Tuesday 30 April 2013


One of the perks of working at the Post Office was that we could read pretty much any magazine that was printed. For the longest time, due to union/management agreement, we had to take a lunch. That meant that no matter how soon we would finish our AM portion of the route, we couldn’t leave to deliver the PM until 12:30. Sometimes I would have a couple of hours to kill and you can only talk to people and play cards for so long.

I would generally read magazines to kill the time in what I considered a constructive way. I would meet an electrician at a party and I could ask him what he thought of the new regulations concerning household wiring. I had access to all of the magazines that were delivered, and since there was no definite time that they had to be delivered, I could hold them back for a day or so until I finished the article I wanted to read. You see, sometimes I had a backlog of articles to read.
The odd time someone would call in to complain that their neighbour had National Geographic delivered on Monday and he had yet to receive his on Wednesday. Oops! Sometimes we would get in trouble because the customer would get his McLean’s magazine and there would be a coffee stain on the page. When I say we got in trouble, I mean that someone would call in to complain and when the supervisor asked us about the coffee stain, we just said that we had no idea how it got there. Must have been an inside worker.
Back in the day, when someone moved we would have to fill in a publisher notified card which would let the publisher know that customer “A” had moved to a new address. The publishers ignored these cards because back then they would use metal plates with the address etched on them to print the address on the magazine, and it was too much effort and cost for them to take the old one out and make a new plate. We would just keep forwarding the mail until the change of address expired and then we would rip the covers off of the magazines and send those back to the publisher who would then stop the delivery. That left us with a lot of coverless magazines to read and take home. We weren’t supposed to, but it was an unofficial perk.
Things have changed now. There are fewer magazines getting delivered, and I suppose that there are fewer “must have” magazines like National Geo, McLean’s, Chatelaine, Time and Readers Digest. Some of the ones that are getting delivered come wrapped in plastic, I guess to cut down on the coffee stains. With the advent of computers, there is no longer a problem changing the addresses, so the letter carrier has to buy his own magazines now. Not to mention a change in management attitude. This can earn you a suspension from work if you are found taking a magazine home with you. Even one that has the cover off of it!

Quite frankly, there are fewer magazines that are even worth reading anymore. I think that because the printing is so cheap, magazines that appeal to a very small segment of the population can make a profit. I guess change is good.
I can read most anything I want to on the internet now, and some of it is interactive. It isn’t as much fun as reading someone else’s magazine, and I make sure I don’t spill coffee on my computer.

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