Mail system in throes of change

The Victoria Times Colonist announced online that it would cease publishing Monday papers beginning June 22.
Now in its 151st year, the Times Colonist is finding that publishing and delivering paper on Mondays is a losing proposition.
It joins other Canadian newspapers in reducing the number of days it publishes a printed version. The online edition will continue.
Papers such as the Detroit Free Press, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, and the Christian Science Monitor publish more online editions than printed ones. The Christian Science Monitor, in fact, has done away with its whole group of paper carriers.
Some day in the future, a child will ask their parents: “What were letter carriers and what did they do?” Or, “You were a paper carrier. What did you carry?”
Sounds improbable? Hardly.
In the United States, to reduce delivery costs, the U.S. postal system is looking to do away with Saturday deliveries and the operating of post offices 24 hours a day. Most post offices in the States will cease being open on Saturdays.
That will put a change to the unofficial slogan of the service: “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.”
The use of credit cards, and computers, may be having an effect.
In Canada, Canada Post has put several options on the table to cut its losses. They include raising the cost of a letter to $1 and doing away completely with home delivery. Canada’s 50,000 plus letter carriers are becoming a burden on the system.
The post office’s solution is that “super boxes” will be placed throughout the community and everyone will pick up their mail from there.
In the same way that newspaper readership is declining, the number of handwritten letters between people has almost disappeared. In today’s world of credit cards and debit cards, and businesses reducing the credit they offer people, the number of statements that used to be delivered at the end of each month has almost disappeared.
It is not surprising. Most everything one does these days is paid for at the time of purchase. And rather than writing a cheque and putting it in the mail back to cable companies, utility companies, or telephone companies, we, as consumers, go online and make direct payment to those companies—bypassing the 50-cent stamp.
It is easy, and convenient.
Even at the newspaper, we are finding more and more customers looking to receive their invoices, statements, and tear sheets online and then they are making payments directly to our banking accounts. It saves them time and energy.
Everything is packaged together and easy to take into their accounting systems, and make faster payments.
As consumers, we really like the convenience of our debit cards and credit cards, and the ease of making payments. However, the reduction in the use of the mail system is now starting to have consequences.
Today people can go online—even at the last minute—and send those cards electronically to any place in the world.
The postal system used to get a boost from Christmas cards, Easter cards, birthday cards, and Mother’s Day cards.
In the future, delivering that home-made card may not be that easy.

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