Saturday, 14 December 2013

Post mortem

After 12 years with a rickety, rusty mailbox that kept falling down and apart, I saw a mailbox that I liked at Preston Hardware. They didn't have it. (So, uh, why was it on display?) We tracked down a company online and after several months of waiting, they said it wasn't in stock and did we want to wait some more? We didn't say anything and a couple of months later, it showed up (with humongous custom charges). Ain't it lovely?

So guess what? Canada Post is discontinuing door-to-door mail delivery. I really should have seen this coming. Along with everyone turning to email and texts, and no letters or cards except from elderly relatives, mail delivery has become increasing erratic over the years. The Post Office stopped postal money orders about five years ago, which is a problem for a family researcher who is dealing with British institutions that still require postal orders. (Don't get me started on the fun of trying to get a money order from the bank.) I started taking any parcels or overweight letters to the main post office last spring when our local and now privatized P.O. charged me the rate of two small parcels for two Easter cards with letters enclosed.

An acrimonious debate has broken out in the comments sections of the Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail and the CBC News web site. (Is there any other kind of debate online? And why, oh why do I go look when I know exactly what I'll find and lose my faith in humanity again?):

We live in the country and we've had community post boxes for years, so city folks should just get used to it.
Those in the country might also agree, if they think about it, that country-living requires a vehicle, which is something that not all city-dwellers have.
People need to get out of the house anyway.
A challenge for the disabled, whose time and budget are already being eaten into by shopping and getting to medical appointments. I was a home support worker - you can trust me on this.
It just makes more sense to do things online.
If you have access to a computer. Computer ownership is not universal, even in Canada.
Well, computers are readily available at your local library.
My library, just as an example, is a twenty-minute uphill jaunt, which is fine for me, but time-consuming when you factor in the return journey and the time to log on and do one's business. Not to mention extreme weather. Or the above-mentioned people with disabilities. Or ever decreasing library operating hours…

I've been addressing Christmas cards in coffee shops, scribbling messages before sealing envelopes,looking around for the increasingly difficult-to-locate mailboxes, and wondering if this is the last year I'll be doing this.

And my pretty new mailbox? Well, it's big enough for medium-sized parcels and local newsletters.
And flyers.
Oh, joy.

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