Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Going Postal

Let me start this off by saying I love mail. I love sending mail, I love getting mail. I've written an inumerable amount of letters. Long ones. Funny ones. Lovey-dovey ones. Care packages. Fan mail. Letters of complaint and protest. I collect vintage post-cards. I've been to post-card trading shows. I can even say, with no word of a lie, that some of my best friends (two of them in fact) are Posties. There are worse jobs.

My beef is not with these intrepid carriers, but with the Mothership itself and the inane amount of Postal-related doodads and gewgaws it manufactures and tries in vain to sell. I'm talking about the junky trinkets that crowd the display shelves of every postal outlet in the land (display shelves that are installed expressly for this questionable merchandise). I suspect they keep generating all this stuff just to distract people to keep their minds off the fact that they've been waiting in line for 20 minutes.

Here's a list of what my local Canada Post outlet has in stock:

-commemorative pen & pencil sets
-collectible coins and dollar bills encased in a clear resin
-commemorative stamps
-greeting cards (Hallmark)
-plush toys (Postie cats and dogs)
-tiny plastic mailboxes, replicas of old and new
-toy mail delivery trucks, old and new
-commemorative Canadiana plates
-decorative envelopes
-Pop N' Play Simpsons, Disney, bouquet, etc. pop-up cards
-playing cards
-snow globes (to remind us of the Postman's Creed)
-Harry Potter and E.T. coin set
-junior stamp collecting starter kit (do you really want your kid to get beat up?)
-postcards of Niagara Falls (in Montreal)
-watches (to remind you how late the mail is again)
-packing materials (Label it! Pad it! Box it! Shove it!)
-commemorative golf frame (??)
-stamp albums
-Christmas tree ornaments
-decorative gift bags and boxes

Who buys this stuff? More disturbingly, who thought it was a good idea to pour resin over perfectly good money and sell it for three times the value of the money itself? Oh, right, they're uncirculated. Sorry.
Maybe all those Olde Tyme postal delivery trucks and mailboxes are just a way of tugging at our heartstrings, hardened as they've been by the cold and fast world of email, cell phones and chat rooms. What that little plastic mail truck and that stuffed moose with the mail bag and jaunty cap are telling you, as you sweat profusely under your parka, is that they still believe in the power of a hand-written letter or thank-you note. And that e-cards are just another way of saying I was too late or too cheap to spend 51 cents on a stamp (52 cents effective January 15, 2007).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How can you hate the Canada Post merch? It's the cultural flotsam of the future. The best thing they sell, although I fear it has sold out already at most outlets, is the plastic ruler-type thingy they use to determine if your envelope is thin enough to go as regular mail or it has to go as a small packet. If I had my own personal one at home, I could shove my envelopes containing all kinds of cultural flotsam through it and smush them until they fit, thereby saving my money for better gifts to put inside said envelopes. But maybe there's a difference between selling an item actually used by the posties themselves and producing a lot of plastic crap to remind us of the glorious past when Canada Post wasn't privatized and run out of drug stores by people who think they can just close up at 8:50 even though your delivery notice clearly says all outlets are open until 9:00.

Candida in Winnipeg