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Yet Another Postal Rate Hike

Posted 2010.12.10 9.59 in Pointless Blather

So Canada Post’s website is announcing yet another increase in the cost of sending mail. They raised the prices last January. In July, the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax represented another hike in the cost of sending a letter. And now they’re going up again this January.

Sure, you could claim that the HST wasn’t really a rise in the cost of stamps. I guess not. But it was a rise in the cost of mailing a letter. Overall, the cost of mailing a letter in Canada will have gone up 10 cents in the course of a single year, once the new rates hit next month. That’s a 17.5% increase, incase you’re keeping score.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • This time last year, a domestic 1st-class letter stamp cost 54 cents. Ontop of that, you had to pay 5% sales tax (GST). This brought the total cost of mailing a letter within Canada to 56.7 cents. (They’d charge you 57 cents at the register.)
  • In January 2010, they raised the price of a stamp to 57 cents. Now with the 5% sales tax, the cost of mailing the letter became 59.85 cents (that’s 60 cents at the register.)
  • On July 1st, the sales tax was raised by 8% (here in Ontario) where we went from 5% GST to 13% HST. This brought the total cost of mailing that same letter to 64.41 cents (64 cents at the register.)
  • And next month, the same 1st-class letter stamp will reach 59 cents. Add the 13% sales tax and you get 66.67 cents, which will be rounded to 67 cents at the register.

That’s a 10 cent increase over a 12-month period. 5 of those cents are on the face-price of the stamp, the other 5 are in sales tax. From 57 cents to 67 cents, is an increase of 17.5%.

Obviously, fewer people are using snail-mail. What with email, being able to pay bills online, et cetera. So for most folks, it’s probably not a big deal. If you only send a couple letters a month, then it’s maybe going to cost you 2 or 3 dollars at the end of the year.

For small businesses however, I think it is a big deal. If your business needs to mail invoices, cheques, and other stuff that isn’t a good fit for email, then your costs of running the business have gone up measurably. If you send out a couple hundred invoices per month, these rate hikes become a lot more significant.

Or how about people who aren’t computer-savvy and still rely on the postal service, folks on a fixed income… I’m thinking about older people, retired folks, like my parents.

Anyhow… it’s not the first time for a postal increase and it won’t be the last. (Canada Post have already stated they intend to raise the rates 2 cents per year till 2014.) It’s just that it feels like a tripple-whammy with the recent tax hike hitting only a few months ago.

Jerkette! Of the Day!

Posted 2010.11.17 17.59 in Pointless Blather

My daily commute to and from work is quite short. 10 minutes, typically. Yet the number of clueless idiots I see behind the wheels of cars is truly frightening.

This stellar example of automotive excellence must have had some super-critical stuff going on in that cellphone of hers. Way too busy to turn on the turn signal, and I don’t think she even noticed that she’d stopped her car on the pedestrian walkway.

I used to think that the people you see on that ‘Worst Driver’ show were just pretending. Now, I know the Awful Truth – the streets are full of people who, seriously, have no business being in control of 2,000 pounds of steel, glass and plastic. These people should be given mopeds, and left to fend for themselves. Clue in, or get squished.

What a Week that Was When?

Posted 2010.10.26 22.00 in Life On Drugs

Time is speeding up and slowing down again. It seems like there’s all the time in the world, then I blink and a week has gone by.

And what a week! Or what a fortnight! It’s been a tumultuous week or two. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned some of this stuff yet or not – short term memory is affected.

It all started when I got really low on my brain meds. See, the shrink had got me on these two drugs, cryptospam and wellbutrin. He’d give me a perscription that would last just long enough till the next time I’d see him, then he’d give me more.

Only this time, the staff lost my appointment, and the soonest they could schedule a new one was 6 weeks later. I’m like, well not only does that suck, but I’m going to run out of meds. He was very specific about me not missing even one dose. And they’re like, …

Literally – they had no comment. So I asked, could he contact the pharmacy and send in a renewal? Then they say, no that isn’t how it works. Go to the pharmacy and have them contact the doctor, that’s how it works.

So when I’m ready to need more, I go to the pharmacy and let them know and they fax the paperwork in. No worries. A few days later I run out, and go in, and ask for the renewal and they haven’t heard from the doctor yet. They fax it again. I leave.

Come back again a few days later. No word. They call. Can’t get through. I call. The staff don’t answer phones there, you have to leave a message, which they will ignore then call you back a day or two later and ask what you wanted. At one point the pharmacist gave me a couple pills, enough to get through the weekend, since we were all pretty sure things would be resolved soon.

A few days later, the resolution was still forthcoming.

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Time For A Geek Rant

Posted 2010.05.03 11.32 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I’m just going to come out and say it. This new Dr. Who is not impressing me. Yeah, not only am I geeky enough to watch the series, but I’m geeky enough to comment on it here on teh interwebz. (Caution: spoilerz ahead.)

I’ve only seen three episodes so far; the one where he first appears, the one with the space whale, and the one with the daleks. I’ve also seen the endless promotional clips they’re running on Space of course. (Why do they  have a clip of him aiminig a gun?! The doctor doesn’t like guns, doesn’t use guns. When the last doctor took up a gun in his last episode, it was supposed to be a big huge thing, to show just how desperate things had become. And even then, he didn’t  actually shoot anyone, he shot a machine.)

The first ep wasn’t too bad, the new doctor was a bit flakey but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he had just regenerated and that’s supposed to leave him messed up for a while. (Back in the old days, he had to have like a week or two of bedrest after a regeneration.) I liked the new companion, Amy Pond, and the writers seemed to be setting up some interesting arc stuff for the season – i.e. the cracks in the wall and the bad guy telling the doctor that the cracks are appearing all over, on their own. There was some suspense, the whole unseen-monster-ish kind of thing. On the other hand there were some stupid cheap-laughs kind of things, like the internet wanker having to help save the world with all the world leaders. Still, like I said, new doctor, first ep, so cut it some slack.

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DST is teh Sux.

Posted 2010.03.15 8.36 in Pointless Blather

I dislike daylight savings time. A lot.

First off, it sucks having to go through an hour ‘jet lag’ twice a year. Second off, just when the sun was coming up in the morning and it was getting easier to ‘rise and shine’ (or in my case, rise and glow dimly) they bump things back an hour so it’s not bright out any more when it’s time to get up. And third, since they messed with the timing for when DST starts and ends, we spend more time in the wrong time zone than we do in the time zone we’re supposed to be in!

Eastern Standard Time, the zone that my location is supposed to be in, now only lasts like 4 or 4.5 months? WTF is up with that? Why even bother for those last couple months? Just frigging change us to the next time zone over and call it a day.

It’s also a pisser when you have friends all over the world. Try and work out the relative times in your head, when it changes twice a year. Got a friend in Australia? When we go forward an hour, they go back an hour. Sometimes they’re 14 hours ahead, sometimes they’re 16 hours ahead. And since our change dates were screwed with, there’s also some time when they’re 15 hours ahead. Friends in Japan? They wisely don’t change their timezones around, but we do, so it changes twice a year. Friends in Europe? They do have DST but not when we do, so once more there’s a bunch of different numbers to try and remember.

Then you have your clocks that automatically adjust. By some coincidence all the clocks in my livingroom automatically change themselves, but the ones in my bedroom don’t. So yesterday I woke up at 9am, was pleased to see I’d slept in a bit… got up, fed the cats, made myself coffee, then sat down in the livingroom and suddenly it was 10:30! WTF?!

Whoever invented this DST BS should be hurt.

Darn Those Meddling Kids!

Posted 2010.01.17 9.41 in Pointless Blather

So I got a new water cooler recently. Excuse me, a new Water Dispenser. Nowadays they do hot, cold, and room temperature, so you can’t call them a water cooler any more. You know the things – metal and plastic, big water jug goes on top, place for a cup or glass, water comes out when you work the buttons or nozzles.

Anyhow, I do like the hot/cold/room temperature options. Hot is fantastic for making coffee, it’s very hot, like just a shade lower than boiling. I prefer to drink room temperature water, and the cold is available for guests. So far, so good.

Except every year they make the child safe protection stuff more insidious, more annoying.

I’m sorry but if parents are going to let little Johnny Dumbass play with the water dispenser, then little Johnny deserves the life lesson about hot water that he’s going to get. And for that matter, it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn about respecting the parents’ authority, assuming they at least told him not to screw with the water cooler.

But no – instead it seems society is bent on raising stupid children who will eventually grow up to become stupid (and litigious) adults. Nobody wants to take responsibility for raising their children, and so every damn thing has to become child-proofed and child-protected.

It just really agravates me that every morning I have to be inconvenienced trying to get my coffee, so that someone else’s dumbass kid doesn’t have to learn that hot water is hot (until they figure out how to defeat the safety thing.) Oh – and it’s not just for hot water – to save money, they made the hot valve also the room-temperature valve so I have to screw around with the safety device just to get a glass of water?

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Rants, Rages, Babbling

Posted 2009.12.22 10.13 in Pointless Blather

I get that it’s a busy time of the year for retailers, and for the postal system. But this comes as no surprise to anyone – especially retailers and the postal system. And incompetence and callousness just make me seethe at times.

So I placed an order, back in November in fact. No big deal, nothing special, just ordered some regular stock items from a store. I’d have gone in person but their retail shop doesn’t have the same line of merch. Anyhow, so I’ve ordered from these guys before. Very good communication, they let you know the order is received, then when it’s being picked, then when it’s shipped, then they send you tracking info.

Except this time, it got as far as received, then just silence. Finally after a week, I emailed them (they provided a contact address for questions). More silence – I emailed two or three times in total and never got so much as a peep from them. Pointer: Don’t provide a contact email address if you plan to not answer customers’ emails.

So I called. Spoke to someone but it wasn’t her department, someone else handles that. They transfer me. I get disconnected. Grumbles.

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