I don’t know if I was even a teenager yet when I thought of this one. After watching a transaction go down at a bank drive thru with those pneumatic tubes passing the capsule back and forth, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to implement this feature at private residences. Out in suburbia, there’s a lot of homes with the mail box at the street. Imagine having one end of the tube transport at the street (your mailbox) with the other end inside your house.
I swear it wasn’t because I was a lazy kid. I was inventive and I guess I’ve always had that kind of mind. I had this all figured out in my head and was even willing to dig the trench in the yard if my Dad would let me. The thought of needing some type of machine to propel these containers was of no concern. I could make it happen with the idea alone. Funny how not much has changed since then.
I imagined how it would make people’s lives easier by saving them that daily walk to the street to get their mail. Think of how happy all those paper boys would be now that they didn’t have to walk the paper up to the front door anymore. Maybe there could be slightly larger tubes for the smaller parcels from UPS or FedEx.
Then one day I saw a major flaw in my idea when I watched as my friend scraped a dead squirrel off the street and dropped it into the library’s book return slot. Yep, that would be a problem. As long as it fit, people could send whatever they wanted in your house through the tube. Suddenly all of the nefarious ideas came to me. Someone could do the same to me with a pneumatic mail tube delivery system. They could send a skunk inside my house, or a stink bomb, or worse…fireworks or an explosive device if it were timed properly.
I began toying with the lock idea. Mail carriers have keys for apartment building mail slots, so why not for these tubes? But then, how do the other services utilize the tube without access? The post office could never manage different keys for everyone, and universal keys would be just begging for exploitation. I suppose it would be no worse than the open box on the street anyone can open at will, but it all seemed a tad incomplete.
Then I went a little overboard. First of all, I switched the destination from inside the house to right outside the house. I figured that was safer. Then I thought a keypad with different access codes for different people or services might work better. And finally, I went into full saturation mode and figured people could start installing delivery tubes just like any other utility when new houses are built. When underground utilities are installed, the tubes can be added too, which would connect to a network of tubes that terminated at a central facility such as a postal distribution plant.
My juvenile brain had a tendency to get ahead of myself just like my adult brain. Keep in mind this was before the interwebs when letters, post cards, newspapers, magazines, account statements, and bills were physically delivered to consumers instead of digitally like it is today. Snail mail like that is a dying breed, although I’d assume parcel delivery is more popular than ever with all the online shopping taking place. I think that flat screen you ordered on Amazon is still too big for capsule delivery tubes, me thinks.
OK, new direction. Shrink the capsules and tubes and change the distribution centers from mail processing centers to pharmacies. Who needs the most medication and is least mobile? The elderly! There might still be something there folks. Run with it! Just don’t forget to get the secure tubes for the Oxycodone prescription deliveries.