What Jman said about "How long ago was this?" was going to be my reply Paul... I'm guessing this was a while ago and assume you're around my age or maybe a little older?
The USPS wasn't using these (or at least the same efficiency level) scanners when I was young either, and mail still came "unprocessed" to a lot of facilities where hand-sorting was still order of the day. The scanners are very simple, and inexpensive (for what they do) in a way, and also can replace many employees that handle things like this. I'd imagine big companies that do this stuff would invest in similar machines if it saves them anything, but who knows. It's amazing what machines can do though, and I could easily see this be an automated thing anymore at these companies rather than an assembly line type deal.
I sent in Vinty's only so that's all I know. I should be good on my first one and know what to send in for the 2nd.