Thursday, June 3, 2010

Going postal?

There are a lot of things we'll miss about Colorado -- the mountains (both for breathtaking views and for the joy of hiking in them), the blue skies and dry breezes, our friends and colleagues, and Saturday mail delivery.

When we first moved to the States back in 1987 I had never heard of 6-day-a-week mail delivery. It was astounding to me, like having an extra Christmas every year. 'Cause I don't know about you, but I get excited about mail. Stupidly excited, especially considering nowadays most of the mail is either junk or bills. It's not like back in the day when people actually wrote letters. By hand. On paper. Then addressed an envelope and affixed a stamp and walked to a mailbox and mailed it. A lot of effort used to go into communicating with friends and loved ones.

E-mail has changed that, for the most part, but we still get real letters and cards from our family, and I do treasure those.

Plus, occasionally, rarely, there is a cheque in the mail. Money, honey!

So I get excited. I think it's a pavlovian response -- that random positive reinforcement that gets my heart racing six times a week. So I will miss that.

What I won't miss are the ridiculously long line-ups at the post office. It is decidedly worse here than in Canada, where postal service is privatized. I'm talking a half-hour line-up for service at 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon, and that's not during Holiday season. At Christmas time I think I waited an hour and a half to reach the counter. (Only to be informed that they had misplaced my package. Sorry.) I can honestly say I've never faced that long a waiting time in Canada.

On the other hand, when I did finally reach the counter today, I was informed that there was NO COST to forward our mail, not even to Canada. No cost at all! Can you believe it? And that's not just for three months, but forever (apparently). In Canada it would cost $205 to forward our mail out-of-country for 12 months. Guess that's the big downside of privatization, eh?

(As an aside, the postal worker today did not ask for any identification at all. I just filled out the form (in Steve's name, in fact), signed it (with my name) and handed it to him. Kinda scary. Maybe I just look really honest. The Canada Post online system requires two pieces of ID, which seems reasonable. Talk about potential for identity theft!)

I honestly don't know which system I'd choose if I had my druthers: six-day-a-week pulse-racing, long line-ups, and free mail redirection versus five-day-a-week delivery, short queues, and ridiculously expensive mail redirection.

Ah well. I really don't have any choice in the matter. But if you could choose, which would you prefer?

And as a treat for those of you who've read this far, check out this cartoon about someone who is as mail-obsessed as I am.


  1. I like the new look of your blog. And I really enjoy your Canada vs. US take on everything. Definitely broadens my scope since I've only lived in US.

    Interesting that you feel that there may not be enough security checking to forward your mail while it is absolutely OK to show two forms of ID in Canada just to forward your mail. It made me really think twice about all of the hubbub in Arizona that people might actually be asked to show their ID if they are in a traffic situation. Profiling, I think not. Smart security is what it is!

  2. I agree: smart security is a very good thing.


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