Guests drop keys through Royal Mail letterbox

My first post, … just need to share!

There are two doors at the property, … but since I prefer guests to use the back door, I only give them a key of the back door.

Instructions to guests when they check out: “If I’m not around, just lock the back door, and put the key through the letterbox.” Every single guest so far has done just that: they lock the back door with the key I have given them, and push it through the letterbox at the front door. That is until today, when a group of 6 (!!!) adults convinced themselves that the ‘letterbox’ I was on about was the letterbox at my local post office. :angry:

When they told me what they’d done (clearly believing to have done the right thing), I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! What made them believe that I had access to any Royal Mail letterbox? Apparently, they asked ‘someone’ (not sure who, but here we are) who advise them to not use the letterbox of my local post office, but another one that’s nearer to my house. If that story is true, it suggest that they were never really sure about what I meant with letterbox, … yet it doesn’t seem to have crossed their mind to perhaps ask ME for clarification (they always had my mobile number which they had already used before checking in)!

My only option to retrieve the key is to be at that letterbox by the time the postman comes to collect the mail! As if I didn’t have better things to do! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Ah Frankie, welcome to the forum and the wondrous world of hosting. Your story is hilarious!!
But it’s an indication of how strange other countries can be for a traveller. I’ve learned over the years that you shouldn’t ever assume anything. I physically show all my guests important stuff that they need to know or do - even if they’re from the UK. I’m stupid about keys and locks and stuff so I assume everyone else is too, even if they pretend they’re not.

And for an entire place, photos and big red arrows are always a good idea!

Rephrase your instructions to read: “If I’m not around, just lock the back door and put the key through this house’s letterbox.”

You might place a small sticker above your letterbox that says: " House Key Return Here."


So far, I’ve always given those instructions verbally, … but lesson learned! Will be in writing from now on, on a tag attached to the key! :wink:


But that doesn’t help if the guest has no idea what is a letterbox in the first place! For example, do you know what is normal when posting a letter (or keys) in Russia or Nepal or Japan? Never assume anything - explain in person or give photo instructions.


They are all living in the UK, but there still seem to have been a massive misunderstanding. On a positive note, the place was left nice and tidy! :smiley:

Yay! A small compensation to think about when you’re hanging around the street corner waiting for the local postie to turn up. And then you have to explain the story to them. You MUST come back and update!

Re. the guests not asking you directly to clarify, I think sometimes people don’t want to appear stupid and/or bother the host with apparently silly questions. Saving face and all that…

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in case it happens again, the post office can return them if they have a tag on them with your phone number…

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That gave me a good laugh.:rofl:

They had a brain fart. “Drop keys in any mailbox” is a well known thing for many situations but of course the keys have a tag that says that.

Welcome!!! Guests/people are funny. I would call it a mailbox but I think I would figure out what a letter box is.

I’m always surprised when English isn’t the same everywhere—I shouldn’t be surprised but I can’t help it. Bonnet=car hood. Boot= trunk football=soccer. Letterbox = mail box. Aren’t we an odd bunch/lot.

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I felt bad about liking your post, but it made me smile. Sorry about your predicament, but just think, when it’s all over, you’ve got one of the best stories a host can tell now.

Oh, and welcome!


Just been to the post office to explain the situation and confirm that the one and only collection at that particular letterbox / mail box / post box (whatever people want to call it) is at 17:30 today, but turns out that, since there was no collection on Easter Monday, there has already been one today. So key is now presumably at the main Royal Mail sorting office! The guy at my local post office is super nice and will contact Royal Mail to see if they found anything, … so there’s still hope!

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Quick update: got my key back! :smiley:


Bet you’ll now get some right dodge looks from your local postie!


And a million more :slight_smile:

Truly though, I know plenty of people “where I live” who wouldn’t know what a letterbox is. (I say “where I live” so that I’m not stereotyping. Hehe.)

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Apparently, it happens quite a lot: people posting things that were never meant to be posted, … so he straight knew why I was standing there waiting for him! :smiley:

Just lucky it wasn’t body soap I suppose :wink:



Especially a half used body soap bar! Ick. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’ve found no matter how low the bar is set someone seems to still get lower!

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