Thursday Thoughts # 85

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."

Today's Thoughts:

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. 
How much? 
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!


  1. Raising prices only brings in more revenue if the demand remains the same, something government people never seem to grasp. Less letters will be sent and the post will go deeper in debt.

    I think our PO is going the way of the buggy whip as well. The internet and private competition is taking over.

  2. In the USA the postal service is also a money loser - the USPS is a quasi-governmental agency and yes, the internet is one of the reasons the post office losing money - people simply don't send as many letters and cards, even bills. I get my bills via email and pay them using on-line banking. I often wonder how people without computers and an internet connection manage their lives!

    There are so many delivery companies that the post office really can't compete.


  3. The Pony Express died--I think the Post Office is dying, too!!

  4. There are workers left at Australia Post? Not so many years ago it was next day delivery within a capital city and two days for elsewhere. It is quite outrageous to cut the service so much and increase the price so much.

  5. I really can't understand it. The postie has to do his rounds to deliver the 'priority' mail. So how is it a money saving to not deliver other mail.
    And the cost hike is huge. And unjustified.

  6. As you say it's a whole lot of nonsense. Australia Post is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

    When stamps cost three pence, as you say, there were two deliveries per day and one on Saturday and the postman rode a push bike or in some instances walked! Posties didn't us motorbikes/scooters. Now stamps cost $1.00 or $1.50 if you want "express" delivery.

    Cobb & Co., would be quicker!

    As for the CEO...I'll say no more...I'm sure you know what I think about that situation!!

  7. Don’t get me started on the incompetent mismanagement of Australia Post!!! This comment box will be filled with obscene expletives – most directed at their CEO and the government :(

    I’ve had too many unfavourable dealings with them in the past year.

    To send parcels around 600gm is becoming cost prohibitive – and that’s within Australia. Internationally, it’s almost crippling!

    So very frustrating for home-run businesses who depend on sales.
    Speaking as someone who works from home and relies on reasonable postage prices to make a sale attractive.
    This is no longer the case.
    I have to “absorb” most of the postage costs, otherwise customers will be put off by them and look elsewhere.

    And, there are few consistently reliable postal/courier alternatives. I’ve heard horror stories about most of them too.

    Thousands of honest working Australians have lost their jobs with AP. Some scurrilous contractors underpaid their existing workers and have illegally used foreign students.

    I know I wouldn’t want to work in an AP office. The angst directed at them daily would be unbearable.

    Who knows what change will bring to AP when it is privitised.....

  8. joeh; there's no guarantee usage will remain the same; people will use other methods because of the price rise, as has happened in so many other instances.

    Grace; I still get my ills via postal mail, I saw it as helping Aus.Post stay afloat, but now there's talk of utilities companies adding the postal cost to the bill for consumers to pay. If that happens, I'll switch to e-billing. I pay them online, which is handy as it means I don't have to go out to pay if it's pouring rain, or if I'm unwell.

    fishducky; perhaps we should resurrect the Pony Express?

    Andrew; yes, there are workers still. The ones who stuff mail into private PO Boxes, and of course the posties on their bikes. Then there are the ones in the giant mail sorting houses who sort and bag governmental mail, plus catalogues etc, to be sent to suburbs and rural towns. I worked in one for a while.

    Elephant's Child; exactly! There is no justification for the delay in delivery.

    Lee; I wouldn't mind seeing a Cobb&Co coach doing the rounds! it could be drawn by a team of Clydesdales :)
    The CEO deserves whatever level of hell he is destined for.

    Vicki; I thought about homegrown businesses and their deliveries when I heard about the price rises. I think its shocking the amount we pay now for parcels. Years ago, I could send a Christmas parcel to my brother in Fremantle AND one to my sister in Port Pirie and pay less than $10 total. Now even a small package for my sister, about the size of a VHS tape, costs $12.95!
    Thousands of honest working Australians have lost jobs in so many other areas too, the ranks of the unemployed continue to swell daily.
    Are they going to be privatised? I thought there were ideas being thrown around to make them more of a shopping experience, going back to the days when the post office was just a corner of the local store, or having the post office transform into a "one-stop-shop" with much more than just postal activities available.

  9. That 'two business days longer' actually means anytime we bloody well want to. There must be plenty of people like me who demand paper accounts by mail mostly to annoy big business but also because I need a record for Power of Attorney for mum.

  10. JahTeh; "anytime we bloody well want to" is just the same as they do now, so what's going to be different is what I'd like to know.

  11. We don't like price hikes and we don't like the things and services taken away from you.
    All this nonsense about delivery being longer is ridiculous encourages people not to use at all, unless necessary especially letter and cards. Of course online shopping parcels could take longer.

  12. Margaret-whiteangel; I've always thought online parcels would take longer, but I've been surprised more than once to find online, overseas purchases arriving well before the expected date, while things sent locally from just one state away take longer. Our service is sometimes unacceptably slow. Bills always seem to arrive on time though...


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