Friday, 20 March 2015

Royal Mail? Australia Post?

I have written a lot of letters in my life time. I have written more letters than most people but there was a reason for those letters. They were letters asking people to support what eventually became International Literacy Year.
I probably used Royal Mail for about half of them because I started writing the letters seriously when I was living in London.  I admit I used "second class" post because it was cheaper and, although I was prepared to go without all sorts of things to write those letters, I was not prepared to pay for them to go first class when I knew they would get there just as safely a day or so later. 
And they did get there. Royal Mail was efficient. Compared with the Downunder postal service of the day it was extraordinarily efficient. I suspect it would still seem that way.  Letters probably still go from London to Edinburgh in, at most, a couple of days. 
The same distance here Downunder can take much longer. It can be a week or more. 
I know there are problems. Downunder has a much smaller population and it is scattered across a much wider area. (That said however the majority of mail goes between the various capital cities.) It may well be easier to send much greater volumes of mail over much shorter distances.
There are good reasons to still use the postal service and to send a letter to someone. Unless the mail is tampered with then information in it is much more secure than it would be in an e-mail. There is still no way to send original documents by e-mail. 
And there is the psychology of a letter. It is still much more personal. The recipient will still take greater notice of it. It isn't part of that email in-box stuffed with spam and silly jokes and health scares your friends believe you need to have. 
I still use letters to make first-time contact with people I don't know.
But, the cost is rising. I could not now afford to write all those thousands of letters I wrote so many years ago. The cost would, relatively, be much higher. Australia Post is considering a charge of $1:50 for a letter which might get there in a couple of days but could take longer. Compared with the minute cost of hitting the "send" button people are going to use email. 
Handwriting is, I suspect, a lost art. (I could never write anyway so it worries me less than it should.) But - letter writing is also becoming a lost art. Email is somehow different. And yes, that bothers me.

No comments: