Uniform dating codes
The mail is sorted according to the final two digits of the ZIP Code and sent to the corresponding post offices in the early morning.
Sectional centers do not deliver mail and are not open to the public (though the building may include a post office open to the public), and most of their employees work night shift.
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For Post Office Boxes, the general (but not invariable) rule is that each box has its own ZIP 4 code.
The add-on code is often one of the following: the last four digits of the box number (e.g.
In the cases of large cities, the last two digits coincide with the older postal zone number In 1967, these became mandatory for second and third-class bulk mailers, and the system was soon adopted generally.
The United States Post Office used a cartoon character which it called Mr. He was often depicted with a legend such as "USE ZIP CODE" in the selvage of panes of postage stamps or on the covers of booklet panes of stamps. Postal Service introduced an expanded ZIP Code system that it called ZIP 4, often called "plus-four codes", "add-on codes", or "add-ons".
In 1971 Elmira (NY) Star Gazette reporter Dick Baumbach found out the White House was not using a zip code on its envelopes. A ZIP 4 Code uses the basic five-digit code plus four additional digits to identify a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, a group of apartments, an individual high-volume receiver of mail, a post office box, or any other unit that could use an extra identifier to aid in efficient mail sorting and delivery.
According to Publication 59, the two-letter standard was "based on a maximum 23-position line, because this has been found to be the most universally acceptable line capacity basis for major addressing systems", which would be exceeded by a long city name combined with a multi-letter state abbreviation, such as "Sacramento, Calif." along with the ZIP Code.
The abbreviations have remained unchanged, with the exception of Nebraska, which was changed from NB to NE in 1969 at the request of the Canadian postal administration, to avoid confusion with the Canadian province of New Brunswick.