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Two mailing address solutions we don't use but should


In America, we have not one but two ways that would be far easier to use for addressing, neither of which we use at all.

Of these two ways I'm about to mention, I know that the first one would never happen. But the second one could absolutely happen and could be used right now.

Method 1: GPS Coordinates

N28.0583 W82.2935. Those are the coordinates of a post office. You can punch those into Google Maps right now and see it.

Imagine for a moment if mailing addresses were that short where it would be just 12 or 13 digits. An example of a 13-digit would be N33.6846 W117.8322, which is another post office.

Every single location on this planet has coordinates that do not change. Not only does it show exactly where the location is, but any mail carrier could literally punch those coordinates into a navigation system directly to get the right location.

But, as I said above, this will never happen. Makes too much sense.

Method 2: ZIP+4

Zone Improvement Plan. That's what ZIP means. The +4 happened in 1983 and we've had it ever since.

33592-9700. That's the first post office mentioned above. 92623-0400 is the second one. Just 9 digits for each. It's the American equivalent of a postcode that other countries use. We have this and have had it for decades, yet can't use it to address letters or packages. And what I specifically mean by that is just the 9 digits and only those 9. No name, no street, no city/town, no state. Just the 9.

Those 9 digits tell everything the USPS or any other carrier needs to know. The first 5 numbers tell the carrier the state and city/town, and the last 4 state the exact building, house or box. It's all right there.

We should be able to address a letter or package in the United States just by ZIP+4 and nothing else, and should only have to use ZIP+4 for the return address as well. We don't.

If you feel adventurous and attempt to mail a letter or package with just ZIP+4, it won't work. Yet, if you mail a letter or package without the ZIP, many times the USPS will accept that (not that I recommend it).

ZIP+4. It could make all mailing addresses super short and easy, but can't use it on its own. Google Maps doesn't care much for it either, because you can't search an address by ZIP+4 directly. Address, yes. Coordinates, yes. ZIP+4? Flat out no.

Just plain sad.


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