Thursday, August 20, 2015

Clustered

Ever since Canada Post decided to completely eliminate door-to-door delivery for older neighbourhoods that were built before the cluster-box method was implemented, a lot of reaction has come about, with (no doubt) protests about the change. And I get the point of view that says the placement of the clusters are bad. I can understand it if you don't like where Canada Post has decided to put their boxes - that is, if they're on your lawn or on a dangerous corner or somewhere far away, secluded. I just don't get the point of view that says, 'we don't like this, period.'

I'm speaking as someone who grew up in neighbourhoods that were built before mandatory boxes were added to them, where, until recently, I got door-to-door delivery. Despite that, I am strongly in favour of this change.

In this day and age, receiving mail is very rare. The only mail the average person likely gets are bills, credit card offers and junk mail. How often does one receive hand-written letters anymore? The last time I sent anything by mail was to my father and his family in Jordan - once, earlier this year. The time before that it was to my "girlfriend" in Calgary in December of 2011. The time before that...sometime in the early 2000s, to my paternal aunt when she lived in Montreal. And this was when we exchanged letters back and forth. Before that it was the 90s and earlier, when I received handwritten letters and drawings (and even a tape recording) from my father while he lived in Africa. Back then it was probably commonplace. I know my mother has old letters.

When I sent that package to my father, he didn't send anything back. He e-mailed me to acknowledge the gifts/letters. Everything he sent me he gave me in person during one of his visits. Otherwise, personal correspondence is all electronic and instant. You can choose to have all your bills and statements delivered to you online. Theoretically you could eliminate all paper mail except for the flyers and junk. Why would you rather pay tax dollars for the door-to-door delivery of junk?

Because change is so obviously difficult for people in general (I'm not much of an exception myself) Canada Post was quite generous with their boxes. There's one right in front of my house, one around the corner, another on the next street...you can stand at one cluster and look at another one on the other street not 100 metres away. Is that so difficult? Instead of opening the door and reaching out, I have to walk an extra forty feet across the street. Gee.

I like this change. It saves money and reflects how things have changed. All new neighbourhoods since the 90s have had these clusters, so it shouldn't be such a big deal for those older neighbourhoods that have to adapt. The only problems I foresee are lighting issues (some boxes are not in well-lit areas, including the ones on my street - winter days, after all, are short) and snow removal problems. I doubt people are going to enjoy having to hike over a huge snow bank to access their mail box once winter has truly arrived. I don't know if removal drivers take the boxes into account when they're clearing a street, but I hope they do.

Red Cloud
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