Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I Love My Daily Postal Delivery

In the world of wine retailing, snail mail is still a much used form of communication and commerce.

In the non-wine world, most vendors will allow you to pay on-line. In many cases, you can make ACH payments directly from your bank account without leaving the comfort of your computer screen. Not so much when it comes to paying wine distributors -this is still very much the land of envelopes, stamps, and paper checks.

Because of this, I'm much more in tune with the minutia of the postal service than I have been since, oh, I had a pen pal back in 6th grade. I know where all the postboxes are on the way to all the neighborhood coffee shops. I know their pick-up times on weekdays and Saturdays. I know how many automated machines there are at each of the two closest post offices, as well as their latest drop off times for same day send-off. I'm possibly as well qualified to answer local postal questions as I am wine questions. And I always have stamps. Always.

So it's not surprising that I actually look forward to my daily postal delivery. The distributors often send out exciting communications that they actually expect you to read. And sometimes they'll send you the single, solitary copy of an invoice that they actually expect you to pay. Like yesterday...I received a paper invoice for $0.50. Yes, fifty cents. In an envelope that took $0.42 worth of postage to mail. On a piece of paper that probably took some employee $0.08 of time to mail. No further comment necessary on that one.

Yesterday I also received 1/4 of an envelope with 1/4 of each of two checks in it. Lucky for me, the snippet of envelope had my return address on it, so the USPS was able to send it back to me. Also lucky for me, the snippets of checks were still in the envelope so I was able to figure out which distributor to call to tell them their valuable piece of paper was going to be late. (Because if your payment is late, you get reported to the state's "delinquent list" and effectively go into wine detention, also known as C.O.D....but that's a story for another post.)

I guess when you contribute disproportionately to the 202 billion pieces of mail handled each year (I know this, because it was in the letter the USPS sent with my mangled envelope) a few of those precious posts are going to wind up on the wrong side of the postal gods.

Snail mail is not dead.
At least in the world of New York wine retailing.

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