The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The simple fix to North Plainfield's ZIP code 'problem'

Could the answer be in a board book.

I've been watching North
Plainfield's effort to get its own ZIP code with some amusement. The answer to their 'problem' is really quite simple.

Having once run a mail-order company, I know from experience that getting the mail to the person its intended for is pretty damned important. If your business depends on the mail, it can be a make-or-break proposition.

When I first moved to Plainfield, a catalog from L. L. Bean came to my street address, but the town name was 'North Plainfield'. Curious, I called them and found out they used a rented list. A friend in the list business explained that there was a kind of racism in list rentals, and that marketers considered 'North Plainfield' a 'better' name for the town from a list rental perspective.

That same year (1983), the Postal Service implemented the ZIP+4 system, which adds four digits to the 5-digit ZIP code -- eliminating the confusion about whether the Watchung Avenue in question is in Plainfield or North Plainfield.

So, the 'solution' has been around for more than thirty years. Problem is, though most large businesses have adopted the system, it is not mandatory. I get Christmas cards some folks who use and from some folks who don't.

However, if North Plainfielders insisted on their ZIP+4 codes, I'll bet the problems would practically disappear.

Or it that really the point?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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