Canada Post is on strike.
So what does that mean to a book seller who relies entirely on the good men and women at the post office to deliver the mail? It could mean "I'm screwed". Or it could mean that I should just walk around all day mumbling "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!!" waiting for the strike to end in a week or three.
Or I could follow the old addage: "When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade"
And that is exactly what I did yesterday. I hopped in my Honda Civic lemonade-maker and headed south. An hour later, I was in Pembina, North Dakota chatting with a happy-to-be-of-service US postal worker.
I've always known that US postal rates are lower than Canadian rates, but I was shocked to see by how much! When the friendly postman weighed one of my books and told me what it would cost for domestic and international shipping, my first thought was Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!
Not only are US rates cheaper...as in WAY cheaper... but the service is faster. In North America it is a day or three faster than Canada Post and for international service it is like comparing a rocket to a freaking donkey cart! Instead of 4 to 8 weeks for a book to ship to Europe, they usually get there in less than 10 days for the same price!
So right there and then I made two decisions.
1. I'm lowered my shipping charges on all North American orders. In fact, if you order two books to the same address in the US or Canada, the shipping charges are ZERO!
For international orders, shipping fees will remain the same for now but all books will be sent by airmail instead of by surface mail, no more slow boat to China.
2. I'm dumping Canada Post. Management and union haven't been able to work out a deal even though they have been at the bargaining table for nearly a year. Next week the government will step in to force them back to work. But it won't matter to me. I will be heading south every week with a trunk load of books to ship via USPS. And I am going to send a nice box of lemons to the fine folks at Canada Post. But I am pretty sure they will never make lemonade out of them since the fruit will probably just rot in a warehouse somewhere waiting for the next strike to come and go.