Monday, March 8, 2010

Thoughts on Snail Mail

The U.S. Postal Service announced last week that there would likely be yet another rate increase and/or service cuts such as eliminating Saturday mail delivery citing increasing costs and blaming email for the decline of the service.

But here's a thought: cut rates and increase service. Why do they really think people are even turning to e-holiday cards and e-birth announcements? It costs two times more to mail a photo card than it (many times) costs to have it printed. I'm a card-maker. I used to love to send birthday cards to family and friends alike. In the last two years I've cut back to sending cards only to close family members -- and even then only if I will not be seeing them in person to hand them their cards.

It's sad really. The art of letter writing is nearly dead. Do I blame email? Not necessarily. If it cost me 30 cents to mail a letter to a friend I would do it more often. I enjoy writing, the physical act of putting pen to paper...the fact that I can do that anywhere and do not need electricity or a battery to do so. I enjoy seeing other people's handwriting. Think about it. How many people that you interact with on a daily--even weekly--basis would you be able to recognize their handwriting?

Granted, a 50 cent letter here and there isn't going to break the bank, but if it didn't cost that much I'd guess more people would do it more often. Who doesn't want to see a letter in the mailbox instead of a bill? If you are trying to win someone's heart, an old-fashioned love letter that arrives in the mail is sure to make a better statement than a text message. My kids are always asking if they got anything in the mail. Getting mail is special (if it's not junk mail or a bill) and everyone enjoys getting something.

Where the cost of a stamp really limits the number of items I mail is when it is Christmas time or when we've wanted to send birth announcements. I used to mail 70-100 Christmas cards, but last season I sent a mere 45. At 50 cents per card to mail (cards that cost 23 cents a piece to print) that's $22.50 just for postage. I guess I'm cheap but I can't see spending $50 to mail Christmas cards. It seems like we get fewer and fewer holiday cards every year as well. I think that it is sad, because getting beautiful cards and seeing photos of friends has always been one of my favorite parts about Christmas.

What about you? Do you mail cards and letters anymore?

3 people like me!:

Rick Lelchuk said...

Wow, we've been increasing the number of cards we send. We feel it is way more important to be in touch with our loved-one, our prospects and customers. It is just the cost of communicating and we're not letting it holds us back. Living in the past hoping for prices to roll back is, well, it's living in the past.

How about going out and making more money to afford the "luxury" of sending heart felt thoughts to the ones who matter.

One of the keys to this is to use a system that eliminates the headache of having to go to the store, find a card, bring it home, address and sign it and drop it in the mail. With the system we use we go online, pick a card with our sentiment, in our own handwriting, it's addressed (no labels), sealed and stamped with a 1st class stamp and mailed for us.

There are ways to work everything out if you look hard enough.

Happy mailing!


Madeline said...

Totally agree! I used to send loads of Christmas cards, but the cost the past couple of years has caused me to cut way back. The price of stamps is just ridiculous.

ewe are here said...

Christmas/New Year's Cards with a picture are something I really like sending out every year. It's the one major piece of keeping in touch mail I do... but it isn't cheap over here, either, especially when I'm sending it internationally. The postal service here is experiencing the same problems: less use, less revenues, need to cut services. Frankly, I think regular mail isn't necessary on weekends; if you really want somethign to get there on a weekend, pay extra. Otherwise, mon-fri will do nicely.

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