from I shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett:
"Every family, even up in the mountains, kept at least one pig to act as garbage can in the summer and as pork, bacon, ham and sausages during the rest of the year. The pig was important."
from The Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett:
"Nanny stood up and tried to look haughty, which is hard to do when you have a face like a happy apple."
Australia Post, our national mail service, has been in the news here lately.
They're losing money.
Due to a lot of internet shopping and emailing etc, they've declared a failing of the business.
People aren't sending as many letters and cards to each other via 'snail mail' as they used to.
They're losing money! Australia Post that is, not the general population.
So they've come up with a plan.
Increase the cost of a stamp to $1 and reduce services.
I can see how increasing the cost of a stamp might bring in more cash for the company, but reducing services doesn't seem right.
Ignoring the letters and cards situation for a moment, consider the online shopping which 'they' say is further reducing their business. This can't be true. Yes, people shop online, but then the packages have to be delivered, right?
And who does this? Australia Post of course.
Not exclusively, many things are sent by courier, but so they were in the past also.
Where's the difference?
In the distant past when I was about fourteen, we had twice a day mail deliveries Monday to Friday, and Saturday morning deliveries. I know this because I had a crush on the 'postie' and would wait by the front door to get a glimpse of him on his bicycle. The crush died when I saw him in town one day kissing his girlfriend.
Anyway, the current service is to be reduced and a three tier service will take its place.
I've thrown away the paperwork we received in the mail, so maybe I have it a little wrong, but there will be "regular mail" which will now take up to two business days longer to be delivered, more expensive "priority mail" which will be delivered faster than "regular mail" and even more expensive "express mail" which will be delivered the next day.
Unless it's posted on a weekend I presume, because our Post Offices aren't open then.
None of this sounds any different to the current service. Except for the raised costs.
In my carefully considered opinion, and the opinions of several thousand other people who have written in to the newspaper editor pages, the biggest problem with Australia Post's loss of money isn't the lack of people posting letters, but rather the obscene amount the CEO receives as his annual salary.
OVER half a million dollars!
I believe he gave himself a pay rise last year.
If he put some of that money back into the business instead of his pockets, maybe Australia Post wouldn't be struggling quite so much.
And if they didn't lose so many letters and parcels, people would have more trust in them too.
Then there's this article from our Sunday Paper, 21 February 2016:
"Did a test on how long it would take to send a letter to my brother.
Paid the dollar stamp, posted the letter - it took two weeks for the letter to arrive at his house.
My brother lives next door. Two cans and a piece of string can do a better job than Australia Post."
Maybe all they really need to do is lift their game. Get off their butts and do the job they're paid to do?
Possibly they're a bit demoralised (demotivated?) by their low wages in comparison to their CEO!