Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dear Canada Post, a break up letter

Dear Canada Post,

I loved you when I was a teenager. I could write a letter to my friend, pay you thirty cents, and you would send my letter to her. Even when the envelope groaned under the length we made our addresses. Canada, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy... you still got it there within two days.

When I was an adult, I lost a lot of respect for you over one word. Insurance. To my way of thinking, when you pay for a service you should get that service. I pay you my money to send a parcel from my local post office to a friend or family member. That parcel is in your possession until it's picked up at the other end. Until my friend or family member picks up the parcel, it is your responsibility. That is what I paid you for, to deliver my parcel safely and efficiently. So why do you refuse to promise this unless I pay you extra?

When I go to the grocery store, I don't have to pay extra to ensure the cashier rings my products in correctly. In fact, if they screw up I get the product for free. When I go to a restaurant, I don't have to pay extra to make sure the waiter brings me what I order and remembers to serve me. And when I order a product from a store with shipping, I don't pay extra to ensure it gets delivered. If I don't receive the product, they ship it again. Your insurance reminds me more of the mafia or, at the very least, the mafia as seen in fiction books and on TV. You know, the old, "You never know when someone might just come in and rob your store and break your kneecaps. If you give us insurance, we'll make sure this doesn't happen."

I've been slowly breaking up with you over the years. My friends and I email each other now instead of sending letters for example. About the only things that go through the mail now are cards. To me it's just not Christmas or a birthday without a real card you can pick up and hold. An ecard just doesn't have the same feel.

I picked up a birthday card for my sister. Nothing huge or glittery; just a nice, simple, standard sized birthday card. And, since it's my sister and I wanted to send her something (while avoiding "sell a kidney" shipping fees plus urging to buy insurance) I added a gift card.

I went to your counter at our local Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up a local stamp. The cashier informed me it was 69 cents. I fished out all my change but only had 61 cents. A total irony as when I went online later to double check stamp prices for 1982, I discovered the set price is 61 cents. However, you allow kiosks with your name and products, staffed by people in Canada Post uniforms to set their own prices. In order to get the real Canada Post price, you have to go to an actual outlet. I don't know where that is. The one  building I knew is for sale. It was moot anyways as the cashier plunked my card down on a scale and informed me my standard birthday card was "oversize" by 0.04g and therefore twice the price. Apparently gift cards are too heavy for letter mail and glitter can tip the scale too.

I paid my extra money and, as I was walking away, the cashier chucked the card into a sliding drawer and cheerfully informed me that since I hadn't paid for any form of expedited parcel delivery, my card would be delivered in six days. Six? What happened to 2 - 3 day service? Heck, I walked past a mailbox on my way home and it claimed four days for national service. Still a day more than I remember but two less than I was told.

And now I'm pondering Christmas. If a simple plastic gift card doubles my price, what are a picture and a letter going to do? Heck, according to you, even if I skip the letter and picture, some glitter on the card might bump me over the weight limit. You might have me by the short and curlies there. I can't think of another organization that will deliver Christmas cards for any decent price. But today was my last gift card. From now on presents will be bought and shipped through companies offering free delivery.

So Canada Post, it was fun while it lasted. And while I'd love to leave you with the face saving "it's me, not you" speech, this time it really is you. You might see me over the Christmas holidays, but if you don't you'll know why.

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