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How long does it take to get forwarded mail? Six months or infinity?


I was excited when I got my first mail forwarded by the U.S. Postal Service. Seemed like it took forever, but it was only a little under seven months. For the rest of it, infinity might be more accurate.

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

We moved in March, 2021. In fairness to the Postal Service, it was a whole mile away but on the same street. We set the forwarding up, weeks in advance, as instructed, and we even got confirmations soon thereafter. They had us in their system.

But in the end, it was more like the Barney Miller episode where the detectives find six years of unforwarded mail in postal workers apartment. Like where did it go?

Admittedly, I don’t get a lot of mail, and most of it is junk. But there’s always something. Spectrum’s endless cable TV offers, for one example. But there were important things, like checks, that never arrived. Of course, it was heartening that none of the checks got cashed elsewhere, but it’s no fun asking a business to send another either.

I can only guess what the Postal Service did with the rest of my six months of mail, even the junk mail, because once they coughed a single one up, it was junk. And past the six month period where they said they wouldn’t forward anymore.

Nostalgia threatened sending me back to an America where the mail arrived, always on time, we were the envy of the world and proud of it. But it ages me. Not many Americans remember that peak anymore.

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