Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Postage due

A story on Stuff this morning was headlined, “Mail delivery faces axe”. It began, "New Zealand Post is proposing to reduce mail delivery to as little as three days a week to cope with falling volumes."

I can't say this is a surprise, though I bet the three days thing is to get what they really want, which is probably five days for now: Scare us peasants with three days so that we think four or five days isn't so bad (National has used this same tactic many times in the past).

Be that as it may, I think that in only a few years mail delivery will end altogether. I honestly can't remember the last time I posted anything within New Zealand—it would probably be years—and I don’t receive much real mail, either. I get most of my former mail—bills, statements, newsletters, etc.—by email. Hardly anyone I know sends greeting cards anymore, and no one sends personal letters. I don’t, either. I also don't subscribe to any paper magazines (though I have subscriptions to a couple electronic versions). We pay all our bills online one way or another.

Add it all up, and we can go for days on end without getting any real mail at all. We certainly can go for months without ever sending any real mail.

This is partly a generational thing. Many older people still write cheques to pay bills and then post them. They may send greeting cards and subscribe to magazines. They might even write the occasional letter. Young people, as I discussed before, use social networks and texting to communicate, not greeting cards or letters.

Like those digital natives and many of my fellow digital immigrants, I expect to be able to pay a bill online, no matter how small the company or the bill. The last time I wrote a cheque to pay any sort of bill was several years ago, but once recently the only way to avoid doing that was to go to a Postshop (post office) and pay in person. Yes, I was grumpy—hard to imagine me being grumpy about anything, I know.

But seriously, the amount of mail we receive is so small that if they did go to 3-day delivery I doubt we’d even notice. Since I don’t send anything by mail, either, it wouldn’t be any inconvenience for me in that direction, either.

Still, I realise that for some digital immigrants and those who are—what’s the term? “digital exiles”?—a 3-day delivery schedule would be a real hardship. Even so, it's inevitable and we need to find ways to ease such people into that reality (another reason why I think 5 days per week, or possibly 4, is more likely). To its credit, NZ Post has been working to make paying bills at their Postshops easier, so I’m sure they’ll be part of the solution.

But drastic change is inevitable. We’d best prepare now.

The photo at top is a modified version of a photo available from Morguefile.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

US 1st class postage just went up to 46 cents. Hadn't heard about it until yesterday, when it went into effect.