Canada Post is Rotten

After the lock-out and the back-to-work legislation passed, I expected that mail would resume yesterday. At 5PM a Canada Post employee, one who had the whiff of management to her, walked up my steps with two pieces of mail (one junk mail, one bank statement). She knocked on the door and handed me the mail with an apology, "I didn't know where your mailbox was." I replied, "It's that large white box at the bottom of the stairs where people put mailboxes." How can a grown-up human being in Canada not recognize a mailbox? As my daughter suggested, it's like a dairy owner not knowing what a cow looks like. However, it does speak to part of what's wrong with Canada Post. It's run by morons.
I have tried to send some of my crafts via Canada Post. It has been a dodgy prospect. One package could not be delivered because they couldn't find the address. When it came back, I was working by my front door with the door open. I saw the delivery truck pull up. I walked out to greet the postee. She had one of those "pick up at the post office" cards. I said that I was here and could accept the package-- the package that I had sent that they could not mail and had returned to me. That package was sitting in her truck while she was putting the card into the mailbox. She couldn't give me the package. I had to go down to the post office late the next day to pick it up.

What kind of a system works like this? One that breaks packages in lieu of delivering them? A system that will deliver mail blocks away from the intended address? It's a system that has always been broken, but the volume of mail has dropped so low that their accidental competence doesn't peek out from their high volume of mistakes.
Over 20 years ago, I worked for Canada Post. I was part of the Christmas rush and the press of labour who help from September to January. Casual employees don't get any union benefits but they do have to pay union dues-- we paid $60/month off of our first paycheque per month. If we worked one shift for four hours, we would gross $64 and have to hand back $60 of that to the union who actively tried to stop us from working at Canada Post. The Canada Post management were inept and more than once tried to call me for a shift so late in the month that would basically hand back the cheque to CUPW.
You know those creepy weirdos you distance yourself from in public? They work for the post office. Canada Post is rife is bizarre behavior and bad reasoning. There is workplace deceleration happening there. Casual staff buzzed around like frightened eager mice. New unionized staff also generate output. Lifers lope around the plant like understudies from Nosferatu. There is a practice of "sampling:" mail that has been sorted gets pulled and checked randomly for accuracy. One time while I was working, one of the lifers rummaged through a big cart of mail, looked at the address and put it back in. Another staffer came by and asked, "Are you sampling?" and the lifer replied, "Nah. Just looking at how messed up the mail is. See? How wrong is that?" He noted just how wrong that letter address was compared to the cart it was in, then smooshed it back into the cart.
They would not pay overtime unless desperate. Every shift, we needed to stop work 10 minutes before the end of the shift and queue up at the timeclock. A hundred staff would stand by the clock poised to clock out within a minute of the shift ending. If you clocked out a minute early, you'd be docked pay. They had no problem with 1000 people minutes per shift being wasted, but did have a problem with clipping off one minute yourself.
Packages. You should save yourself the trouble and smash whatever you mail with a hammer before you send it. The packages get shipped with all the care of a gorilla with a temper tantrum. They are moved around in these large cages and to fill the cages, packages will be squeezed in any which way to use all of the volume. One night we had a backlog of packages and the cages were stacked larger than the size of a house (literally-- at least 50ft. x 50 ft. x 20 ft.). I overheard the managers talking about this mass of stalled deliveries. They had no intention of putting on more staff from their casual pool to move those packages.
A few years after my purgatory at Canada Post, I was working for a small start-up downtown. The mail would show up randomly and then it stopped showing up at all. We asked why we were not getting mail. The building was 100 years old, but our company was new. Because our company was new, Canada Post was considering whether or not they would deliver mail to us. The reason: the steps from the street down a flight a stairs and to our office had not been accounted for because out office had not been continious occupied for 100 years, so they couldn't get the postee to walk that flight of stairs. I complained. I obviously complained loudly enough to get a Canada Post manager to pay us a visit. They took out a tape measure to feature out the 60 feet we were "adding" to their route. Then, they told us to consider ourselves lucky. If we complained again, they would stop delivering mail.
This strike and lock-out has shown that we don't really need Canada Post, especially in its current state. It's a lumbering bureaucracy that cannot be challenged. You are disallowed from asking for it to improve. In it's current state it's one step more necessary than telegrams. For Canada Post to persist it needs to transform. There needs to be quality in its processes and accountability. Right now, the only exhibit of quality is a squeeze on the staff to move out more mail-- who cares if it goes in the right direction or if it shows up in one piece. The management make whole careers atop a pile of bad decisions. If Canada Post doesn't know how to deal with the mail, they need to learn.

Comments

There are many more problems with Canada Post. Here is a website that is dedicated to documenting the problems small business mailers have: www.whatswrongwithcanadapost.ca. It is hard to believe but Chinese and Hong Kong businesses can deliver small packages to Canadians for far less than Canadian businesses can. This website shows actual examples of packages that were mailed for less by such companies. How in the world can Canadian small mailorder companies compete? And how is it that Canada Post is giving the international mailers such a low rate to deliver to Canadian addresses?
There is much more that is wrong with Canada Post. Here is a website that is dedicated to documenting the problems small businesses have: www.whatswrongwithcanadapost.ca. It is hard to believe but businesses in China and Hong Kong can mail small packages to Canadians for far less than Canadian businesses can. The websites gives actual examples. How in the world can Canadian businesses compete? And how can Canada Post give international mailers such a good deal to deliver packages to Canadians?

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