Christmas Cards

My wife has spent the weekend going through and drastically reducing the list of people we normally mail Christmas cards to. The list stood at about 120 people although I think its now down to a fraction of its former size with further pruning to come. The main reason for this exercise is due to the now high cost in postage of sending Christmas geetings to friends. Without drastically cutting, our usual mailing list would cost about the same as filling a car with an empty petrol tank.

It does make one wonder if the Royal Mail have ever heard to the law of diminishing returns? At £0.50 for the cheapest card, the nice gesture of being able to wish friends a Merry Christmas in a tangible way is simply becoming an unaffordable luxury. With the current economic recession, I suspect many other people will be making similar decisions.

The Christmas period is when our Royal Mail normally employ a lot of extra temporary staff to assist with the bulk of increased Christmas post. I cannot help but wonder this year if any additional staff will be required at all?

Clearly modern technology with the use of free email, Instant Messages, and free international video calls through organisations like Skype are having a drastic effect on the Royal Mail’s finances. When I was younger there used to be at least two deliveries a day and a second class post was unheard of. Now we hear there is no guarantee of next day delivery, even for first class mail. The distinction between the two classes of mail have always puzzled me. How it works in practice I do not know but I sometimes have visions of second class mail being put to one side creating a growing snowball effect of mail awaiting to be processed. Personally I have always though if enough people stopped sending mail first class it would simply cease to exist and all mail would have to be processed at the same time in the same way.

The Royal mail also introduced an additional variable charge based on what I find very confusing, dimensions of the envelope. I even had a card put my letter box once saying that some of my mail was being held at the sorting office as the sender had paid the wrong fee for the dimensions of the envelope. As the recipient of the mail, it would appear that I was to be punished by additional hefty fees to claim my mail and then only after I had incurred even additional expense by travelling to the sorting office some eight miles away.

Needless to say I never bothered to collect this mail or pay what I consider a swinging penalty fee. For all I known this mail is still being held in the sorting office. I wonder what happens to this unclaimed mail. Will the sorting office one day burst at the seams from an Elephant’s graveyard of unclaimed mail, or is it somehow disposed of? I just hope my unclaimed mail was not a legacy from un unknown relative.

All I know that if it were not for modern technology, many people would be learning the art of the bush telegraph. I wonder if some time in the future the Royal Mail will stop delivering mail altogether and become a bygone historical institution? Who knows, it may be sooner than we think.

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