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Why are rubber bands found in the street?

The Truth About
Rubber Bands in the street


Why are rubber bands found in the street? Where do those street-strewn rubber bands come from? Quality strong rubber bands, clean, apparently newly-dropped, are mysteriously present in many of the streets of towns in the UK. Is it just a UK thing? Or, do these rubber bands fall like rain in any urban environment in any country?

You may be interested to know, I have the answer to this mystery! Most rubber bands found in the street are dropped by postmen! How about that?!

It's true! Those early morning deliverers of letters, working for The Post Office, are the cause of the phenomenon. Those couriers of postal items are indeed the abandoners of rubber bands.

If you feel this is a stretch of the imagination, you can get some verification by walking to the Post Office Sorting Office, where you're likely to see a car park full of post vans which are stationary and the ground littered with a profusion of rubber bands, some of which are rather old. The style of rubber bands found there is the same as that of the ones found elsewhere in the streets, and different from what you might expect to get if you bought a pack of a thousand jumbo assorted rubber bands from WH Smith

I don't suppose anyone's grumbling about the free supply of Post Office issue rubber bands found in the street. After all, it's nice to get something for nothing, and these items of lost stationery are quality items found at random for the wise to pick them up to keep for when necessary. It's a bit like the free ballpoint pens given away by Barclays Bank

The supplementary mystery is really more a question of why don't the postal rubber bands get reused rather than discarded? Surely it would be more cost-effective for the postman to take the rubber bands back to the sorting office and re-use them on future batches of mail? Recycling makes sense, but reuse makes even better sense.

Estimates vary, but it has been suggested that The Post Office are dropping about a million rubber bands per day in the UK!

This may seem a mystery, but for a much bigger postal mystery, see why close down profitable local post offices?!


Other useful references: Post Office , Stationery Suppliers , Save Our Post Office, and Business

An earlier hypothesis that the rubber bands were being dropped by leprechauns was already in considerable doubt because of this consideration: If leprechauns were leaving rubber bands in the street, wouldn't they have been GREEN rubber bands?

Another mystery: Why is Google no good anymore? Google used to be the best search engine, but now it's so bad (2012/05) that we are calling for Google to be Replaced. The thing is, this page is actually ABOUT rubber bands found in the street! Yet, when you search for it, on a decent search engine this page should come up, as it is the most relevant page and contains an erudite in-depth commentary. On Google, instead all kinds of irrelevant stuff appeared, and this page didn't. It's nonsense!

Admittedly this pages DID come up on Google but ONLY if the search had quotes around it, ie "Why are rubber bands found in the street?", and even then it was lower than Infrequently Asked Questions page which isn't about rubber bands in public thoroughfares, and merely has a link to this page. In contrast, Blekko gets it right and has this page in the results, at the top!

I put a lot of work into this website, and I am sick of Google having some obtuse petty-minded prejudice against my quality informative pages, preferring instead bloatware videos and things with half-baked parts of a search phrase, presumably because they happen to have naff Google ads or for some other perverse reason. For more about the Google problem see Why is Google no good anymore?

Update: Well Done to Yandex which also gets this right, AND, as well as being a better search, Yandex doesn't mangle page titles!