1 EAGLETON NOTES: Rural Postal Services

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Rural Postal Services

As, I suspect, is happening all around the world small rural and urban post offices are closing down as more services (such as pensions) are paid into bank accounts, use of snail mail diminishes and private companies compete for the lucrative parts of the traditional business (such as parcels and even urban delivery of letters). The UK remains, I think, one of the few (and perhaps the only) country where the Royal Mail is charged with delivering mail everywhere in the country and, generally, to the door of the recipient's dwelling six days a week and at a standard rate of postage.

I do wonder how long such a wonderful service can continue.

As recently as a couple of years ago there were two sub post offices within a couple of miles of my house. Now the nearest one is in Stornoway 7 miles away. However, in Stornoway, there are many post office services available at at least one of the two sub post offices (the main post office keeps more conventional hours) from 7am until 11pm 6 days a week. I've never come across service times like that before although I presume that it happens elsewhere.

I recently discovered, too, that we now have a mobile post office which comes around to various rural locations on a regular basis as well. It visits Lower Bayble twice a week on a Monday and Tuesday for an hour on each day.



Add to that the fact that I can post a letter at a post box about 700m from the house which is emptied at 10.30am 6 days a week and I have absolutely no cause for anything other than praise for our postal service.

My local post box (Photo thanks to my brother).





30 comments:

  1. Actually An Post the name of the Irish postal service is similar to yours. Except that there are no mail deliveries on a Saturday. The postmen are friendly and on first name terms with everyone and they also keep a watchful eye on those who live alone by having a cuppa with some people.
    Some of our green painted mail boxes in rural areas are those that date back to the British occupation.

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    1. It's good to know that you still have postmen dedicated to a particular round, Heron. We used to but now our posties all change rotas constantly and whilst we have a limited number they no longer have time to chat because their cars all have gps monitoring.

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  2. Our rural mail delivery changed to 5 days a week earlier this year. At the same time mail delivery in towns was cut back to every second day. I've noticed a few letter boxes in town have disappeared, too so appreciate how lucky we are to just have to put up our flag to let the mailman know there is a letter in the box to be posted. In the old days you didn't even have to have a stamp on the letter, just leave the money but I think that would be pushing the goodwill of the mailman a bit far these days. Our mailman even brings a parcel to the door if it won't fit in the box and it looks like rain. I'm impressed with your mobile post office. That is an amazing service in these days of cutbacks in every possible direction.

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    1. Pauline from what I heard when I was still in NZ there were problems in some rural areas where cuts were being suggested because the mailman was often the only person some old people in very out of the way places saw from one week to the next and they relied to some extent on them for things like milk as well. I think the rural delivery post in NZ may be better than the NZ Post in the urban areas.

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  3. Mail in our country has become a hodge podge. Some of us get mail delivery to the door and some have to go to a central set of boxes. I can't believe you get mail 6 days a week. 2 days a week would be fine with me. That way I might get fewer fliers.

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    1. Yes, Red, friends in Canada don't seem to be happy particularly with the amount of unsolicited mail. I get very little of that now. I think companies do much to reach rural communities using social media.

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  4. To send mail we leave it in the exterior letter box, with a red peg on the key to indicate that there is something to be collected. The lovely Marie-Ange then takes it, having delivered whatever she has brought. She also gives the dog a small treat and plays with him for a while.

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    1. Cro it would seem that the service in parts of rural France have some of the charm that our service used to have.

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  5. We get our mail delivered five days a week here. The Post Office (we have two here on the hill - both relatively small, but well-patronised.) are open five and a half days a week.

    The courier services is wonderful, too...the couriers are a very pleasant, obliging lot. I think we're very fortunate.

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    1. Lee you are obviously as well served as we are.

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  6. Here mail is delivered and collected at the door. If you have mislaid your stamps one has to trail into town and the Post Office is in the CO-OP. It's a grand service but far from cheap. I posted a small camera and it cost £12.00p. Amazon use the Post sometimes but only seem to pay a fraction of that.

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    1. Adrian I think Amazon call the shots and are just so big that they can afford to do so.

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  7. This is really not just good service, but great!
    Post offices in Germany have far less convenient opening times. The main post office in Ludwigsburg opens at 9:30, which makes it impossible to go to before work. However, many shops have a post office counter these days, such as the stationery shop at the train station, and that one has opening times better suited to people who work.
    On Mondays, it is very rare that I find any mail in my letter box. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, I am more likely to receive mail.

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    1. Yes, Meike, our service is great. Yours sounds pretty good too. Mind you I'd expect nothing less in Germany.

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  8. All my life the postal service in Britain has been brilliant but the creep of privatisation and greedy competition has witnessed a commensurate decline. It is quite tragic. Once erosion happens it's very hard to reclaim lost ground.

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  9. I agree, I think we have a great delivery service on a whole, especially bearing in mind that we get it six days a week (or at least should, depending on whether we now have a regular postie or a fill in) unlike other countries in the world. Even in NZ now it is only rural areas that have a five day a week service, in towns they have cut the service back to every few days from what I have heard.

    As for having a mobile service, what a wonderful idea for those more isolated areas.

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    1. I'm glad that overall your experiences are good too Serenata.

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  10. If mail services are ever done away with, then it will be a very sad day for sure.

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    1. Maywyn I sincerely hope that will never happen and I don't think it will in our lifetimes.

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  11. Sixty years ago in Texas one could leave coins in a metal cup along with the letter and the rural delivery postman would affix a stamp on the letter. Nowadays (in Georgia now) we still have six days a week delivery but not tin cup service. I am ten miles from a post office but can either buy stamps at the supermarket four miles away or print the postage on the envelope myself from my own computer using the US Postal Service's website.

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    1. Well, Bob, you still have a service which sounds acceptable.

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  12. Here on Long Island, everyone has their own personal mail box. Either a box on a post outside the house, or a letterbox affixed to the house next to the door. Even so, I have to drive to a public postal box in order to mail important things, because if I put it in my own mailbox and raise the red flag (to indicate there's mail to be picked up) it sits there for three days at a time, or until I realize the postal person is never going to pick it up and I have to go post it myself. If you send a package that's fragile, and you carefully package it and mark it as such, that is the package that they will use to play rugby with on their lunch break. If you go inside the post office to buy stamps, or to ship something overseas, or for any kind of in-person business at all, the clerks disappear into the back room for long minutes, and move at the rate of a glacier while serving anyone who may be in line in front of you.

    Needless to say, the postal system here has become so poor as to be disappointing. One must defend against the postal system's glaring faults when attempting to use their "service".

    Why do I use their "service", then? Because UPS and FedEx charge upwards of five times the postal rate to send anything. It's a racket.

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    1. I would seem, Mrs S, that we are very lucky indeed over this side of the pond.

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  13. I'm impressed! Once upon a time we got post delivered six days per week (and I seem to remember that way way back in my childhood we even got two deliveries per day on weekdays) ... Nowadays ( probably since decades) only five days, and more and more irregular, and fewer postboxes where we can post things, and those that are still there are emptied early, so that it's really impossible nowadays to send anyone an answer "by return of post". On the other hand - by email we can :) ...

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    1. Monica we used to get two deliveries a day as well. On the Island we have more postboxes thn you can shake a stick at but in the centre of Glasgow they are like hens' teeth.

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  14. Unfortunately with more and more communication happening via online networking the poor posties are feeling the decline in letters not being posted anymore. Here in NZ they only deliver 3 times a week rather than every day to try and cope with the downturn.

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    1. Yes, Amy, and living in a very rural area which depends, like so many, on the post not just for letters and so on but for goods bought on line, I fear the same will happen here.

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  15. Here in the U.S. we still receive mail 6 days a week. There was talk 1 - 2 years ago about eliminating Saturday delivery. But that didn't pass (for now.) But if you have something for which it is extremely important that it get there by a certain day, or it has a special value, it is better to pay the higher price to Federal Express Co. or United Parcel Service Company to get it there. I find these two companies are the better ones in the U.S. and extremely reliable to get it there by the day they tell you. If time is NOT of the essence, then regular mail is acceptable. I live in a town of about 70,000 people, so delivery is okay. In rural area, many houses will have their mailboxes grouped together in one spot to make it easier for the postman.

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    1. M.G.M. It would seem that, like in many countries the mail system can vary from place to place and with theUSA being so large and divided into so many states that's probably to be expected.

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