Man tests minimal address experiment by sending himself a letter

And yet you guys are mortally afraid of ID cards.


I had a college job at Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton Natl Park as a dishwasher & general utility gofer. The breakfast cook, who I’ll call Mike B got a letter addressed as

Mike B
A cook
The Tetons, WY.

I know that the area is small, but still…!
Hooray for USPS!


U.K. postcodes are between five and seven characters, mine is SN, which is the Swindon postal region, then two digits, which narrows it down to the part of my town I live in, then there’s the second group of one number and two characters, which narrows it still further to the part of the street I’m in, then my house number for final location.
Not quite so much use with satnav, where there’s no house numbers only house names, or on business parks and industrial estates.
What3words is far more accurate, especially in places with no recognised address system, but that’s not recognised by automated mail sorting machines.


No more so than many other countries, it’s just that a lot of people have been put off having ID cards because of scare-mongering, a bit like, for example, anti-vaxination. Plus they see reports in the news of government/state overreach and abuse of authority with people’s personal data. Of course nothing like that could ever happen anywhere other than the British Isles…
Millions of people in the U.K. carry photo ID with them every day, and think nothing of it. It’s called a driver’s licence.


I just googled my house number and zip code.

My complete address popped up in the first result,

I was using a freshly cleaned browser and not signed in to any Google account.

I should try sending myself something.


A fine reminder that the postal service is one of the most remarkably reliable and effective government agencies the US has ever seen, and that the workers deserve the kind of public adulation we reserve almost exclusively for military personnel.


I went to Ireland recently and one hotel I almost stayed at (but didn’t) was out on a country road and I don’t think there was a number as far as I could tell. GPS knew to location but if someone was telling me the address they would have had to be like “go down that road about 10 miles and it will be on your right”…
… actually now that I think of it that’s kinda how it was in my rural home town in iowa in the early 80s. Before the 911 emergency system was widely adopted our town didn’t have normal street signs and house numbers. You could find an official city map in the library and figure out your address but no one used them. We picked up our mail from boxes at the post office and if someone was visiting you be like “it’s the 4th house on the right past the railroad tracks.” But yeah I think the 911 emergency system mandated making it easier for emergency vehicles to find specific locations…


I heard he lost it after all.
A tragic ending to an otherwise lovely song…


Not if you include the +4 zip code extension.

Anyone in the States can put only the 5 digit zip code, followed by a hyphen and then the 4 digit addition, and it will be delivered to the exact address, including specific apartment when applicable. Don’t even need a surname.


Chicagoan here. There is no such thing as the Willis Tower. There is only Sears.


There are some isolated examples where house no/name and postcode is not a unique identifier, but adding the street name does disambiguate.

However, irritatingly, I can’t find the web page which lists these examples. EDIT: just found it here: UK Address Oddities! – The Unusually Named Blog


We send out all our Christmas cards with funny names instead of the recipients actual name. (eg, Princess Megan and the Grownups.) In all the years we’ve been doing it only one card was returned because the name didn’t match.

My business PO box will return mail to the sender if it’s not addressed to the business.

I asked about it, the postmaster said thems the rules.


That blog leads me to this guide to handling UK addresses:

and the API that looks up addresses from postcodes:


Maybe in some spots, but not denser cities. My ZIP+4 refers to my whole block


And then there is Google’s Plus Code:

An example: 84CWHGG4+JMR

Gives a pretty small area to work with, but would need some additional info to make a decent postal address.

Still, it’s got some things going for it:

  • Global
  • The local portion isn’t hard to remember
  • Grid-based, so very simple to relate one code to another if they’re nearby

Adoption would be a sticking point, as well as Google’s propensity for abandoning ideas whether people use them or not.


Where? Not in Chicago or NYC, unless one building is the entire block.


once when I was on a trip, I wrote a letter to my friends who shared a house back home. when I went to address it I realized I didn’t know the house number. so I just put everyone’s name, “the big white house second from the end of the block, Gill st North of 4th av, East side of the street, Knoxville TN” and the zip code I did know since I lived in the same neighborhood. got there no problem in the usual timeframe. not too shocking but I was glad.




wait i just got a notification on my phone


Addresses are a good way to make programmers cry


My aunts have a Canadian postal code with just a single house number at that code. I sort of tested it by abbreviating the street name to nearly initials, and it arrived no prob. Phase two I should have left out the city. Phase three I should have just used the postal code. But I never really cared to bother.

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