Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You've all got mail

Laval, QC, October 2011
About this photo: It's Thematic's metallica week. Just click here to get involved.
The U.S. Postal Service has been making all sorts of noise that it's at risk of shutting down if it doesn't stop bleeding money. I get it, as most of its former business of delivering letters to pen pals and mail ordered Garden Weasels to octagenarian gardeners has been hoovered by the Intertubes.

Still, it's more than a little sad to see yet another physical business fall victim to the creeping expansion of virtualized infrastructure. Email may make it to your brain infinitely faster than snail mail, but the Internet lacks a friendly mail carrier who knows your kids' names and checks up on you on his daily rounds.

All of which makes me wonder whether scenes like this one - this is the wall-of-mailboxes at my in-laws'/mother's condo building* - will even exist in a few years.

Your turn: Is actual mail destined to disappear? Do we lose something if it does?

* Yes, they all live in the same building. Rather convenient when we come to town, as it cuts down on the driving. And it gives the kids another excuse to ride the creepy elevators.


Steve Gravano said...

I blogged about my old postman and how I felt about getting a personal letter in the mail Link here here. There will be changes in the USPS, but I believe that won't fold completely. I think about all the history books I've read and how they reference letters. Will we be able to do the same with e-mail? Gees, I can't even find what I'm looking for on the wwww, let alone something I don't know exists.

21 Wits said...

Case in point, I sent a videotube birthday greeting on Facebook, she responded with a FB message that I always remember her birthday no matter what. Then I put a handmade memory book in the U.S. mail and got a text message immediately and a few days later a beautiful (hand-written) thank-you card for it in the U.S. mail! Lately I've been sending doodles and stuff my daughter made as a child to her through the MAIL to share with her 2 year old- we need more HAPPY mail in our boxes, cuz lately even the junk mail has been far less in my snail mail. If the home mail delivery dies a bit of ourselves does our troops and our mail service! ...and, I think some of us sometimes get lazy and instead of getting a stamp and finding a mailbox they just hand invitations and etc to people....someday we may be sorry for that.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I heard that Saturday deliveries will be stopping soon.... I heard from my mail carrier that employees are being cut at the main warehouses... A two day delivery now takes much longer than 2 days... and that is a quote from my carrier... People are doing more online banking, buying, etc... Fed Ex, UPS stores are all over the place.. No reason to go into a p.o. any longer.

Linda Roth said...

I like getting birthday cards and party invitations and handwritten thank you notes. I like sending birthday cards instead of e-cards, writing thank you notes for people's kindnesses, and sending invites guests can put up on their frig doors. I like the personal nature of hand delivered mail. And our postman's name sixty five years ago was Ernie. He had a craggy face, was very thin, had gnarly hands, was slightly stooped and had sandy colored hair that stuck out from beneath his official hat. My mom always gave him a gift at Christmas. He gave good service and took care of our mail while we were on vacation and brought it to us the day after we got home without us having to go to the post office or make a call. --I also like a real newspaper, home delivered,to hold in my hands and read at my leisure.Stiff necks and hunched shoulders are a bitch.

Unknown said...

I think that snail mail is going to stick around even if the days of delivery are decreased. Some things just have to go snail mail! Some people will never own or use computers.

Anonymous said...

Our mailman thanks us if we hand him a letter to be mailed. It's his job on the line, I know, but personal touches like that make me sad to think about the system shutting down.

I love that your kids' grandparents all live in the same building.

H said...

My kids and I both love snail mail and our postman. We do NOT love the post office, or their employees. Sadly, their customer service, or lack of it, cuts down on some of their business. I only recently found an office that is pleasant to go to, but it's in an awkward part of town that requires funky parking if you're not lucky to find one of 2 spots outside it. I can't imagine life without snail mail, but life without a walk in post office could happen.