please Mr Postman

I knew it was only a matter of time before NZ Post put their prices up again. Back in September 2009, they introduced the kiwistamp — cute little New Zealand themed pictures on new non-denomination stamps. Their reasoning was so that “should we [NZ Post] decide to make a change in the required postage, there will be no need for customers to buy additional makeup value stamps.”

So it was with amusement that I read yesterday that the price of sending a letter is rising to 60 cents. The last increase was June 2007 when the price went from 45 to 50 cents. Most will agree that it’s a reasonable-sized increase, but they don’t really have a choice. Like the rest of economy, the cost of operating a business has increased. Costs such as electricity, wages and salaries, office rent, and council rates have all risen and are squeezing the profit margins of many businesses.

But the increasing cost of providing delivery services cannot be limited to NZ Post only, other postal service providers such as NZDX, Pete’s Post, and New Zealand Mail must be feeling the pinch as well. While the economy can take some of the blame, the internet and email I believe will see the demise of these operators. I rarely receive postal mail anymore and I could not tell you when I last received a real letter from a friend. All my utility bills come via my email inbox; junk mail brochures can be read online; even the trusty clothing catalogue have to compete with the web-based retail outlets.

My last postage related ritual is sending Christmas cards. Every year I spend a small fortune buying cards, writing a personal message in each, buying umpteen dozen stamps and posting them off to all corners of the world. I’m seriously considering not sending any this year. For those people who really want a card, then they may just have to cope with an electronic one. Harsh, maybe, but I am not the only one coming to this conclusion.  The number of cards I receive is reducing more and more as each year passes. Now I just have to work out how to send birthday presents to Australia without paying a small fortune.

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