Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Idea for the USPS: personal zip codes

I moved in 2010, and didn't send out change-of-address cards, so all our holiday cards this year were delayed by a week as they went through the mail forwarding process. And a dozen or so of the cards we sent out got returned, with the mail forwarding time expired.

This got me thinking again about an idea I've considered before: If we can all have our own unique personal cellphone number and email address, why can't we all have our own unique lifetime ZIP code?

Then when you address an envelope, you wouldn't need to include the street address, city, and state. Just put the name (that too would be optional, really) and the 9- or 10- digit zip code.

Nine digits gives you 999,999,999 addresses, which is over three times the number of people in the US. So 9 digits ought to cover it, and 10 would let you cover the entire population of the Earth.

For the US version, each person would register with the USPS where mail to their zip code ought to get directed. If you move, you wouldn't need to tell your bank, your friends, and all the periodicals you subscribe to. Just tell the USPS the new place where to direct your mail.

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