Thursday, April 17, 2008

Snail mail in a post-fax world

Twenty years ago, I saw no future in faxes. Now I am in the place where I've come to believe that again. Throughout it all, snail mail has kept poking along. Does snail mail have a future? I hope so, not only for myself, but for my parents.

When faxes first came on the market in the mid-eighties and my boss asked me to buy a fax machine, I resisted. What would you ever use them for, when the mail only took three days? He told me to order one anyway. I was gratified when it sat gathering dust for weeks in the filing room. But then one day the green light on the clunky machine flickered, and out rolled a hot shiny piece of thermal paper with a customer's order on it. The rest is history.

Fast-forward to my recent decision not to buy a scanner that threw in a personal fax capability. This time the problem for me is that I no longer have a land-line telephone. Anyway, between emails and the scanner, when would I ever need to use a fax? If I ever found myself needing to send a fax because the destination required one, I could always do it from the post office.

For moments like that, I am really happy that the post office is there, and I am glad that I can contribute to the salary of that nice person who works there. It is the courier for people who don't have receptionists. And they haven't quite figured out how to squeeze Christmas packages through wires. I correspond with my siblings by email, and sometimes my sister will print them out in large font and take them over to my parents. There is a new American service which converts emails into letters and mails them for you, for a price.

Currently, as I am about to graduate with a "high-tech" media degree, I am making my own "high-touch" thank-you cards for the people who have supported me. I visualize the pleasure of my friends and family when they find that tactile personal envelope in their mailboxes -- an occasion like a parcel used to be. Perhaps I could buy a package of envelopes and address and stamp them in advance to commit myself, then print out those family emails myself. My sister would appreciate it, it would support the postal service, and it would probably make my dad's day to have a real letter arrive through the "inbox" in the middle of his door.

Looking forward to your comments

No comments:

Post a Comment