The cost of first class postage stamp in the UK is to rise to a staggering 60p (95 US cents). This is further evidence of the uncompetitiveness of snail-mail services throughout the world. Who now writes letters? For most people, the only time they lick a postage stamp is at Christmas or birthdays. And it is only a matter of time before most sensible people realise that it is a total waste of money to buy cards, address envelopes and then pay exorbitant rates for postage.
The planned Royal Mail increases will do nothing to stop the digital rot of the postal services. Mail services are set to become even more business orientated (more junk mail, anyone?) and the average consumer will rely increasingly on electronic communications.
Big losers in all this, of course, are the digitally agnostic, especially older people who have never taken to email. They lose out in so many ways these days; they pay more for services because they cannot so easily compare prices, and they tend to lose touch with their friends as more and more of them take to computers. If most of your friends are contactable by email, it is a real chore (not to mention expense) to maintain contact with those who aren’t.
At the moment I send about 75 Christmas cards and this will now cost at least £100. All for the luxury of a printed card, an envelope and human delivery. How long can this last? I am now seriously considering telling all my email contactable friends that there will be no more cards. The non-email brigade will get one last card, telling them I have finished supporting snail-mail services.