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- A British TV ad for Tennants lager had a man attempt to stow away in a shipping crate to get deported back to the country he supposedly came from.
- A Brazilian Mail ad had a mother trying to mail her son to another city so he could attend his school's field trip without having to hang out with his "nutcase" friends (much to the boy's chagrin). The attendant finds it pretty weird, and even more so when she (who, at this point, we can see is pretty loopy) requests him be sent in a SEDEX (express delivery) box ("What, you wanna travel in an envelope?!") - and we're not talking about a container here, but a handheld package.
Anime & Manga
- Tegami Bachi:
- Niche started off as this, although she's actually Not Quite Human.
- Also how Lag Seeing was introduced: he was being mailed to his aunt's house.
- In Ranma ˝, annoying midget pervert Happosai gets stuffed into a box to be mailed somewhere a couple of times in both Manga and Anime. It never sticks.
- After America, France, and England got sick of caring for him, Italy in Axis Powers Hetalia is sent back to Germany in a beat-up cardboard box that one would use for mailing off packages that said "FUCK" on it.
- One Mickey Mouse comic had gangsters rob museums using a fax machine that could fax people (and their booty). It sounds like teleportation at first, until you consider that people were digitalised and appeared in cyberspace, where anthropomorphic programs in the form of mailmen literally carried them across the data highway. The mailman could even lose their cargo, and (in case someone was faxed against his will) some could be reasoned with to bring you to other destinations, or others wouldn't listen.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Scrooge McDuck has done this in a bid to save money while traveling. It's stated that all he saves is "a few cents", but you know what a miser he is.
- Fozzie Bear mails himself to the Muppet Theatre in The Muppet Show Comic Book #3. Unfortunately, he addressed the box to himself, so Kermit won't let anyone else open it...
- Knights of the Dinner Table: 'Operation: Pig in a Poke' involves shipping Bob inside a crate to Hard 8 Enterprises so he can download command words from Tulley's computer. The plan starts to unravel when Brian can not afford to send the crate overnight expess, so he opts to send it freight instead.
- The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan #4 story "Eye Of The Idol" (February, 1974) had the family searching for the titular missing gem. Suspecting that maybe the culprit mailed it, Mimi tosses Scooter in a mail kiosk to look for it.
- Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes sometimes attempts to run away by sitting in a box by the mailbox with a vague address written on it (for example, "To Australia"). It...doesn't work.
- Garfield occasionally tries to mail Nermal, his kitten rival, to Abu Dhabi.
- Once he tried to mail himself to a lasagna factory.
- Popeye: This is how Popeye found Swee' Pea. The baby's mother mailed him to Popeye in a package.
- Mac Manc McManx from Get Fuzzy tries to mail himself back to England, with Rob telling him that they already bought a plane ticket for him.
- Bernie of Doonesbury shipped his then-girlfriend Didi back home from Vietnam by sending her through the mail.
- Jokey in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The No Hug Zone" tried to slip through Tapper and Empath's defenses in order to give Grouchy a hug by shipping himself through the mail to Tapper's Tavern.
Films — Animation
- The Aristocats has the butler, Edgar, attempt to mail the kittens and cats away to Timbuktu at the end of film. In the end, he himself gets thrown into the chest, and is mailed off.
- Done several times in Penguins of Madagascar:
- The North Wind sends the penguins to a safe house in Madagascar via cardboard box.
- The penguins travel from Shanghai, China to Shanghai, China (It Makes Sense in Context) by piling into a box and shipping themselves.
Films — Live-Action
- The Chipettes in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel mail themselves to Jett Records in a FEDex package. They weren't aware that Ian Hawke is out of a job now since the events of the first movie.
- The George of the Jungle movie has George ship himself from San Francisco to the jungle via UPS.
"Next time, George get bigger box."
Narrator: After getting a tip from Brendan Fraser, who was cramped during the first pic, this time George managed to get a bigger crate.
- And from the sequel,George (Now Chris Showerman) does get a bigger box
- In Hudson Hawk, Eddie wakes up in a packing material shipping crate in another country after being rendered unconscious.
- The Real-Life example (see below) about the East German prisoner (imprisoned for Republikflucht) is depicted in the movie Fuehrer Ex.
- He's not technically a human, but Johnny 5 mails himself to Benjamin in the city, (with the help of Newton and Stephanie), after being rejected as an airplane passenger.
- In MouseHunt the closest the brothers came to getting rid of that mouse was mailing him to Fidel Castro. It got sent back due to insufficient postage.
- Utilised for Run for the Border in Jack Strong.
- Flat Stanley: Stanley Lambchop is transported cheaply this way.
- In Mirror Dance, one of the mercenaries hides the cryochamber containing Miles by sending it through the mail. Unfortunately, he was unable to tell anyone where he mailed it.
- In the first book of the Outlander Leander series Leander sneaks into another country by mailing himself.
- In John Varley’s Steel Beach, this seems to be the standard way to deal with drunks at the end of the evening.
- In the Nero Wolfe novel The Doorbell Rang, Wolfe and Archie set up a trap for the FBI by smuggling a pair of actors and three free-lance men into the brownstone, packed up in crates.
- In the Chicken Soup for the Soul book It's Christmas'', a story called "The Christmas Spirit Strikes Again" has a woman pay a surprise Christmas visit to her sister by popping out of a large courier package on her front porch. She wasn't actually sent through the mail, though; she got into the box a short distance from the house and the couriers carried her the rest of the way.
- Firefly had an episode where a former independence solider who served with Mal and Zoe mailed his body to them after he gets over his head with some smugglers (who happen to be corrupt Alliance police officers) with a request that they get him back to his family home. Turns out he was faking his death with a drug that left him Only Mostly Dead
- Part of Number Six's escape attempt an episode of The Prisoner includes being shipped in a wooden box from Poland to London.
- Subverted in Malcolm in the Middle when Reese wants Dewey to mail him somewhere. Dewey packages him up and pretends to mail Reese by simulating movement and sounds. Reese falls for it.
- The Trailer Park Boys has an episode where Cory and Trevor are mailed to a Snoop Dogg concert...along with lots of marijuana.
- One of the girls in 'Allo 'Allo! left the show this way, accidentally mailed to Switzerland. She was replaced by Mimi in the next episode.
- In My Name Is Earl, Catalina arrived in the US in a crate. Upon starting the journey, she was given a newspaper, but she said it would be too dark in the crate to read. The response? It's not for reading.
- According to Pop Up Video when they "popped" Madonna's "Express Yourself", "It's illegal to Federal Express yourself."
- Oz. Augustus Hill asks Verne Schillinger (whose Aryan Brotherhood run the prison mailroom) if he can escape prison this way, but he's just laughed at. The end of the episode shows Hill ducking into a box, but he's still there the next week, so his attempt was obviously unsuccessful.
- In Game of Thrones, Varys has a holed wooden crate delivered to him which contains the warlock who cut out his genitals long ago. Later he uses a similar crate to smuggle Tyrion out of King's Landing.
- In an episode of CSI, this was the cause of one of the few deaths that wasn't murder. A woman who ran a Russian mail-order bride agency couldn't get a visa for one of the women, so the woman tried to ship herself to the U.S. inside a suitcase. Unfortunately she died in transit and her death was covered up.
- In "Helpless", a woman had herself packed into a box and shipped to her lover as a way of generating a sexual thrill. However, because her lover had been murdered, there was no on to let her out at the other end and she died.
- In the Australian series Embassy, someone tries to smuggle himself out of the country via the crate method. Unfortunately he makes the mistake of paying the smugglers in advance, and has to be rescued by one of the embassy staff, who points out the holes in the crate. "I don't think they're for letting the air in."
- Horrible Histories had a sketch about a pair of suffragettes attempting to have themselves mailed to 10 Downing Street. Rattus tells us that suffragettes really did attempt to have themselves mailed to the Prime Minister, and this was the reason why a law was passed making it illegal to send humans through the Royal Mail.
- Father Brown: In "The Paradise of Thieves", the murderer gained access to the bank vault by having himself shipped in inside a crate supposedly containing pieces of art.
- Rizzoli & Isles: In "A Shot in the Dark", Alice smuggles herself from Canada back into the USA inside a box.
- "Mail Myself to You" by Woody Guthrie
- "Mail Myself to Elvis"
- There is a very twisted Velvet Underground song, "The Gift", that explores this. The lyrics are a short story written by Lou Reed and read by John Cale about young man named Waldo who decides to mail himself to his girlfriend Marcia who he met before they went to college in different states, not realising she has moved on. He arrives at Marcia's apartment, whereupon Marcia and her friend Sheila see the package is from Waldo and decide they might as well open it. The crate is nailed shut; Marcia and Sheila's attempts to open it are futile until Marcia grabs a sheet metal cutter. Sheila stabs a big hole in the crate...and Waldo's head.
- A music video called "If I Only Had a Brain" Has the rapper M.C. 900 Ft. Jesus mail himself to a magazine advertisement.
- The Gorillaz guitarist, Noodle, arrived at Kong Studios in a crate once, and traveled back to Japan by mail another time.
- In one video, Len Kagamine sends his master to Hokkaido in a box.
- In The Muppet Show episode with Jim Nabors, Jim plays a travel agent and a monster asks for the cheapest travel package he has. Jim flattens the monster with a weight, sticks a stamp on him and mails him.
- Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are shipped to England this way in The Great Muppet Caper. And in the end, they and the rest of the Muppets are shipped back to America this way too... and both times they're tossed out of the plane!
- In Metal Gear Solid, you can hide in the cardboard box on a truck to rapidly travel between areas.
- Not exactly mail, but in Grim Fandango one of the "cheaper" ways of travelling the Department of Death offers basically involves being put into a coffin full of padding foam and transported to the Gate by the company trucks. Manny actually refers to this as "parcel post" at one point. Of course, all of the subjects are Dead to Begin With, so neither suffocation nor starvation are an issue. On the other hand, spending several years as a package isn't much fun — as you'll discover when you arrive at the destination yourself and meet a shipped client who pops out of his box incandescent with rage.
Bruno: YOU! You were the guy who packed me in there! You could have at least given me a magazine. Four years with nothing to read but this damn mug!
- The obscure stealth game Rogue Ops has some missions begin with the protagonist being shipped in a box to infiltrate the enemy base.
- In Dishonored, specifically the DLC Knife of Dunwall, a nonlethal option for neutralising a target is knocking him unconscious, dumping him in a crate, nailing it shut, and shipping him to Tyvia, the most remote corner of the Empire. This is apparently a common enough means of getting people places that there's a special routine and method of preparation to ensure the crate's occupant survives the trip.
- In Disgaea Dimension 2, Angel Scicily mailed herself from Celestia to the Netherworld in a box. She claims to have done this to avoid getting lost, which everyone except Flonne thinks is stupid.
- Day 2 of the Hotline Miami heist in PAYDAY 2 begins with the crew jumping out of the crates Bain used to ship them to the Commissar's fortified tenement building.
- In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, Charlotte, after one too many millstone moments, is packed into a wooden crate and shipped off as a slave.
- Reynir of Stand Still, Stay Silent winds up meeting up with the rest of the party this way, having hidden himself in a cargo container to get smuggled ashore so he can see the world for the first time. Unfortunately for him, he winds up in the worst place imaginable since the container was being sent to an expedition into The Silent World and he is not one of The Immune to The Virus that caused The End of the World as We Know It.
- The Comics Curmudgeon interprets a silly Hi and Lois strip that way.
- An episode of What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? talks about why you don't try this in real life when a Chinese man suffocated after mailing himself to his girlfriend. The channel points out he forgot step one (cut a hole in a box).
- In RWBY, we get an example of "not quite" Human Mail:
- One episode of Camp Lazlo revolves around Edward attempting this, but lacking the postage to do so. He spends the episode talking the others into giving him stamps with a sob story, but then they want to go with him, requiring more postage. By the end, all the campers are shipped off, but end up at the location next door, as they was as far as the postage would get them.
- A Rugrats episode had Tommy Pickles sneak into the mailman's bag and explores the post office to find a "baby" (really a toy his dad ordered to compare with his own handmade doll) that will be delivered to his family. Tommy gets mistaken for a piece of mail and is sent through the system of mail sorting machines and chutes, almost gets stuck in the dead letter office, and finds the package, climbing into it and going home this way.
- Attempted in Captain Flamingo, where he and Lizbeth mail Rutger as a package to get him away from a babysitter who keeps tabs on him. It backfires.
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has Kaz attempt this to get back into the tour bus when their cats, Jeng Kang and Tekirai lock him out. Kaz gets mailed to a bunch of other places courtesy of the cats until the package eventually returns.
- A Beavis And Butthead episode had the pair attempting to mail themselves.
- The Simpsons:
- Episode "Bart on the Road" had Bart and his friends travel home in a shipment crate.
- Episode "In the Name of the Grandfather" had Moe traveling to Ireland in one.
Grampa: Moe?! You shipped yourself here?
Moe: No, it's how you fly coach on Delta now.
- In two Looney Tunes cartoons, Porky Pig tries to get rid of Charlie Dog this way. Charlie always gets sent back.
- On Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo tries to send Cheese away through the mail. Cheese gets sent back due to insufficient postage to tolerate smell.
- Bugs Bunny mailed himself to Washington, D.C. in Rebel Rabbit.
- Garfield and Friends:
- Garfield mailing Nermal to Abu Dhabi, or threatening to do so, is something of a Running Gag.
- In one episode, "Monday Misery", Garfield mails himself to Samoa, hoping to escape a bad Monday. It doesn't work.
- Phineas and Ferb: Adyson of the Fireside Girls gets caught in the mail system while looking for Isabella's letter that's being sent to Phineas.
- In one episode, Perry mails himself to his headquarters.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Kracked Krabs," Mr Krabs and Spongebob travel to an awards ceremony for Cheapest Krab. In order to travel as cheaply as possible they mail themselves there at the price of a 1 cent stamp.
- In the Total Drama World Tour episode "Aftermath Aftermayhem" Blainley is jealous of the attention Bridgette is getting for her talkshow, in order to upstage and replace her she captures her in a sack and after a few failed attempts mails her off to Siberia.
- In Rocko's Modern Life episode "S.W.A.K.", Rocko tries to get a love letter back after Heffer dropped it in his mailbag, not wanting it to be intercepted by his crush's Knight Templar Big Brother, and literally goes through the post office to do so. He eventually does get the letter back...and when Heffer reads out loud the letter to "my mail carrier", the brother thinks it's a token of friendship from Rocko to Heffer.
- Gerry is accidentally shipped to Bird-Person's wedding in Rick and Morty.
- The Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Rival Romeos," in which the two compete for the attention of a girl, had a sequence where Heckle ambushes Jeckle, packages him and sends him to Mexico. Seconds later, Jeckle appears at the door in Mexican gear with a bull in tow.
- Cracked's The 5 Most Badass Ways People Escaped from Slavery relates the story of Henry "Box" Brown, an African-American slave in Virginia successfully escaped to Philadelphia inside a crate and later bragged about how he did it. Slavery opponent Frederick Douglass was infuriated because he wanted this escape method to be kept secret so that other slaves could use it.
- A German prisoner once snuck into the mail room and climbed into a box that was picked up by the courier.
- A man named Charles McKinley shipped himself in a box from New York to Dallas to visit his parents, and saved on air fares by charging the shipping fees to his former employer. He took the rest of the journey by riding on a plane normally, though. His stunt backfired, however; he was ordered to pay a $1500 fine for being a stowaway, which was much more than what a regular plane ticket would have cost.
- Since the US Parcel Post Service began in 1913, rural communities can receive goods at a low price. This occurred to small children as well because they can be sent by mail for less than the cost of a train ticket. Famously, four-year-old May Pierstroff was mailed across Idaho to her grandparents as a baby chicken and was just short of the 50 pound limit. Of course years later, regulations were issued against sending children by mail.
- Eastern Bloc countries and especially USSR did have this trope as a habit: sending defectors, diplomats declared as personae non gratae or otherwise difficult people back home as diplomat mail.
- An Australian called Reg Spiers successfully had himself shipped in a crate from London to Perth in 1964. Later the same year, inspired by this feat, a homesick Welshman called Brian Robson tried the same thing in the opposite direction, with less success.
- It must be pointed out that this method of transportation can be extremely dangerous, much more so than in the days before air travel. Cargo holds for planes are generally neither pressurized or heated, and the lack of oxygen and extreme cold at altitudes approaching 40,000 feet has caused near-fatalities for people trying this method. Also, it may mean going several days without food, water, or access to a toilet.