The Pony Express

It’s easy to imagine a world without regular mail delivery right now. Most people don’t use it, except to move their junk mail from the mailbox into the garbage can. But that’s because we have email.

We also have synchronous messengers which makes what is now called Snail Mail pretty laughable. Recently, while on the phone with my bank (another way to avoid using mail) the representative told me that they would be mailing me a confirmation letter. I didn’t mean to laugh into the phone. I’m sorry random customer service guy, you’re just doing your wacky dark-ages job that involves stamps.

The Pony Express by Amanda Wood


When I still used mail, I loved it. I do still, on the odd occasion I receive an actual letter. And that being rare doesn’t stop me from asking downstairs for mail every single day. Thanks, Capital One, for keeping me on my toes with the thrice-weekly credit card offers. Anyway, the Pony Express is largely a legend, much like a lot of The Old West or The Frontier, it has been exaggerated and glorified. But it was an excellent delivery service for its 19 months in existence. And hey, that’s about as old as our site is!

Mostly, riders (who did not weight over 125 pounds) would gallop from postal station to station, switching horses every 10 miles or so. At one point, election results were delivered this way. It took a little over 7 days to get from coast to coast, a record at the time!

Wikipedia claims that this is a famous Pony Express ad, and coincidentally it also happens to be my new dating profile: “Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”

Anyway, here are my ideas based on the Pony Express that the USPS should use, now that they’re obviously struggling to fit into the current-day real world and also since they trademarked it:


Take Forever

The mail already takes about 3-4 days from end to end of the continental United States without any rush on it. If they make it even slower, I bet it will seem like more of a novelty. Like when I order winged gold sneakers from China and then forget.


Saddlebag Supplies

At first, the riders were decked out with a lot of equipment, including a bible and a revolver. Eventually they ditched the bible. I don’t think we should give guns to postal workers, but maybe if they have to ride a horse instead of drive around in a little cart, they’d spur (haha) more people into sending mail, just to see a horsey. This would 100% work on me.


Cowboy Hats

No explanation necessary.


Also, their oath was a lot better than the Postal Service’s oath:

“I, , do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”

Now that’s a level of seriousness I can trust with delivering my hand-scribbled thank you notes and Sneer Society gift packages!


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