Sunday, June 30, 2013


In New Zealand at the moment our main postal company is pushing to have our postal delivery service reduced from 6 days to 3 days. I personally think it's silly, and backward and makes New Zealand look like a hick town BUT their rationale is that people don't send letters and packages as much anymore because of emails and so the posties don't have as many letters to deliver. It'll mean there'll be all sorts of job cuts (poor old Postman Pat out of a job) and will be really annoying if you have to wait that many more days to receive your post.

They've been talking about how it's similar to when they cut down mail deliveries in the 1980s. The milk trucks used to go around the neighbourhoods, take away your empty glass bottles and replace them with new bottles. In the 80's they cut down this service to only a few days a week. I remember when I was a little kid in the early 90's hearing the music of the milk truck and running out to pick up the crate of our milk. We'd put out the empty glass bottles and put a blue ring around the neck of one (which meant medium fat), a green ring around one (which meant trim) and a white around the other (which meant full fat). Then the crates I'd take inside each day would have three full glass bottles of milk, one with a silver top, one with a green top and one with a blue top.

I didn't realise when they stopped the milk deliveries all together. I guess by the time it happened I was well into my schooling years and didn't notice the slow phasing out of the glass bottles and the phasing in of the supermarket bought plastic bottles. The ones from the supermarkets had all different kinds of flavours - full cream, trim, normal, calcium added, chocolate flavoured - all different colours of plastic milk tops. It's like I blinked and the world was unrecognisable.

So I was thinking about that and realised I really miss my childhood. Not because it was the carefree kiddie days but because life was so much more simple.

I know of a child who is under 10 years old and her whole life is spent behind a screen. She watches TV in the morning. On the way to school she listens to her i-pod while playing on her i-pad. While she's at school she uses computers. When she gets home she plays online on her laptop while watching TV from the minute she gets home until the minute she goes to bed. It's awful and just makes me cringe.

Now I spend a lot of my life behind screens as well. But when I was nine years old there was no cellphones. There were no laptops (that I knew of). Desktop computers were big, slow and clunky and the internet was slowly building momentum but you could go and make yourself a cup of tea in the time it took to load one single page.

I spent my time listening to music and dancing, scootering and biking around the neighbourhood or reading. I played board games and used my awesome pro-yo or jittering. What's happening to our kids now? Are they all like this child I know? Sucked into a world that is spent behind a screen?

I've been getting quite nostalgic, and have been thinking a lot about the past and how things were, and I'm wondering, what is it that you miss? Do you read a lot of books set in the days of your childhood and long for the days when you didn't own a TV, or just as the TVs started projecting coloured images, or when al you could play on a computer was pacman? As much as these technologies are a godsend, is there any you wish you could just get rid of for a little while?

I better snap back to the present. The reality is, as our world changes and becomes this 'modern world of convenience' we need to change with it, or we get left behind. But sometimes it's nice to wonder, what would our world be like without all these screens, all this convenience? What would it be like to still receive our milk in glass bottles at our letterbox, and if the thought of cutting the postal service down to 3 days a week was just preposterous.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.... 


  1. Nicely put. I work in front of a computer all day and, because of that, I'm very weary of technology. I don't want anything to do with gadgets, smartphones or tablets.

    1. Fair call! I work in front of a computer, i relax in front of a computer and I feel like my whole life is run by technology....

  2. The Post Office in the States is phasing out Saturday letter delivery, but they're continuing to deliver packages. This makes much better sense since, yes, snail mail has gone down as e-mail has increased. But Amazon has yet to develop a way to send the hard-copy books, DVDs, CDs, clothes, etc. you order electronically. If anything, I imagine the use of package mail has gone up. Given the financial hit the USPS has taken due to email, the wrong reaction would be to cut all delivery services by 2 or 3 days. The correct reaction is to re-evaluate your business model, and focus on where there is still a market need. It sounds like that's what they've done here, but sadly not in NZ!

    When I was a child, there was no world-wide web. I was 11 before we got our first home computer. My childhood was in the days of vinyl, cassettes, and three T.V. channels (Channel 4 didn't come along until I was 12, I think). And while I would have loved to have had the technology we have now, I can't honestly say I was worse off for not having it. You don't miss what you don't have, and you make the best with what you've got.

    And I remember my parents telling me how different it was when they were kids... :)

    1. Yeah that's the issue. I don't mind about the whole 'your bills will only be delivered every few days' thing, but the online shopping! Especially because in NZ everything is SO expensive and so online shopping is what so many people go to to save money. Although it's a little harder because a lot of places on Amazon won't ship to NZ or charge almost as much as whatever you're buying to ship to the bottom of the earth but still! I agree, they need to re-evaluate their business model and find a different way of doing things!

      I vaguely remember those days! We had a computer growing up but it was very limited, very slow and you could really only play Jaybird or other such games like that! As for the TV channels.... haaa in NZ unless you pay a lot (much much more than Cable) to get Sky you only have 4 channels. I was so excited living in America, with cable, to have a TV with hundreds of channels, it was such a discovery! Now i'm back in NZ and the choices for TV is so limited. Four channels - one mostly plays music, and the other three are 90% infomercials and reality tv. Thank goodness for the WWW! In saying that, I can also say I wasn't worse off for not having these things growing up, I didn't know what I was missing so it was all good.

      Can't wait to tell my kids how 'cave men' like it was when I was a child. When they hear my parents 'when I was a kid we didn't even have colour TV' stories they'll be horrified!