09 October 2007

The Last Post

In case you hadn’t noticed, Royal Mail was on strike last week. And this week. And next week too - the CWU (Communications Workers Union) warned that a further week of "continuous disruption" to all Royal Mail services would begin next Monday if the dispute was not resolved.

It seems to me the main effect of this strike is probably the opposite of what was intended. Instead of holding the country to ransom with the risk of paralysing the economy, the main effect of the mail strike seems to be to remind people of how irrelevant the service has become. With so many transactions being conducted online, via email, or via mobile, there seems very little that is totally dependent upon the whims of the Royal Mail. And with the cost-cutting measures enacted ahead of open competition, if I truly had to get a hard-copy document anywhere in a timely way, the last place I would go would be the Post Office, unless I wanted it misdirected or its contents stolen.

In fact the real losers in the dispute have probably been the burgeoning producers of Direct Mail, who devise ever more ingenious ways to disguise their product in the vain attempt to get you to open it. For the majority of the population, respite from this modern curse is a blessed relief. Long may the strike continue.

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