One of the Compass Vermont team used to work as a seasonal driver for UPS and was astounded by how many doors, and rural mailboxes have no address numbers on them; and nothing makes it harder to deliver their package. 

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According to CBS Money Watch, more than one million packages did not reach their destination by Christmas.

And that was in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, "during the peak delivery season, the number of daily packages can reach around 100 million, up from an average of around 62 million to 72 million in other times of the year."   

The sheer volume of deliveries is one clear reason why many packages just don't get where they supposed to going, but poorly marked addresses is another.  

Here are the points made in the WSJ article:

Tiny house numbers, perhaps OK for hawks or eagles but not human drivers in a moving vehicle, are among the top pet peeves, drivers say. So are Christmas decorations or snow blotting out mailbox numbers. House numbers spelled out in cursive are a pain.

Ditto for those in Roman numerals: Time is lost when workers have to drive by IV or V times to find the right house.

Steve Spitler, a seasonal delivery driver covering routes south of Atlanta, recently reached a driveway that had three houses. Only one had a house number and it wasn’t the address on his package, he said.

“There was nobody home at any of the places,” said Mr. Spitler, who is in his first season as a driver. “The middle house had a large A monogram on the door and it matched the last name of the package so I took my best guess and left it there.”

In places where homes are miles apart, drivers say they get help—if there’s cell service—from mapping applications from Google and Apple or county tax assessor websites.


That, of course, is an issue in Vermont, where cellphone coverage is spotty at best in many rural locations.  Our team member recalls driving around Marshfield and Cabot with no service and not even being able to us the UPS delivery app to register deliveries.  

“I feel people are watching videos later of the old lady struggling up the drive with the huge and heavy package,” said Kimberly Thompson, a 52-year-old driver in Greenville, S.C.

Parcel carriers and retailers often get a contact number for the recipient or instructions from customers. But vague instructions such as “It’s in the back” don’t help. One frequent response: “The back of what?”

The bottom line:

The U.S. Postal Service said every curbside mailbox should have address information and be clear of leaves, ice, and snow piles.

Making your location easier to find sounds like an easy New Year's resolution that benefits everyone.