The price of junk mail?

I get lots of junk mail – at home and in the office. I tend not to even glance at it, simply identify it and then post is back – in the bin.

There are two types of junk mail – that addressed to you ‘personally’ begging you to part with your cash to buy the latest gadget. And then an anonymous type – to ‘The Householder’ asking you to part with … you get it. The latter are not even oath the calorific burn in opening the envelope. I don’t want Virgin Media thanks.

It seems that junk mail may well have saved our beloved Post Office. They deliver around 54 million letters each day – and 27 million are junk! Some rules have been relaxed to – they used to be only able to deliver up to three ‘unaddressed’ bits of junk – now there is no limit. In the last six months they delivered 1.6billion bits of junk!

The price of a stamp rose from 46p to 60p earlier this year – a true reflection of rip-off Britain. It’s also why I send so few letters – email is now the de-facto method of communicating in writing. I guess I send one or two letters a week – I used to send a few hundred!

But occasionally you do need a letter – so we do need to keep a postal service. If we didn’t have junk mail – would a stamp double in price? Probably!

The price of this saving? More jobs for the bin-men?

The death of the letter?

Back in October 2009 I blogged about the demise of the letter – my blog post is here – but was essentially about the then proposed strike by Postmen. I remember writing that blog like it was yesterday!

And I’m moved to write again, this time as the Post Office prepare themselves to hike the price of a first class stamp from 46p to 60p. And the second class stamp from 36p to 50p – increases of 30% and 39% respectively. Nice increases if you can get them. The joy of the monopoly. But nothing short of outrageous.

My experience of second class post is simply that. It’s a second class service, a bit like a lottery – some letters get there, some don’t. First Class is marginally better – although the days of getting your post delivered by a human being before you are awake are long gone. We have a choice at work – wait until lunchtime … or pay … or collect. We wait.

We have completely changed our business model – shifting toward email – as most people have. Apparently the high point was 2006 when 84m letters were delivered each day – it is now 59m. And this latest increase will do nothing to change that. In fact, it will simply speed up the process. We do still have to send some stuff to people in hard copy, but it is reducing.

Fundamentally, it is not worth 60p to post a letter to someone.

And there’s the whiff of foul play too – it seems that the Post Office are making sure we don’t stockpile the stamps by restricting their availability. Their statement suggests otherwise – it says that supplies are ‘limited’ which apparently isn’t the same as ‘rationing’. Frankly the Post Office deserves to wither away to nothing. They have missed the market – we have all moved on, but wouldn’t have done had the service been half decent and affordable. It is neither.

P.O. R.I.P.

Trains pt 3 – when is first class not first class? At Derby!

This will be a very short post – I am waiting at Derby Station for my train to London. More of why I am in London later!

First class at the back of the queue

For the first time, I have been organised and bought tickets for the train in advance. And because I am after the rush hour, it is cheap. I decided not to catch an early train back tomorrow too, missing the madness of rush hour. The cost – £40 return – first class.

Having arrived at the station with 30 minutes to spare – and only having 10 wasted trying to give the car park machine money (a familiar theme) I headed off to the first class lounge. For a change this is actually on the departure platform.

But it seems that there is a problem. There is a £5 charge – because I have bought my tickets in advance – and the tickets are ‘really cheap’. So £5 to sit for 15 minutes? In an empty lounge. The upside is a free coffee and free wifi.

I did express my ‘issues’ but it seems that the first class ticket is not all that it seems! The girl was very apologetic – ‘a lot of people complain’…

So, I am sat in the Muffin Coffee shop, £2.25 for a cappuccino. And I am logged onto the first class lounge wi-fi.

But don’t tell anyone!

East Midland Trains – you have a lot to learn.