North America’s postal services are drowning in debt. They have never figured out how to adjust to the digital age. Half of the mail is now being delivered electronically and the post office still has us licking glue.
Canada Post just announced a slash and burn policy that cuts jobs, reduces delivery service and jumps the cost of stamps by 35 percent. For the third time in as many years, the U.S. Postal Service just defaulted on its debt load of 5.6 billion that it can’t pay the U.S. Treasury. (And still Americans want Saturday mail delivery?!)
The CEO of Canada Post is a man named Deepak Chopra. I know what you’re thinking … where does a guy who’s written 50 books about holistic medicine while sitting cross-legged in an Indian ashram find the time to run a national postal service?! Well, that might be the problem right there.
After announcing the slashing of 8,000 jobs at Canada Post and the end of door-to-door delivery of mail in urban areas, Deepak “The Postie” Chopra took the sting out of it all with some comic relief. Everybody slammed the price hike of stamps. The postal union went … well, postal over the loss of 8,000 jobs. City dwellers railed against the idea of walking to a neighbourhood box to retrieve their mail. And Chopra, who gave himself a bonus last year worth 33 percent of his salary delivered his punch-line defense with a straight face.
“The seniors are telling me,” he said, “I want to be healthy, I want to be active in my life.”
Yeah, Canadian seniors are really looking forward to the all-new Canada Post fitness program in which they’ll walk to a centralized mailbox and back each day. Except of course, those who can’t walk.
Ah Deepak, the seniors are telling me they’d really like to get their monthly $551.54 pension cheques delivered to their door instead of paying cab fare to go and pick them up. Also, they say they wouldn’t turn down a sweet 33 percent increase in that monthly subsistence allowance they worked their whole lives.
How to fix our postal systems and have some fun?
First, nobody needs mail delivery more than three times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are adequate and that way, your bills will arrive less frequently.
In my case, if I received my junk mail on Monday, which is also recycle day, I could just toss it in the blue box next to the mailbox and I won’t have to haul it up to the house.
But the real solution to our postal problems is donuts. Donuts, coffee and the daily addiction Canadians and a growing number of Americans have to Tim Hortons. There are 4,000 Tim Hortons franchises in Canada, 200 in the United States with more on the way.
Think about it – Canadian and American postal services own buildings in prime downtown locations in every village, town and city from coast to coast. Tim Hortons is the fastest growing coffee shop franchise on the continent. Down by almost half in business, post offices have nothing but vacant space. Tim Hortons is searching for ideal spaces to lease in downtown areas. Bingo! The all-new Post Office &Tim Hortons Centre, a place for us to go and not only receive our mail but read it with a coffee and a cruller. The post office gets a lease-paying partner and Tim Hortons gets an immediate North American expansion plan. It’s a natural, I tell you. A natural.
And all those thousands of postal workers who are about to lose their jobs. They go from delivering mail in bad weather to pushing cups of decaf and croissants across a counter in a lively little cafe. From business bills to buttered bagels – their work place remains the same. Plus Tim Hortons “Roll Up The Rim To Win” contest? That could now be operated by the U.S. Treasury to help pay off the post service’s debt.
As far as seniors picking up their own mail, forget about those community mailboxes. In Canada, we have more older people spending their leisure time at Tim Hortons outlets than senior citizen centres. Any time of day, all day, Canadian seniors congregate at Tim Hortons to complain about the government, whine about the weather and discuss how it is humanly possible that Justin Bieber’s scrawny butt can stay inside those baggy pants when they are clearly belted at his knees.
Trust me, a national caffeine addiction is a good thing. If Colorado had a Tim Hortons for every 8,000 residents in that state, which is the company’s marketing rule of thumb, they would not have legalized marijuana. Hyper is more productive than being mellowed out.
There’s also a nice human touch that comes with bringing a Tim Hortons to your town. Last year in Windsor, Ontario, a woman gave birth in the washroom of a Tim Hortons donut shop and she named the kid Timbit after those tasty little mini-donuts. Think about it, America. Merge your post office with this donut franchise and in a few years you too could have a bunch of children running around named Maple Dip and Apple Fritter.
For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca