A Lighter Load For Finnish Postal Workers

Every day the postman passes my front door and most days he pops something through my letterbox. Usually, these letters contain utility bills or letters that are addressed to one of my housemates. Sometimes I’ll receive a package that contains items that I’ve ordered such as books or cds or even a letter from afar. However, the rise of text messaging, emailing and social networks such as Facebook mean that the majority of communication nowadays is via electronic methods. Still, the postman’s bag is probably no lighter as, like the electronic world, a lot of what he delivers is junk mail. So, his job is still safe in these dodgy economical times and should be for a while yet. But the same cannot be said for the men and women who deliver the post to the citizens of one of Ireland’s European neighbours

Even though Finland occupies an area that is over four times the size of the island of Ireland, it has fewer inhabitants. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe and most of its population lives in the south of the country. Perhaps its geographical makeup has influenced the decision by the Finnish postal service to introduce a new mail system on a trial basis. This new policy will see staff open household mail, scan it electronically and send this scanned copy to a secure digital mailbox. The process of scanning will occur in a secure location where, apparently, the workers will not read the content of the letters. An email or text message will be sent to the account holder who will log into a secure site to access the copy of the scanned document. The original documents will not be kept by the post office, but will be delivered in the traditional manner. However, the postperson will only call twice a week to those who have volunteered for this trial. The actual idea behind the plan is to cut down on costs (number of postpersons employed) and pollution (reduction of CO2 emissions)

This novel approach to postal delivery may not actually take off in Finland, but I can’t see this system ever being adopted in Ireland. It’s not because Irish people have a romantic attachment to the printed word or because we are technophobes. It’s because we might be a little concerned about letting strangers look inside our private correspondence. In fact, the only thing worse than that in Ireland would be having people who know us going through the contents of our letters. Here is a cover of a Postal Service song by The Shins and a nice version of The Letter, originally by The Box Tops, from Kilkenny’s now defunct Engine Alley

We Will Become Silhouettes (The Postal Service cover) – The Shins

The Letter (Box Tops cover) – Engine Alley


2 thoughts on “A Lighter Load For Finnish Postal Workers

    • I never thought of that, Webbie. Also, if you receive a book from the Finnish Amazon, will they scan all the pages?

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