Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Its goodbye to postage stamps

Years ago Carpenters sang one of their famous songs “Goodbye to love,” the beautiful melody of which still resounds in my memory. And now there are news to say goodbye to postage stamps. While stamp collecting has already been relegated to a much lower priority amongst the youngsters, as it once used to be, whatever remains of it will diminish soon when codes received through text messages will replace the stamps as as being envisioned and planned by a number of countries.

Denmark is all set to launch a system with effect from 1 April, unless it is an April Fool hoax, whereby the users will send a text message (SMS) to the postal service number, which in turn will send back a code. The users will use these codes on their envelopes instead of stamps and post the letter just like any other letter with a stamp on.

These stamp-less envelopes will save a user to find a post office to buy stamps and reduce on the effort of doing so. Sweden is also planning a system on similar lines, and so does Australia, as I hear. As per a new agency, the code number will cost around 8 DKK (£0.92p) in addition to the cost of sending the text message request. These code numbers will be valid for only seven days and to be used within Denmark only, though initially, and letter weighing up to 50g. All that a customer will have to do would be send the word “PORTO” to 1900 and instantly get a code to write on the envelope rather than licking the a gluey stamp and pasting it on the envelope.

Some people have apprehensions on using the text code as it can be forged and cracked. But the fraud if any will automatically be detected by the special scanners being installed in the post offices and envelopes with fake / forged / cracked text numbers will automatically be discarded.

But such efforts are a big setback for the stamp lovers and collectors. Some are of the view, and so am I, that stamps reflect the art and culture of a country.  When the stamps will be replaced with these simple life-less text numbers, the art of a country would begin to die as stamps are major carriers of a country’s art to the world. And the use of SMS will increase manifold, much to the happiness of the cellular phone service providers as their fortunes will now get an additional source of income.

So it is goodbye to stamps or in fact goodbye to love by the stamp collectors who loved to collect stamps. Technology surely is changing our values, interests and love for collecting objects, the same way plastic money is robbing coin collectors from collecting coins.


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