Patti New, an employee at Salmon Arm’s main post office said millennial customers are often unfamiliar with conventions of the postal system, such as where to write the address on an envelope. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Postal workers say millennials perplexed by “snail mail”

A study shows Canadian millennials appreciate Canada Post, but do they know where the stamp goes?

When it comes to sending parcels and letters, millennials tend to need more assistance than other customers, say post office employees.

Workers at Salmon Arm’s main post office said millennial customers are often unfamiliar with conventions for addressing and sending mail.

“Anyone under 30 basically doesn’t know how to address a letter,” said post office employee Julie Vanmale.

Patti New, another Salmon Arm post office worker, said she recently received a call from the mother of a young man living away from home for the first time, telling her he was coming in to send his first-ever letter and would need some assistance. New helped the man get his letter out, but she said many of the younger customers who come through the post office doors don’t know things like where to write the address or to leave room for registered mail labels if necessary.

Related:Canadian millennials expect to live better than parents in retirement: study

According to Vanmale, one way in which thepost office is being used more by people of all ages is as a pickup point for packages ordered online.

“A lot of people don’t want to get their parcels delivered to their home. They want them in a secure place to pick up,” she said.

The trend noticed by the workers in Salmon Arm has been observed nationwide. An email from Canada Post states they have seen a dramatic increase in parcel volumes from online shopping. Parcel volumes were 24.5 per cent higher in 2017 compared to 2016; parcel shipping generated 33 per cent of Canada Post’s revenue in 2017. In the same time period, letter mail volume declined 5.5 per cent which translated into a revenue decline of $124 million.

“The letter mail has definitely declined over the years because lots of people do everything online,” Vanmale said.

Though they may be receiving their bills online, Vanmale said there is no shortage of young people paying those bills using the MoneyGram wire transfers the post office offers.

Related:Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

Although they seem to use its services less frequently and in different ways than older generations, a study shows millennials appreciate what their local post office has to offer. The Leger 2018 Corporate Reputation study concluded Canada Post is the sixth-most reputable company in the eyes of Canadian millennials.

Although letter-writing is in decline, Vanmale and New said nothing can truly replace messages in ink on paper.

“Both letter writing and receiving a letter is so much more personal. I don’t think anything electronic can replace the written word in pen and ink,” Vanmale said.

New said her son, who now lives in Powell River, sees letters and parcels from her as a personal connection to home.

He usually sends his thanks in a text message, she added with a laugh.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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