Stamp truths

Jul 22nd, 2008 | By | Category: Ireland

“Could I have ten 78s please?”

“I’m afraid the 78s are 82s now”.

“Oh well, I’d better have ten of those then”.

The postal rate to Britain had gone up without me noticing, apologies to anyone who got letters with insufficient postage on them.

An additional forty cent was no big deal, but there were others in the post office who would have been watching every price rise with trepidation, everything is going up.

The official rate of inflation is calculated by including a whole range of goods and services – many of which would never ever come into the thoughts of people on low incomes.  A rate of inflation for the essentials would be considerably higher than the official consumer price index.  Electricity is due to rise by 17.5 per cent next month, gas will follow suit, and the increase in the cost of utilities will provide grounds for a raft of other increases.

And prices are much slower to fall than to rise; despite the fact that oil has eased back to $130 a barrel from highs of $150, there is no sign of the petrol companies, who used the rising price as an excuse to raise pump prices, reducing the forecourt price levels.

There are lots of worried people.  Sometimes fears have little foundation; speculative media pieces might fill air time, they also worry many, often elderly, people who still regard the news media as having the same gravitas as it did in generations past.

In the midst of it all is a lame duck government who could actually do something to reassure the people in the post office queue.  The government profits hugely from rising fuel prices, its VAT receipts swollen by its percentage of every gallon pumped.  The government could announce that the windfall would be earmarked to make sure that no-one is cold this winter and that no older person standing in the post office need fear that they won’t be able to make ends meet.

Of course, politicians in chauffeur-driven ministerial Mercedes wouldn’t be standing in post office queues, and have probably not bought a postage stamp for a long time, to hear what people are saying.

82 cent – that’s equivalent to about 65p Sterling.  Thirteen shillings to post a letter to England.

4 comments
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  1. Ian

    I bought two stamps the other day to post letters just going a 100 miles down the road. Alas the destination was another country so I had to pay 50 pence each – European rate! Is it any wonder people email, twitter and Skype these days instead of writing letters.

    Mind you there is nothing like a letter coming through the post.

  2. In my business if I send a (under 2k) package from Dun Laoghaire to City Centre it costs about €3.50, if I want it bar-coded with a tracking number it costs €6. I have to get it tracked because if it gets lost then I have to replace the item for my customer. This is just for it to be zapped with the bar code reader when it is put onto the postmans van, not for a signature as proof of delivery – that costs an extra €1. I’m always shocked that it costs so much more for an extra sticker on the package. It doesn’t get there any quicker, just gives me (and my customer) the ability to look it up online and see that it was delivered.

    On the utility front….phone in your meter reading next time you get your bill with a MUCH higher reading, you’ll pay a larger bill next time but then when you call in the lower meter reading you’ll be in credit for a few months – at the lower
    pre-increase rate! A tip from my starving student days in the U.S. 😉

  3. “And prices are much slower to fall than to rise; despite the fact that oil has eased back to $130 a barrel from highs of $150, there is no sign of the petrol companies, who used the rising price as an excuse to raise pump prices, reducing the forecourt price levels.”
    It’s exactly the same here with 35% of fuel being government excise and 10% GST (VAT) although we now have a consumer watchdog making sure there’s no collusion between the petrol companies so the price of fuel has dropped this week from $1.67 to $1.50! Recession here we all come! Letters? What are letters?

  4. Yo!

    There’s a price cut in the village – it’s gone from 133.9 down to 132.9!

    Grannymar, Ireland is still treated as one by An Post – it cost 55 cent to write to the North.

    Maria,

    The postage rates are barmy. I was going to get a road atlas and two paper maps from a place in England – they came to £21. It was going to cost £16 in postage on top!

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