Saturday, 25 July 2015

Window alarms, an offer I might have refused, and a greeting from the Big Easy: a [repeated] case of mistaken address-entity.

A funny thing happened on my doormat the other day. Well, I say 'funny' when it was actually both fairly mundane and - for one split-over-dramatising-second - a little unnerving but if I'd opened this post with the line: "A mundane thing happened to me the other day" would you still be reading? 

Thought not. Any way ...  

I came home to find two large, identical, white envelopes waiting for me, fatly indicating the promise of something more interesting than a pension statement inside. 

But what could it be and who could have sent it? So many exciting possibilities crossed my mind: 'happy mail', freebies, gifts, treats, surprises! Hurrah! But no. 

While the address was correct, right down to the post-code, the name wasn't. Which threw up its own questions: who would give someone their name but my address? Either they want this thing in the envelope or they don't! Which is it? 

And the second envelope was exactly the same. Their name. My address. 

The official return address label only deepened the mystery as it was for a local community trust about an hour away, with who I have no connection . So ... I opened one, just enough to lure out at least two answers: 
  1. what was inside: door and window alarms and 
  2. who had sent them: according to the compliments slip inside it was from Victim Support. 
Victim Support???

Which is when I had my melodramatic moment. "Someone's threatening me." I thought. 

"It's like a passive aggressive, slightly less gory, horse's head in the bed-type warning". 

And I wracked my brain to recall any offers I'd refused lately ... 

And after that ... I came to my senses, Googled for the number of the Victim Support office in the city on the return address and called them. Clearly - despite the unfathomable address mix-up - there was a woman in another city who was expecting to find those alarms on her doormat that morning. Someone who, unlike me, might not have been out of the house that day. Someone who was probably concerned about something more threatening than an unexpected parcel coming through her door.

While attempting to explain the situation to the woman from Victim Support on the other end of the phone she suggested that she put me through to my local office ... until I stressed that these packages definitely came from their office: and then, like me, she was baffled too. [Although, unlike me, I don't think she immediately leapt to any sinister Mafia-esque plotting]. 

She apologised for the inconvenience, I rejected the apology on the basis that it was the woman expecting the door alarms I was concerned about and not myself. [It was all very British]. 

Finally she said she'd chat to her admin the next day to try to resolve the mystery and asked me to pop them back in the post with a message on it. Which I did. The following day. 

Then ... the day after that ... what do you think I found waiting for my on my doormat? 


I set you up for that one. 

No, I didn't find "2 white envelopes filled with alarms with my own 'Return to Sender and here's why' essays scrawled over them" ... but I did find this: 
It's a postcard from New Orleans where the sender "thought I'd be traditional and send a card" stating that they're having an "amazing time" and who promises to call on their return. 

Which is all nice to hear isn't it? 

It's just that ... while I wish 'Jollie' a wonderful holiday in the Big Easy, and while I'm glad she's planning to call on her return ... 

... it would possibly mean more to me if I knew who she was.

Or indeed if I knew who 'Frankie and Edie' are ... because they're the complete strangers whose names sit atop my address on this latest piece of  mistaken address-entity! 

So what do I do with this one? 

I can't 'Return to Sender' as Jollie's coming home on the 2nd [ask me how I know] and anyway, she's obviously only on holiday there ... and so it won't get returned to her anyway. 

So I'm going to give it a fighting chance of reaching its intended recipients. I'm going to put it in an envelope, copy out their names and the address ... but this time rather than use our postcode [as Jollie has] I'll try the postcode of another street which has the same name as ours but which is about 20 minutes away and has a different code as it wouldn't be the first time we had mail intended for that address. 

And then ...

I'll sit back ... and wait ... and watch my doormat for its possible return! Because if it's not theirs ... they may well try the same approach, using our postcode and send it back to us!! 

I'll keep you posted ... 


If you're postally-inclined you might like to visit:
Now I'm handing this topic over to you ... 

Does this happen to you? Do you keep getting someone else's mail? Any mistaken address-entity tales to tell?

Unburden yourself in the comments, tell me all, share the frustrations, the funnies, the intrigue! 



  1. What a kind and thoughtful person you are to attempt to get all this misdirected post back to their rightful recipients :). (Others might just have popped them in the recycling). That New Orleans card is very jolly too! You tell a good story, Julie. (Though if you'd started with "Something mundane happened to me ..." I'd still have kept reading, knowing that whatever unfolded was likely to be interesting and witty!).

  2. We're always getting phone calls for Age Concern. We are one digit different in number and weirdly - at our old address - lived right over the road from them :P

  3. I get my neighbor's mail all the time. We both have the same number but different streets. The streets don't even sound the same.

  4. Quite mysterious mail you've been up to!

  5. yes we do keep getting wrong mail. We live on Queens Hill and the other house is on Queens Hill Crescent. Sometimes the last word gets its own space on the next line and then the letters come to us. Sometimes we get the visually challenged postman and our letters go to them. Once it was a 3' x'2'x1' polystyrene box of pies meant for me that was delivered into the carport of the other house and not discovered until three days later when the company that sent them asked the delivery company to describe the house and when they said it had a carport told them to get their act together because mine is a middle terrace. The poor people with the car port had some very stinky minted lamb pies to dispose of too.

  6. So many things to love about your post....! (As always)....really hoping all three items arrive to their intended 'wrongly delivered post' stories to tell, unfortunately...but Mum told me earlier today that she'd today received a letter from S that we'd sent in March 2014, which led me to wondering where on Earth it had been all that time!!! (which leads me to recall all the stories I *love* about when a long-lost letter arrives to its destination.....).....LOVED your post....! Thank you!

  7. Loved reading this. It made me laugh out loud! Sadly no post mix ups here. Hope they find their intended recipients.

  8. Loved this, Julie! We get Cattlemen's Association magazines all the time addressed to the mister who built the house we live in, raised his family and cattle here and who passed away about seven years ago. I have contemplated sending a note to them letting them know that he is no longer with us but the recycle bin is before I get to the back door ...
    Oh yes, we also receive a lot of mail addressed to 'current resident,' but I suppose everyone gets that!
    Anyway, it's always fun to read your posts, mundane or otherwise! 😊


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