Thank You, Mr. Mailman

In 2022, over 4 billion packages were delivered to German households. That’s more than 50 for every one of the country’s 83 million inhabitants. It also means that somewhere in Germany, someone rang a doorbell, hoping to drop off a parcel, 11 million times — every single day. That’s 11 million walks to a front door. 11 million rings. 11 million “Here’s your parcel”s. Or leaving it at the front door. Or handing it to a friendly neighbor. And the next day? All of it — 11 million times again.

Most online shops here now charge less than five euros for a medium-sized parcel. For 4.50 euros, a shop owner will wrap my Pokémon cards, seal them tight, and hand the package to the mailman. Said mailman will take it to the depot, where someone else will process it, and yet another person might load it onto a van, train, or other vehicle. A fifth person will drive that vehicle some 400 kilometers and hand the parcel to another processing center where the same loop repeats. Eventually, yet another mailman (or woman) will complete the final stretch of the delivery and arrive at my doorstep.

That’s a chain of eight people, some of which spend hours on their tasks, whom I pay 4.50 euros — yet none of this is the crazy part. That would be the fact that the entire sequence of events takes place literally overnight. I can send an order after lunch and open my package the next afternoon. My god. What an accomplishment! A true logistical masterstroke.

Chances are, you currently have a parcel on the way to you. Open the tracking. Look at the times. Look at the locations. Behind every number hides a human being, working hard to get your desired goods to you safe and sound. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, someone woke up at 4 AM to deliver your package, and all I can say to that is: Thank you, Mr. Mailman — and everyone who stands behind you.