Outbox is a fascinating new service that helps you manage your postal mail like email. Here’s how it works: They pick up your mail from your mailbox three days a week, take it to their secure warehouse, open, scan and store your mail. You then can access your mail anywhere on your iPad or the web. If you click “request” on any piece of mail, they’ll deliver any requested mail in a beautiful package right to your front door or front desk twice a week. And they shred and recycle any unrequested mail after 30 days.

I am definitely intrigued by the idea of accessing all my mail digitally. But am not ready, adventurous enough to sign up for this yet.

18 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Just curious, is there no issue of tampering charges with this? First thing I thought of! Ha!

  2. A prefect service for people who are l-a-z-y. It sounds very inefficient as well…mail that you “want” gets delivered to you the first time, gets picked up by Outbox, processed by Outbox, then the mail you “want”, by your request, gets sent back from Outbox to you a second time.

  3. incredible. Can’t wait till this is available in my area.

  4. not for LAZY people. great for BUSY people.

  5. Ray, I’d hyphenate the word ignorant, but I’m just too lazy. Does this work for young single folks who only get water bills and pizza coupons? No. Does this work for my grandparents in Tulsa who still occasionally have problems working the TV remote? Obviously not. But there is, I’m sure, a niche of people who field an enormous amount of correspondence and don’t have an office or a personal assistant to field it all. And that’s exactly what this is – a niche product designed to service the small population that might find it invaluable. You don’t look at city executives employing a courier service and think “useless businessmen too lazy to drive their own packages through midtown traffic on a work day.” Its the same concept.

  6. Customers of the Swiss Post can use a similar service: http://www.post.ch/en/post-startseite/post-swisspostbox.htm I use it from time to time. It’s probably irrational, but I feel safer with the Post, than if I were to use a third party.

  7. This may be the next big thing. I’m almost surprised they don’t have some warehouse of P.O. boxes they operate themselves that you can have your mail directed to. That would cut out a lot of cost…

    As for security and identity theft:



  8. the mail service here in Australia is currently introducing a similar service. I always wondered why US Postal Service doesn’t already offer this.

    In essence it’s a bit like a digital version of the old PO Box. Really not that revolutionary and it seems most obvious to me for the mail service to provide this.

  9. Did I get this right?

    ALL your PERSONAL mail is sent to a central location and THEY OPEN AND SCAN IT to send it to you via email and you tell them which one to send and which one to keep? Really?

    I’m sure no one will never keep that letter from Gramma with the $100 bill in it. Or your personal credit card info won’t be sent to the wrong person by mistake and if that ever happens, no one would never use that info to purchase items with your card.

    Am I missing something? Seriously. Is this a joke? :s

  10. Anyone who travels or lives for a period of time away from a primary residence can recognize the value of having someone else pick up your mail and forward it to you. Nevertheless, I agree with some of the other comments here. I think this is a really terrible idea for a few reasons. (1) It doesn’t take much for someone to steal your identity or money through the mail. I would think this service would make it incredibly easy. (2) I can’t believe it is legal to have someone you don’t know pick up and open your mail. Maybe there’s some form you have to sign…? Still, I know if a stranger messes with your mail, it’s generally a federal offense. (3) They only pick up your mail a few days a week? That might be fine if you’re living abroad or something, but if not, how is that convenient?

  11. I totally agree with LA. We’re talking about personal mail here, not business correspondence… I got chills just picturing the idea of someone opening my own mailbox and driving away with my mail!

  12. Most post I receive contains sensitive information that I wouldn’t want to hand over to a third party.

  13. This is the biggest green-washing scheme I’ve seen in a loooong time. Your mail is driven to your door, picked up and driven to a warehouse, and then driven *back* to your house in extra packaging if you actually want to read it? Three times the amount of driving, plus extra packaging, not to mention the energy it takes to scan every customer’s mail and upload it, etc. All your junk mail is just “out of sight, out of mind,” so it just goes in the recycling in an anonymous warehouse so you can pretend it was never there?
    How could any of this possibly be considered “earth friendly” by any stretch of the imagination?
    If it were being scanned at the post office and sent electronically rather than being delivered at the outset, that would be another story – and if the junk mail you don’t want it *truly* unsubscribed from rather than just tossed in recycling when it arrives, that would be another story – but that’s not what’s going on here.

  14. No way I would use this … and will probably not be tempted for I live in Germany ;) I just don’t see someone else to open my mail for me – unless he belongs to my family.
    I don’t get it, for a service to pollute our environment (picking mail up and bring it back if ordered). I mean how many places to scan (and storage) all of this are they planning to set up?

  15. I would never trust complete strangers opening my confidential mail. Think of all the new identity-theft doors this easily opens up. Terrible idea!

  16. pdx has it right.
    If you want to play the ‘convenience’ or ‘green’ card (or both), then start at the source and sign up for paperless billing for whatever services you use most regularly. Practically every Bank and Utility company offer it already anyway, and most large modern private companies are doing away with sending physical mail anyway. Hell, even my local coffee shop doesn’t print receipts any more.
    Speaking of Banks, I guarantee that my favoured bank (HSBC) would revoke any and all Fraud Protection on my accounts if I were to inform them that somebody else was receiving and opening my mail.

  17. How did they get funding for this ridiculous idea? What if we make a scanner mailbox? That sounds like a better idea and only half as ridiculous.