MEMPHIS, TN—Saying that the number has been gradually rising over time, officials at global delivery services company FedEx confirmed Thursday that some 600,000 people seal themselves up in shipping containers and try to mail themselves every year.
A FedEx spokesperson told reporters that, in the past year alone, the company documented well over half a million incidents in which employees discovered individuals crouched inside oversized cardboard boxes that were either left waiting outside homes or had mysteriously arrived at the doors of FedEx retail locations with completed shipping labels.
“Every day we receive dozens of reports from delivery drivers who go to pick up a large package only to suddenly hear someone breathing or rustling around inside,” said FedEx director of operations Tim Brankley, explaining that most individuals caught mailing themselves are found curled up inside a cardboard box and hidden beneath a layer of packing peanuts. “In most cases, we’re able to tell right away when a box contains a person, but every once in a while someone will make it all the way onto the truck.”
“However, the bottom of the box usually isn’t reinforced enough and, once it’s lifted, the person comes tumbling out in a shower of packing materials,” added Brankley. “If they aren’t too stunned after hitting the ground, they typically just pick themselves up quickly and run off.”
Since the company was founded in 1971, FedEx has reportedly dealt with increasingly elaborate attempts from people looking to mail themselves cross-country, with roughly 300,000 individuals per year contorting their bodies in cramped containers or shimmying into large cardboard shipping tubes to take advantage of affordable rates on delivery within three to five business days. In addition, FedEx workers are also said to annually come across 150,000 packages containing people who paint their skin to look like statues and keep perfectly still to avoid detection.
Moreover, FedEx officials admitted they deal with some 750 misguided individuals each year who do nothing more than affix a mailing label to their bellies and expect to be shipped to their requested destination.
With the recent uptick in self-mailing incidents, FedEx has reportedly already taken steps to curb the number of attempted human shipments. According to company officials, all employees are trained to look more closely for postal boxes that seem to have moved on their own at any point, contain two eyeholes cut into the cardboard, or emit loud cell phone ringtones.
“We warn our employees to be wary of any customer who comes in to a FedEx location asking questions about mailing a package that is 180 pounds and very fragile,” said FedEx ground shipping manager Bruce Nichol. “Additionally, we’re instructing all of our package center workers to carefully upturn large boxes and then listen for any groans or muffled protests.”
“We just want people to know that any attempt to mail yourself is a bad idea—mostly because it’s very dangerous,” Nichols continued, “even if you wrap your whole body in bubble wrap.”
Nichols noted that, on average, each individual FedEx store has to deal with a handful of individuals attempting to mail themselves every day. Furthermore, he said that it is not uncommon for shipping clerks to spot entire families stacked up in separate boxes trying to be mailed together.
According to FedEx rules and regulations, the company maintains a strict policy of not mailing human beings.
“I’ve seen people stuffed into boxes with days’ worth of snacks, pillows, and portable radios,” said Knoxville, TN branch manager Carlo Estes. “One time I heard some soft whimpering coming from a box that was supposed to be sent to Honolulu that was just sitting in our sorting facility. And when I opened it, I saw a grown man wearing nothing but swim trunks and a pair of sunglasses lying inside, totally dehydrated and malnourished.”
“Apparently, the package wasn’t labeled correctly and couldn’t actually be mailed to its destination,” added Estes. “Worst part was seeing the poor guy’s face light up when he thought he had made it to Hawaii.”
Despite the company’s expanded efforts to dissuade self-shipping, numerous FedEx customers have announced their intention to ignore the rules and continue their endeavors to mail themselves.
“They can try to stop me, but I have a good feeling about this,” said Albany, NY resident Seth Holden, whispering to reporters from a small air hole carved into the side of a corrugated box. “I’m going to make it all the way this time, I can feel it.”
“Shh, be quiet—I think I hear them coming,” he added.