Can You Really Mail a Coconut?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

Believe it or not, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does allow ordinary citizens to mail a coconut without any additional packaging required. It is just as easy to mail as it is to ship a standard package or crate. The USPS views a coconut as a self-contained unit, one which cannot be easily tampered with by criminals or readily examined by postal inspectors. As long as the coconut contains both a proper address label and sufficient postage, the USPS will literally mail it for you.

Coconuts are popular souvenir purchases in Hawaii.
Coconuts are popular souvenir purchases in Hawaii.

We have the Hawaiian tourist trade to thank for the ability to mail a coconut. Visitors to Hawaii can often purchase a souvenir coconut instead of a traditional paper postcard. These gift coconuts may be elaborately decorated with local scenes or other traditional Hawaiian art. All that is required to mail this souvenir "postcard" is an address and proof of postage. Hawaiian branches of the USPS are accustomed to helping tourists who wish to mail a coconut back to the mainland.

As long as the coconut contains a proper address label and sufficient postage, the USPS will mail it.
As long as the coconut contains a proper address label and sufficient postage, the USPS will mail it.

Although Hawaii or other tropical locales may be the most common places from which to mail a coconut, there really are no restrictions on the practice within the United States. Anyone can literally pick up a coconut from a local grocery store and affix a mailing label to it. The local mail carriers may not be entirely thrilled to lug a coconut around all day, but it is perfectly legal to send it instead of an envelope.

Of course, there may be a few flies in the ointment if you should decide to mail a coconut instead of a first-class letter for all of your correspondence. The novelty of receiving a mailed coconut is bound to wear off quickly, and not everything can be safely delivered via a system straight out of Gilligan's Island. While it might be considered a nice gesture to your frozen relatives while vacationing in Hawaii, try not to get too carried away the rest of the year. Even postal loopholes have limits.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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Discussion Comments

taienao

Well folks, in Guam, you must have the so-called "Guam Product Seal". The government will inspect your processing procedure to make sure you are sending the coconuts free of mites or any parasites. Sure, anyone can mail a coconut, but you must have the Guam Product Seal coming out of Guam, or it might just never arrive at its destination. Do the right thing. Make sure that if you are buying it from Guam, that it is already inspected and certified to be a Guam Product Seal approved.

anon308846

Yes the coconut must now be inspected, but it doesn't have to be put in a box. The post office in Molokai still has their box of ready to go coconuts. You can also buy already decorated, already inspected coconuts that can be taken to the post office and mailed as is.

anon144769

Ha! I just received a coconut from one of my students. The lady at the post office balked at first, but my student assured her that "it had been proven on Mythbusters that one could mail a coconut." The postal clerk then acquiesced. My coconut arrived a couple of days ago.

anon91514

No longer (as of 2010). The local post office here tells me that a coconut must be taken to the airport for agricultural inspection, then shipped in a box. That's about 10 percent as fun as shipping a coconut with stamps on it.

cinder

Ha! This would be the funniest gag gift to send to someone who's mired in the winter weather!

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