The Curse of the Courier

By Emily Glass

[Originally posted on on 3rd November 2010]

Red letter box

Will you be sending your letter to father Christmas this year via email or facebook this year? The ever increasing popularity of social networking sites means that internet communication has overtaken other more traditional forms, resulting in yet more financial trouble for the Royal Mail.

UK residents have seemingly sent considerably fewer letters in the last six months as Royal Mail Letters suffered a £66 million loss in the first half of this year. Royal Mail – which the Government announced last month is to be privatised – is delivering 24% fewer items per day than in 2005 and cost cutting has limited the company further. In these tough times the Royal Mail is desperately trying to modernise the company and limit spending but these measures appear to be too late as 2,800 employees lost their jobs earlier this year, mostly in the letters department.

Adding to these problems Royal Mail’s competitors’ cheaper postage prices, around 2.5 pence cheaper per item, mean that Royal Mail’s customers are quickly declining. Most online retailers use other delivery services as new regulations and pricing controls often leave the Royal Mail as the most expensive choice. With everyone on the lookout for Christmas present bargains the last thing they need is expensive postage and package costs.

When almost all of one’s shopping can be done online it is much easier and quicker to use a mobile phone or laptop to send a loved one a present or card than popping into the local Post Office which are, after many closures, few and far between.

So instead of walking excited children to the postbox with their lovingly written letters to “Mr F Christmas, Greenland” this year we will be looking over their shoulders as they hit “send” on their computer screen.

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