Wednesday Blog: Sending babies by mail

This gives a whole new meaning to fragile goods.
Logistics, BLOGS


While doing research for an article recently, I came across a bizarre story. When the United States Postal Service (USPS) first started in 1913, there were several incidents of babies, complete with a postage stamp affixed to their clothes, being mailed by post.

In fact, one of those cases inspired the children’s book Mailing May, based on true story about a little girl sent to her grandmother via post by her parents in 1914.

Reports are unclear on when exactly the USPS put a stop to the practice, suffice to say they acted swiftly when they realised what was happening.

As horrifying as it sounds (especially with regard to the parenting skills) the children were not stuffed in cardboard boxes at the back of a freight car, but rode up front with the railway and city carriers. The same can’t be said about a 25-year old American man, however, who shipped himself from New York to Texas in 2003.

Charles D McKinley popped himself into a crate and managed to travel undetected right until the moment he exited the box on the doorstep of his parent’s home. The journey had reportedly taken 15 hours, but had he waited five minutes longer inside the crate, he would have probably avoided been spotted by the deliveryman, who reported him to the police.

Now while I have some sort of pity for the poor people in 1913 America that could not afford to send their children in any other way and so resorted to freight, I am utterly perplexed by the actions of McKinley. Apparently for what it cost to ship himself ($550), he could have gotten a first class ticket on almost all major airlines at the time.

Oh, and lastly, a word of warning to any readers that don’t fancy paying the price of an Air Arabia or flydubai ticket and following in the footsteps of McKinley: according to the experts, not all packages are fortunate enough to be flown in pressurised and heated cabins. You could essentially be packaging yourself for burial.

Ahmad Lala is the editor of Logistics Middle East magazine.

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