Opinion

Progress is questionable when it comes to mail delivery changes

Last week, the mail slot clattered and a clump of papers and envelopes hit the floor. When my old cat was alive that was always a signal for him to run down the stairs and attack whatever was on the floor and scatter it around. I’m sure he always thought it was some type of home invasion, but then who ever knows what goes on in a cat’s brain.

I didn’t run down to check the mail because nothing of significance comes through that slot anymore. Like most folks, I do most of my bill paying by telephone or online, so most of the debris that is delivered is flyers, fast food coupons,  or letters soliciting funds for any number of charitable organizations.

Most of those requests are for my aunt, who passed away five years ago. I was her executor and had her mail re-directed to my home. I have tried many times to get her name removed from these organization’s mailing lists, but they still come. It makes me wonder how many donated dollars are wasted  by these organizations senselessly sending out letters to deceased persons.

Canada Post says that over the next five years they are phasing out home delivery to over one-third of Canadians and will be installing more mail boxes in our communities. They tell us fewer people are using the mail service and they are losing money. So they are going to reduce service and raise the price of stamps. Is that really the best way to encourage people to use your service?

It makes as much sense as petroleum companies telling people that they are increasing the cost of gasoline and you will have to pump it yourself. But we are Canadians so we shrug and accept it.

The transport minister says she is looking forward to seeing progress in the postal service. In the 1950s and 1960s, our mail came to Box 358 at the post office on Douglas Crescent, and when someone went to town they picked up the mail. Explain to me how, 40 years later, having to go to a mailbox again is progress.

While I’m ranting, let’s talk about telephone books.  I got three delivered the other day. The big one is the Lower Mainland business directory and Yellow Pages. The medium one is the Langley directory with local Yellow Pages and the little one, with microscopic printing, is for Fort Langley and Aldergrove.

Again, we are hearing that phone books are dinosaurs and are being phased out. Recycling depots report thousands of telephone books still in plastic wrap are being tossed out. So who decided that if the phone books are not being used any more, instead of one book like we used to get, let’s produce three for every home and deliver them annually?

I’m sure we’d all like to think that some serious thinking and research goes into these decisions. But no doubt, a backroom Ottawa bureaucrat over coffee one Monday morning, complained about the mailman walking across his lawn and his colleagues said, “Hey, let’s stop delivering mail to homes, that will teach him a lesson.” A few e-mails later, the suggestion appears on the floor of the Parliament.

If the change comes, in rain or hail or sleet or snow, I will trudge to our new mailboxes to get my mail, if it hasn’t been stolen. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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