The other day, Siva mentioned to me that my experiences with India Post are not typical. “Normally it is very reliable”. That same day, I got my absentee ballot for the 2008 US elections in the mail. It only took six weeks for it to arrive. Then I looked it over. The postal code (called a PIN here and a ZIP in the US) was truncated to five digits. India uses six digit postal codes. No wonder it took so long to get here.
So the blame for my ballot difficulties does not lie with India Post, but the Ocean County (NJ) County Clerk’s office for not being able to handle six digit postal codes. This is right up there with not allowing postal codes with letters, insisting that there be a state (only 6 countries in the world require a state/region code in the address) and being under the assumption that all telephone numbers are in country code 1. Afghanistan has the distinction of not having postal codes at all, though the only Americans there not using an APO address would be journalists and the odd aid worker not yet driven out of the country.
Guys, Please! I’m not asking you to add nearby landmarks to the address (another post for another time) or anything weird like that, but at least make sure that if overseas Americans don’t get their mail from you, it is not your fault.