Unless you've been living in a cave the last week or so, you probably know that Canada Post unveiled its new five-point plan recently, which includes:
- community mailboxes as CP phases out home delivery;
- addressing the cost of labour (which is fancy business speak for laying off 8,000+ Canada Post employees. Well, supposedly the 8,000 number will be achieved through attrition, but I'm quite the skeptic when it comes to corporations making that claim)
- increasing the price of lettermail stamps from $0.63 to $1 ($0.85 per stamp if you buy booklets or coils, which CP declares is a "discount for customers that use the mail the most." In the words of Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Where I come from, a 35% increase in price should never be referred to as a "discount.")
I'm not thrilled about community mailboxes, especially given the alarming number of documented break-ins of said mailboxes
over the last five years (a one-stop shop for parcels, credit card offers, and checks—how can a thief resist that kind of sweetness just sitting right there?). And I'm a relatively mobile person (I say relatively because I'm just simply lazy, and therefore don't move much,
by choice), how are people who have mobility issues expected to get their mail? We know how exciting it is to get our mail every day, why is Canada Post depriving people of that pleasure?!! (However, to be fair, I do see the logic in it, even if I don't necessarily agree.)
But what I'm particularly incensed about is the massive increase in postage. Particularly because I went to the store earlier this week to stock up on permanent stamps in anticipation, and was told that Canada Post immediately ceased selling all their permanent stamps.
So, let me get this straight: the five-point plan is intended to help Canada Post become financially sustainable. In other words, to cut costs and make money. I'm no genius, but it strikes me that implementing a country-wide plan to recall
permanent stamps that are already in stores, quickly print new Canadian domestic stamps with the $0.63 denomination on them, and then express ship them to back to stores for sale DOES. NOT. SAVE. MONEY. Perhaps I'm misreading the situation, but it seems like a gross, unnecessary expenditure versus selling the stamps they already have printed and in stores.
It's not as if they are going to bring out the 2013 permanent stamps and try to sell them in 2014. It's more likely that the 2013 permanent stamps that Canada Post refused to sell to customers will just be trashed because they'll have new 2014 permanent stamps in March that they'll sell for the $0.85 a pop. I feel as though Canada Post has become that annoying family member who complains about being broke, but only after they've bought a diamond spatula, a silver Mercedes, and gold caps for their teeth. Gee thanks, Uncle Bill, you're SWELL.
And that's not even taking into account the ridiculous effect the changes will have on snail mail.
This is where I use a total legit analogy
Take the bus service for example: my city's bus service is crap. It's utter crap. The bus drivers are rude, they never run on time, and sometimes the bus doesn't even come at all. So, naturally, people stop taking the bus if they can because it's a crap system. The transit system realizes that less people are taking the bus, so they increase the price of bus passes and reduce bus service. Because in a nonsensical world, that should encourage people to take the bus again. Rinse and repeat as less and less people take the bus. Increasing prices and reducing services DOES NOT ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO USE YOUR SERVICES. It's not rocket science, people.
I know that for non-snail mailers, Canada Post eliminating home delivery and raising stamp prices seemingly doesn't impact them. I've heard many people say that they "don't remember the last time they bought a stamp" or "they don't even know how much stamps cost now." In response, I say this: they may not know how much an individual stamp costs because they haven't sent lettermail in a while, but when's the last time they sent a package? Bought something off the internet? It's all part and parcel (pun semi-intended). If Canada Post decides to raise the price of lettermail stamps, how long until they proportionally raise the price of sending parcels? And you think the price of shipping on internet shopping is outrageous now? Oh, just you wait.
Everyone talks about how snail mail is dead. If they do a quick search online, they'll quickly realize that it's not. We snail mailers are vocal advocates for letters and postcards, and we will continue to write letters, regardless of what happens. But it's folly for non-letter writers to think that the changes to Canada Post won't affect them. Everyone
gets mail—whether it's bills or packages or magazines—and the changes to Canada Post and its services will
affect us all (well, Canadians, that is. I doubt people in New Zealand care too much). Plus, the 8,000 people who could be laid off? Yeah, I'm sure they would be thrilled by the continued employment.
I've stockpiled as many permanent stamps as possible, but if Canada Post raises the price of US and international stamps to the same degree that they increased domestic prices, I'll have no choice but to stop writing as many people around the world. I love my penpals, and this would make me very sad. Please don't make me emo, Canada Post! I've always known that snail mailing isn't a cheap passion, but having more than X number of penpals is starting to get a bit too rich for my blood.
So, what can we do?
There are a number of petitions
out there. Search google
and sign one of them. Sign all of them! Make up names and sign them a hundred times (just kidding. Don't do this. I doubt the government is going to buy that "Mitty Mitterson the Third" or "Luke Skywalker Texas Ranger" are real people). Write letters to your government officials. It may not make a difference, but at least we can try.
But most importantly: KEEP SENDING SNAIL MAIL! To everyone! To anyone! Remind them that they need to write a letter to get a letter! Because each piece of mail we send does matter, and we've got to keep up the good fight.