Approximately 65 billion parcels were transported worldwide in 2016. The United States had the largest share, with 31 billion units shipped in that year.
The parcel delivery industry caters to some of our most needed goods. However, while it can be a force for good, it is at times used to send unusual things by mischievous people.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that many would want to test the system to its limits as is human nature.
If you think that a chameleon is the craziest thing ever sent through the mail, you’re wrong. Here are some instances of unusual things sent by land, sea, or air that caused quite the stir.
A Tree Trunk with a Horse Shoe
The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not annual strange mail contest is arguably the one event that brings together a lot of the strangest things sent by mail.
During the competition, participants are asked to send in the strangest items by mail they can conceive of without breaking the main rules. These are:
● Any item sent can’t be packaged in a box, wrapped in any way, or placed in an envelope
● The address and postage be placed directly on the item
Suffice it to say, there were many eyebrow-raising items turned in. From prosthetic arms to animal skulls, the judges saw it all.
The winning article in 2014 was a tree stump sent in that had a horseshoe embedded in it. The contestant who submitted it had cut a 75-year-old tree and discovered the horseshoe inside.
The tree stump was the heaviest item and cost $30.45 to ship. It came from North California to the Orlando submission center.
If you ever want to send a 75-year-old tree stump or something as precious, ensure that you only use the best ltl carrier to ensure that your item gets safety to its destination.
Craziest Thing Ever: Human Beings
In 1849 a slave named Henry ‘Box’ Brown used the postal service to gain his freedom in a most intriguing plot.
It all began one night as Henry was asleep. He dreamt of mailing himself to a place where there were no slaves, and when he woke up, he began figuring it out.
He managed to convince a local shopkeeper to place him in a box and mail him up north. Henry figured that with some biscuits and water, he could survive the trip to freedom.
So with $86 in hand, he managed to put the plan together. An abolitionist in Philadelphia agreed to receive the box when it got to its destination.
On March 23rd, Henry set off in a box, and the trip took him 27 hours. He was transported via a wagon, railroad, a steamboat and back again.
At times the box would turn upside down, but Henry would manage to keep still so as to not be discovered.
He finally arrived in Philadelphia on March 24th and stepped out of the box a free man.
Henry is not the only case of a human being transported through freight. In fact, in the early 20th-century, anything that was under 50 pounds could be sent by parcel post.
Five-year-old May Pierstorff was sent to her grandmother by post in 1941. When the parents did the math, they found that it was cheaper to send her via parcel post than buy her fare.
Her parents clipped 53 cents to her coat and off she went. The postmaster delivered the girl to her grandmother when she arrived and six years later sending human beings by post was outlawed.
If you think human beings sent via post is the weirdest thing ever to occur in the courier world then you’re in for a surprise.
Back in 1895, a New York Times article revealed that a New York post office worker saw diseases coming in the mail at times.
Miss Daisy James noted that physicians sent diseases to the national Health Board by post. Some of these diseases at the time included Smallpox, Diptheria, and Scarlet Fever.
These conditions, Miss Daisy explained, were always carefully packed and labeled to avoid any mishap.
In 1916 an ambitious entrepreneur by the name William H. Coltharp took the concept of cheap shipping to another level.
Mr. Coltharp wanted to build a bank in Vernal, Utah. While he couldn’t send a whole building wall by wall through mail he realized that he could still use the service to his advantage.
His desire while constructing the bank was to use the best bricks in the area. As a result, he ended up sending the bricks from Salt Lake Pressed Brick Company to Vernal. The total number of bricks he would eventually send was 80,000.
William’s strategy was to send the bricks in separate and carefully packed crates weighing less than the 50-pound limit. He would ship around 40 crates at a go, and each shipment would be approximately one ton in total.
Although it was cheaper for him, the U.S Postal Service did not find this amusing. Therefore, it changed the rules so that no customer could send more than 200-pounds of goods per day.
When the holidays and other special occasions come around, people tend to send gifts to their loved ones. While many send cards and other traditional items, some people fancy sending a potato.
Even though some people might be flabbergasted at it, there are companies that exist to enable you to send a potato to a recipient of your choice.
These firms will write your message on the potato’s skin and send it as is after attaching postage to it. If that’s not enough, you have an option to attach googly eyes on it as well.
Since it is a gift like any other you can have it wrapped in fancy packaging before it goes out to your recipient.
Others, in a bid to differentiate themselves, will print the face of your recipient on the potato’s skin.
Shipping Companies Have Seen It All
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Over the decades, many people have sent weird things. Some did it maliciously, while others did it out of necessity. Regardless of the motivation, these items did cause a stir when word of their shipping eventually went round.
If you want to find out more about life’s whacky happenings check out the rest of our articles!