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The Postal Service has issued an all-points bulletin for the apprehension of its delivery tubs and pallets, no questions asked.

It is a pallet-able proposition because the Postal Service spent nearly $50 million last year to replace equipment that has gone missing. Because of the financial crisis the USPS currently faces, it is a serious issue, and it can ill afford any kind of unnecessary expense. The equipment is clearly postal property and the agency wants it back.

The Post Office usually delivers mail to businesses in “flat tubs,” as they’re technically called, and expects to retrieve them the next delivery day. More popular than Tupperware, delivery tubs have become the storage container of choice for local businesses and individuals. The warning label – “Maximum penalty for theft or misuse of postal property $1,000 fine and 3 years’ imprisonment” — hasn’t appeared to deter those that stockpile them. However, with the busiest mailing season of the year fast approaching, hoarded storage containers are catching the post office short of equipment.

The amnesty period to return mail transport equipment (MTE) boxes and pallets runs from November 12th to November 26th. Hoarders, collectors and users of Postal Service MTE are strongly encouraged to surrender the federal property immediately. Any Post Office will accept them, no questions asked.

During the amnesty period, equipment can be dropped off at local Post Offices or nearby mail processing and distribution centers. Arrangements can be made for the Postal Service to pick up large amounts of equipment and/or pallets by sending an email to Include “Equipment Pickup Request” in the subject line. In the message include company name, address, type of mail transport equipment and quantity, and contact information.

There also is a mail transport equipment recovery hotline,
(866) 330-3404, that can be used to report the misuse of equipment.

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