What Is A Postal Code?

A question like “what is a postal code?” may seem trivial to people all over the world. But in Lebanon, where postal services are still hanging on to our deep rooted traditions of the pre-1934 era, the answer is not an obvious one. But when a postal services employee asks the question, it becomes a little too much.

A month or so ago, I tried to hunt down my apartment’s postal code. I had a couple of items I purchased returned to sender after LibanPost failed to “find” my address. And I was able to get it from someone who seemed to know what a postal code is at LibanPost customer services. Apparently he was the only one in the company who knew!

This whole post was triggered by a very funny (or not, you decide) telephone call I received in the morning asking me to come collect my parcel from the LibanPost office in downtown Beirut. The guy asked me if it was the first time I got parcels delivered, I said no of course. He said that they couldn’t find the address. So I asked him what was he looking for. He read the address to me and it was perfectly findable on Google maps (after all that’s where I got the names of the streets from). I asked him was there a postal code on the label and he was dumbfounded. I told him it was an 8 digits number. He looked and voila, there it was. Next thing he said made me real sad though, so I laughed. He said: “that’s a long number and it’s not a phone number”. I explained it was a Postal Code, and that I got that from their offices. But that did not ring any bells. He just said in a very forced politeness: “Come get your things from Riad el Solh office, TODAY!” I guess he let go of the “or else” part, thankfully.

I’m pretty sure no one reads my rant blogs. In fact I hope no one is reading this one …

Update: I went to pick up my new cycling jacket, and the nice guy at the Riad el Solh post office told me that it was their duty to deliver the mail to my doorstep and that the caller was probably some new guy taking shortcuts. And that next time I should take his name and report him. Well, I have a few things in transit at the moment. Let’s see how it goes šŸ™‚

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