that could have saved the US billions last year in cost overruns at USPS. Sometimes it is the simple ideas that count.

A new gringa in town had some meds mailed to them from "up north" and they had not arrived in a couple of weeks. "It was mailed in a first class envelope," she exclaimed! I am presuming she believed that "first class envelope" had some meaning in a country that doesn't use mail.

Banana Delivery

I suggested (though too late to be of any real service) on our local message board, "personally I would not send anything important or unimportant by mail. And I have asked nobody send me anything by any express service e.g. Fedex as the extrication process is beyond my tolerance levels."

I'll get to that another day. Or at least why it is I have a peculiar response to the statement, "Fedex has a package for you."

I do like the idea that Costa Rica has a mail service modeled after normal mail services . . . you know "counters", "lines", "commemorative stamps" etc but there the resemblance to normalcy stops. It's like walking into a store front from 'Men in Black'. They look normal but what goes on behind the wall is from another planet.

Fire Truck, Guanacaste

A year before I discovered Kindle, I had subscribed to WIRED magazine knowing full well the vagaries of the Costa Rican postal service. I had presumed that with a real postal box and a real post office (here in Alajuela) and a magazine nobody locally could give a hoot about, I might have a chance. I was OK with the magazine being a month or two late as the likelihood of the technology I was about to read up on was likely to bypass Costa Rica anyway. 3 of 10 issues arrived at my PO Box that year. My wife and I discussed this at renewal time. Her patience with me was demonstrated by her actually agreeing to renewing the subscription - fortunately for me they invented the Kindle just in time.

The US Postal Service seems to have decided that the solution to their financial problems is to focus in part on increasing promotions for junk mail. It just goes to show you that our, near useless, postal service is less dysfunctional that that of the USPS.

Heck, could it be possible that Costa Rica is in fact a model of what the USPS could become years from now. When a tourist asks me "how is it possible to run a country without mail?"

"First," I reply, "let's run a test."

"OK," they say wondering what the mad innkeeper might propose next (as they already believe the previous conversation is bordering on the surreal).

I stop the next staffer walking by and ask, "when was the last time you sent a piece of mail?"

The answer is always, "never".

"So you see, I have definitively proven you do not need a postal service for a country to function. Ask anybody you meet the same question."

You can see more of how it works by clicking here (it ain't pretty but it kind of works).