Michigan: Is it Really Illegal to Put Something Other Than Mail in a Mailbox?
The list of things that you can legally place in a mailbox is relatively short.
Here's the list: Mail. (And it has to be properly addressed, and have postage on it.)
Just Slip it in My Mailbox
The topic arose (and it got arguably more heated than it should have) at work the other day when a coworker casually mentioned dropping an item off for a friend who wasn't home, so he simply left it in the friend's mailbox.
This led to a heated discussion.
Which led to the Internet.
Which led me down a rabbit hole.
Sure enough, the United States Post Office makes it clear on its website:
"The U.S. Postal Service would like to warn people that only authorized U.S. Postal Service delivery personnel are allowed to place items in a mailbox. By law, a mailbox is intended only for receipt of postage-paid U.S. Mail."
Clearly, I won this particular work argument and am enjoying the feeling of superiority.
(Side Note: My dad was a Postmaster in Northern Michigan for about 100 years, so I guess I unwittingly absorbed some knowledge on this topic as a kid.)
You Can Keep Your Menus and Flyers
And yes, this means that restaurants can't legally stuff their menus in your mailbox. The restriction also extends to new businesses hoping to get a little free publicity and civic groups, advertising fundraisers.
This goes for Amazon as well. Amazon's drivers are not permitted to put packages not shipped by USPS in your mailbox.
What About Hotel Keys?
What is it, 1920? Back in the day - before hotels installed key-card systems - it was legal to drop a forgotten hotel key in a US mailbox. The post office would then deliver those keys back to the hotels, with the burden of postage resting with the hotel owners.