The letter was addressed to “Occupant,” which I suppose is about as personal as it is possible for Canada Post, our national postal service, to get. Though it isn’t as if they don’t know who lives here.
I had already seen the news report before receiving the letter, so I knew what to expect. Sometime in the next few weeks, hopefully before the winter weather sets in, Canada Post will be changing the locks on my community mailbox.
And not just on mine but for thousands of others throughout the country. They won’t admit exactly how many that is, but it is all that were installed in 2015. That is a lot of mailboxes.
I hope they are smart enough to deliver the new keys first, but given my experience with them that may be too much to hope for. After all, it was in January that I complained that the lock had frozen on my mailbox and I couldn’t receive my mail. I reported it online and received automated assurances that the situation would be dealt with, and they would contact me when the issue was resolved. Silly me, I had expected same-day service, but I was one of tens of thousands of people with the same problem. Three weeks after, the temperatures rose slightly and I was finally able to force the lock and get my mail. So much for Canada Post’s customer service. (Bringing the issue to my MP’s attention brought the same silence. That didn’t surprise me – in more than a decade he has never once responded to any concerns I have brought to his attention. I don’t think he likes me.) At least now, 10 months later, Canada Post has made good on its promise to contact me, even if I have been reduced to “Occupant.”
Turns out the mailbox locks are made in the USA. That is normally a mark of good craftsmanship and quality, but even America has its failings. They don’t have Canadian winters, and I guess they didn’t think it necessary to come north to test their product. I wonder if there is some sort of refund for such a wholesale failure?
I am not too optimistic that the new locks won’t freeze just like the old ones did. The management of Canada Post has not done much to instill any confidence in me. These are the people, after all, who, when faced with declining mail usage, decided that raising rates would encourage more people to mail a letter. You can imagine how well that worked.
I must admit though that by using automation they have managed a very impressive “on time” delivery record. Of course, they are the ones who define “on time” – and a letter takes longer to get to its destination now than in the 1960s when everything was done by hand. That may be because we no longer have Saturday delivery. Or twice a day delivery in urban centres, which I am sure I remember from my childhood (though when I checked I find that twice daily delivery was phased out before I was born).
Anyway, winter is coming and Canada Post tells me I will get my mail because the mailbox locks won’t freeze. Isn’t it sad that I don’t really believe them?