Canada Post and wrong turns

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Neither snow, nor rain — neither letter carrier either!

Well, looks like Canada Post just dropped off a nice Christmas present — along with a bunch of flyers many of us don’t want.

What’s in the box?

Eight thousand lost jobs, no more letter carriers, more group mailboxes and an 85 cent stamp.

This from a huge corporation with a monopoly on mail delivery, that owns 91 per cent of Purolator Canada which itself had revenue of $1.6 billion and earnings before tax of $37 million in 2012.

They hope, no doubt, that exactly two weeks before Christmas with the House of Commons closed and most of us in the seasonal spirit of goodwill towards man, we will forget.

Forget? The hell we will!

Driving customers away

For years, with incompetent management and a militant union that disrupted the mail delivery with strike after strike, they drove us to couriers and more long-distance phone calls in order to communicate.

When they saw this happening, they acquired their own courier.

Then, with the advent of fax and Internet email, we rushed to get away from the lousy service and the attitude that permeated the whole company.

In 1973, I worked for a hardware distributor in Ontario.

Our dealers ordered their weekly needs from our catalogue by writing quantities in the space provided on the individual page.

They removed these pages from the catalogue and mailed them to us. Orders were processed, shipped and delivered — along with replacement pages to the dealer — in three or four days.

Too many stamps

Later, Canada Post got in the philatelic (stamp collecting) business. It seemed like a new stamp was issued every two weeks.

It cost a fortune to try to keep a complete up-to-date collection — and collectors dropped out in droves.

I was one of them. They killed that goose.

Then they started closing rural post offices, a natural gathering place and the only federal government presence in many of our small communities.

Today, many in our aging population live alone, without a car.

Some are physically challenged to even go outside.

With no family nearby, the letter carrier is the highlight of their day — and often the first to notify authorities when they see no life around the place and mail piling up.

Part of the community

In the 1960s, Peter, a close friend of mine, worked for the post office in Ontario as a letter carrier.

We could drive down any street in town and he could tell me who lived in every house and apartment.

On his final walks before Christmas, his mailbag would be just as full at the end of the day as first thing in the morning. It was full of cards with cash, gifts, cakes and the “glass turkeys” his customers gave him for Christmas.

Adding insult to injury

One frozen January morning, he slipped on a step and broke his ankle.

The customer called the post office on his behalf, and his boss said, “Ask him if he can continue until noon, as we are shorthanded.”

Forget? The hell we will!

Laurie Blackwood Pike writes from Placentia.

Organizations: Canada Post, House of Commons

Geographic location: Ontario, Placentia

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