15, 2002 Tuesday Final Edition
prices rise amid talk of snail mail's demise
Post increased the cost of sending letters Monday with a hike
in stamp prices as observers continued to sound a death knell
for so-called "snail mail."
cost of domestic mail rose by a penny to 48 cents, letters
to the United States now cost an extra nickel at 65 cents,
and mailing overseas will set you back $1.25, up from $1.05.
added cost will likely not help a postal service that observers
say is already under siege by competition from newer, faster
technologies such as e-mail.
computer-savvy Canadians say they prefer to avoid the post
office when connecting with faraway friends.
don't have a lot of mail. Mostly I do everything electronic,"
said Sandra Ramlakhan, 46, who says she sends regular mail
only about three or four times a year. "It's part of
said she prefers using the telephone and e-mail to keep in
touch with her daughter in Australia and friends in Trinidad.
advent of e-mail, pagers and faxes has connected Canadians
like never before, and postal officials admit snail mail appears
headed for a steady decline.
scare in U.S. post offices last fall also left many wary of
mailing and opening letters.
Post spokesman John Caines said mail volume has dropped slightly
over the past five years, falling by about one to two per
cent each year.
not quite the erosion a Canada Post executive predicted two
years ago, when he warned the proliferation of e-mail would
cause earnings to drop $200 million by 2004.
mail use has actually increased slightly over the same period,
benefiting from strong use by businesses and advertisers.
"The product is still one people rely on for the security
of the mail, for documents that are important and letters
that are important," Caines said.
want to make sure they get there."
asking people to pay more for a service pitted against increasingly
faster, more convenient options can't help the Crown corporation's
bottom line, says author and communications expert Charles
day the electronic world catches up and the post office raises
their prices. It is a self-defeating business and they'll
go out someday," said Meadow, a retired University of
just go too slow and they charge too much."
use has exploded in recent years, he said, citing figures
that show global use rising exponentially to more than 4.5
trillion messages sent in 1999 from 10 billion messages in