Ever wondered about those places in movies where the hero picks up his mail in what doesn’t seem to be a post office? Or when he sends it off care of some obscure address that obviously isn’t his own? I’ve never had the opportunity to use a mail drop service, and until today didn’t even realise there were such things in New Zealand. I only came across the NZ addresses when I was checking out a US-based service that’s a directory of mail forwarding, mailboxes and remailing services. For once I could be a person with a reason to post a parcel to a NZ address that isn’t my own, and know where to find such a place. Equally, of course, I could post it to Bulgaria, Liechtenstein, Colombia, or the Seychelles, or dozens of addresses in the States. (The problem then would be to go and pick the mysterious parcel up, but that’s another issue.)
So what is a maildrop service? It’s a secure address, recognised by the postal service, where you can rent a box and effectively use it as postal address. Sometimes it’s an office that will either hold your mail, or forward it on elsewhere. (Convenient if you’re being hounded by someone and you don’t want them to know where the secret map has been stored. You know the kind of thing.) Of course you don’t have to be a man/woman on the run: you can be an ordinary person who just doesn’t happen to have a proper mailbox at the moment, or is away from home a lot, or has a nosy neighbour who insists on checking out your letterbox before you get home.
If only so many of the villains in movies used this system: how much more difficult they’d make it for the heroes! LOL