Happy 22 days into the New Year, readers!
Sorry I buggered off there at the end of 2015. I was caught up in one of those day-jobs that subsidise my decadent lifestyle choices. Then I just surfed on through the festive season and enjoyed the break. Hope you enjoyed yours, if you’re in any of the countries that had one.
This site just turned one year old! Thank you for your readership and contributions during 2015. I wasn’t sure if there would be an audience for this odd combination of geekdom and mildly foul-mouthed opinion, but WordPress’s stats wrap-up of 2015 tells me that if this blog were a show at the Sydney Opera House, I would have sold out three nights. Watch out for Punk Philatelist Live In Concert, coming soon to a venue near you! It will be riveting stuff.
Speaking of WordPress, I was chuffed to return from the break to find that I’d scored a mention in The Daily Post, WordPress’s in-house inspiration-meisters, as one of the editors’ favourite blogs of 2015. Aw shucks, thanks Michelle and thanks WordPress! You guys are too kind.
So on into 2016, and there are exciting times here in Australia. Let me explain Australia Post’s recent hi-jinks to international readers and see if you still believe me at the end.
Faced with falling revenue, like all postal administrations, AP just jacked up the domestic letter base rate from 70 cents to a dollar – by far the biggest domestic stamp price rise in our history. But get this: in a stroke of marketing genius, that price hike came with a promise of slower delivery!
Yes, for a dollar, AP will get around to delivering your letter within the week. If you want your letter delivered across town the next day – which 70c bought you as recently as January 3 – you now have to spend an extra 50c on a gobsmackingly soulless peel’n’stick QR code label code. That’s right! The local overnight delivery that cost you 70 cents on December 31 now costs $1.50!
AP ran a half-hearted boo-hoo campaign about rising costs to explain the new $1 rate, but it managed to keep the extra 50c a bit hush-hush in the mainstream media. No doubt post office counter staff will enjoy explaining this complicated system to confused and furious customers every single day of the rest of the year. Furious customers are already clogging the nation’s Letters to the Editor pages.
I think a buck is a perfectly reasonable amount to pay to have a letter sent across the country. Even a buck fifty. But I can only have so much sympathy for Australia Post as long as it continues to hire dodgy labour hire companies instead of staff, to not deliver mail, while jacking up parcel postage to extortionate levels, gouging stamp collectors by issuing stamps that aren’t even valid for postage, and all while paying former banking executives ridiculous amounts of money to invest in sorting machines that don’t work. (For more on this, check out stamp dealer Glen Stephens’s regular rants.)
The only bright side in this palaver is that to meet the new postal rate, Aussie Post rushed out a set of $1 stamps featuring wildflowers. In recent years, many Australian floral issues have bored me shitless, but these ones are quite gorj. SO much more going for them – larger sizes, more detailed designs, perhaps they’ve bought a new printer or something. They’re beautiful images.
I won’t need them, of course, because I’ll be slowly working through a back-catalogue of 70c stamps. So is everyone else – I heard that post offices were running out of the 30 stamp required to make up the new rate.
And let’s hear it for the humble 30c crocodile. It’s been around since 1994! Surely approaching some sort of modern record. In the 1990s I stuck one of these on a letter to a penfriend in Slovakia along with two other stamps depicting a shark and a snake. They made up the perfect rate. I was so proud of myself.
For some reason she never visited.
Australia Post has started to reveal some more stamps in the new rate – my birthday cake above is one – so let’s see if we can’t enjoy a few more pretty issues this year before mobs of outraged collectors and ripped-off letter writers burn down the post office with flaming torches.