PO Box in the US
It's the same in the backwaters (US) in terms of getting a postal box. The form states that two forms of ID are required and one of them needs to be a government issued photo ID. No sweat, I hand over my driver's license (US) and my passport. The ditz behind the counter tells me that I need some other form of ID. ?? I should read the requirements again. I do, no words have crawled from the page so I should be solid. Nope. She tells me I need a utility bill or something. Where does it say that? She can't be bothered to read the regs. This goes back and forth for a bit. Finally, I root through the car and come back with a auto insurance bill and that works. I am who I say I am, for a given value of proved. I've learned how this mold works now so when asked about a physical address, I just fill in the police station's address next door since I can see the numbers through the window. The address comes back as valid in her computer although she must not have seen what is at that address, just that it checks out.
I have all of my post sent to my box and none to my home. At the time I was renting the box in the story, I was staying with a friend until the house I was buying was vacated by the tenant that was living in it and I was also going to need time to work on the house before I moved in. Switching the mail to the new house wasn't going to work and after the tenant moved out there wouldn't be that much time before I moved in so pointless to switch everything twice. I did need to clear out of the box I did have one town over as it was no longer near my work and a chore to pick up mail and packages. I can empathize that often times when you need a PO box, it's because you aren't living in long term accommodations but still need a place to receive mail. I'm an old fashioned trog that still likes to get bills in the post on paper. I mostly pay electronically, but it gives me a paper audit trail as I will write the payment information on the paper bill and file it away. It will get tossed out in a year, but paper files can still be very fast to search if organized. I also have a folder of bills due that is a great reminder.
There are a couple of big upsides to a postal box. In the US you can have the box address put on your driving license rather than a physical address. The police can pull up your physical address on their computer, but if you get pick-pocketed or otherwise lose you wallet/keys, you aren't giving away where you live. The same goes for car registrations and insurance cards. It's getting hard to steal cars, but if somebody can break in shortly after you park someplace where it's obvious you are going to be for a few hours (airport, beach, amusement park), they can have your address off of the registration form in the glove box and the garage remote and take their sweet time looting your digs. If it turns out you have a home alarm they don't want to deal with, would you be too suspicious if your garage remote went missing but your car was still locked up? If you move house a couple of times, you start erasing your physical home history if you only use a rented postal box. UPS, FedEx and DHL all keeps vast databases on people and their address. That's great if somebody sends something to your old address and it gets forwarded, but those companies also sell/rent/license those databases. If you have a PO Box in the US (maybe elsewhere) you can have packages delivered to the post office's street address with your box number appended and they will accept them for you if you fill out a form, for free. I believe you waive some liabilities, but a box from the computer supply company sitting on your porch doesn't come with any protections. How many times have you found something on your porch that should have been signed for?
Having a postal box is worth the expense. Even if you aren't receiving checks or valuable items, it can cost plenty if somebody grabs bills and notices that will cost you in late fees, etc. I find it also useful that I don't have to hand out my physical address all over the place and even if somebody shoulder surfs me and sees my ID, they won't see where I live. Since I travel on short notice, the box also prevents people from seeing that I'm not home. I often wouldn't have time to file a vacation hold at the post office and that would add yet another thing on my get-out-of-town list each time.