The day the letters died

There's something special to be said about receiving mail from a friend. That is, old-school snail mail. Why? Well for one it happens so rarely that it's a surprise all on its own: my mailbox is visited more frequently by bank statements, bills (for that 1 company that has no facility whatsoever to e-mail me my bills), and a constant stream of parking infringement reminder notices for someone who didn't even used to live here before (when I kept sending those ones back, I eventually got a letter asking 'if you know the whereabouts of [the guy who keeps racking-up parking fines] please contact us').

So when my guitar buddy asked several of us for our addresses so she could send us Christmas cards, I got pretty excited. Then when nothing arrived some 3 weeks after Christmas, I became pretty disappointed.

I asked her about it, and she did send me one to the right address. It just never arrived. She managed to have more luck with everybody else - even one guy in Europe received one of her cards - so we thought, Oh, just a one-off postal service fail.

Postal service fail

Before this, I've had very good experiences when it came to sending/receiving letters/packages. Whenever I've imported something from overseas, it has always arrived before the sender's estimate, and with virtually no damage from the shipping/handling process. And whenever I've sent something overseas, the person on the other end has always received it at most within the ETA (eg: Christmas cards to Germany, England, letters to Belgium, Japan). Hell I have even sent actual money in an envelope overseas, then had it sent back and it was all still there!

I've generally had more faith in the postal service to ensure that things reach their intended recipient than I have with my cellphone provider to ensure that my text messages arrive within 24 hours of me sending them.

So, still feeling pleased about the postal service, and with that one-off Christmas card fail behind me, I packaged-up a book and a short letter to another of my friends who is feeling a little under-loved in Japan.

I sent that package on the 25th of January, with an ETA of 6-10 working days. She received it yesterday, the 20th of February, with a stamp on it that read:

Missent to Vancouver, Canada.