Laurel and Victor Sweet hold a returned letter they mailed eight years ago.

Laurel and Victor Sweet hold a returned letter they mailed eight years ago.

Surrey couple learns the true meaning of ‘snail mail’

Last week Laurel and Victor Sweet received an envelope they mailed eight years ago.

In today’s world of instantaneous messaging and high-speed communication, a Surrey couple recently learned firsthand what is meant by the term “snail mail.”

Eight years ago, while working full-time at a dental office, Laurel Sweet started a part-time business selling household products through Regal Gifts, a direct sales home catalogue business.

At various times throughout the year, Laurel would mail out multiple catalogues to various clients across the Lower Mainland.

After a few years, she decided to let the business lapse and concentrate on other interests.

A few days ago, Laurel’s husband Victor picked up the couple’s mail and noticed an 8″ x 12″ envelope with the address crossed out and “return to sender” printed across the front.

Recognizing his wife’s handwriting on the original address, he left the letter on the counter for Laurel to open when she came home.

When she did she found a catalogue she had mailed out eight years earlier.

“You hear stories like this and you immediately think ‘urban myth’,” said Victor, “but this actually happened.”

Wondering if there was a plausible explanation for the eight-year delay, he contacted the local post office to see if they could shed any light on the mystery.

“What they told me was the envelope probably fell down behind something at the person’s house and when they moved the new owners must have found it and mailed it back.”

Looking at the dates stamped on the front of the envelope Victor is not so sure.

“I think it got stuck in a mailbox somewhere. That seems more likely to me.”

Flipping through the catalogue, Victor wonders out loud if the products have changed over the last eight years.

“Flip-flop stepping stones and a glow-in-the-dark dolphin lamp,” he notes. “Can you say quirky? Yes.”

Where the catalogue has really been for the last eight years remains a mystery.

“We just thought it was weird,” Victor says.