I received a wonderful singing Valentine - well, in the mail. It was from my mother, so I knew right away it was a Singing Valentine (I always get a Valentine’s from my mother…although at forty-something, I might add, instead of bringing cheer, it sometimes gets a bit depressing, but..that’s another story). As I pulled the red card out of the envelope, to my surprise, there was my Christmas card belting out an entire chorus of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”!!
So, instead of kudos for having the foresight to send a Valentines Day Card ahead of time, I thought, well, “better late than never!” But one look at the post mark, and, I knew the culprit was another: in fact, it had been posted from the USA on Dec 18th.
Now we all know that Italy’s Post Office horror stories could fill the Library of Congress. Everyone has one – well, make that a couple hundred. I’ve actually witnessed Brits try to organize mass protests to no avail, while the Italians stand idly by, shaking their heads in disgust at the Barbaric rise in decibel levels. We’ve heard all the stories: from the workers in Milan being filmed stuffing envelopes under extra-large sweatshirts to extract cheques and money orders later (they got to keep their jobs), to postcards delivered to relatives long since dead, to my personal favourite -- your ability to conduct pretty much every transaction on earth from buying a house to tickets to a Rock Concert to long-distance adoption, except stamp purchases.
And so it was, I believe, McKinsey & Co. who won the coup of actually getting a contract to evaluate the abysmal Postal Services and then recommend changes to it. Millions of euros later, they came up with what any of us waiting in the infernal lines while dozens of workers behind the windows stand around chatting would have offered free of charge: the Post Office did everything well and profitably… except deliver mail. McKinsey went on to say that perhaps they should reconsider staying in their ‘core business’.
Considering that a letter from Rome to Milan or Naples to Turin arrived faster by donkey courier in medieval times than it does today, I say, just as we are looking fondly on as Big Cities adopt man-powered rickshaws, maybe we should be looking at Donkeys as the mode of travel for letter delivery in the 21st century.
We would just have to make sure that they aren’t fitted with large sweatshirts bearing the Poste Italiane logo whilst on duty.
A few commonly shared stories have appeared from time to time on The American Magazine. Just click to read n’ weep:
And, drop me a line in the Comments -- I'd love to hear yours!