See you to­mor­row, postie

So much shop­ping, and so many web­sites. What’s a girl to do with her time in spring?

QT Magazine - - THE LAST WORD - THE LAST WORD WITH EMMA CLARKE

THERE’S a sassy toot in the drive­way, the slid­ing of a van door and an ex­as­per­ated face com­ing up the front steps with a neatly packed par­cel un­der his arm – it’s the postie and it’s the third time I’ve seen him this week.

Some­times he has lit­tle pink box, that weighs no more than five grams, with a fresh set of false eye­lashes in­side. Other times it’s a hat box too wide to fit through the door­way, but most of the time a brown paper par­cel has some shoes or an out­fit from ei­ther a favourite Aus­tralian de­signer or a US depart­ment store.

The re­la­tion­ships I have formed with the mul­ti­ple post­men and post­women who fre­quent my house is a tested one. One young man in par­tic­u­lar makes my de­liv­er­ies when he knows I am home in the af­ter­noon and if my rou­tine has changed, I can ex­pect to find my de­liv­ery hid­den neatly on the pa­tio.

An­other, who I am yet to meet in per­son, leaves pack­ages con­ve­niently in the mid­dle of the drive­way. It is not ap­pre­ci­ated.

When I can I of­ten catch a glimpse in­side the postie van and see the hun­dreds and hun­dreds of boxes, bags and pack­ages stacked up in­side. It’s im­pos­si­ble to think all those parcels will end up in the re­cip­i­ents’ hands that same day. It’s im­pos­si­ble to think some of them were thou­sands of kilo­me­tres away, even over­seas, just a day or so ago. What’s in­side them? A gift, a toaster, new sea­son gem and pearl bead en­crusted with a hand-painted porce­lain heel Dolce & Gab­bana pumps fresh from the ate­lier in Italy? Who knows.

What strikes me time and time again, is there never seems to be any fewer parcels in the van. While our bills, let­ters and cards have al­most all been trans­ferred to email form, we are in­creas­ingly shop­ping on­line. The orders keep com­ing and so do the parcels. In the busiest month of the year, De­cem­ber, Aus­tralia Post posties de­liver up to 37 mil­lion parcels. It’s the largest re­tail busi­ness in Aus­tralia and if peo­ple like me keep or­der­ing at the rate we do, it’s only go­ing to get big­ger.

Aus­tralians spent $21.3 bil­lion on­line last year and Ip­swich has one of the high­est cat­e­gory growth rates in on­line shop­ping for home­wares and ap­pli­ances, with year-on-year growth ex­ceed­ing 38 per cent.

In fact, con­sumers are so ad­dicted to on­line shop­ping, Aus­tralia Post is build­ing the largest par­cel fa­cil­ity and de­liv­ery cen­tre in the south­ern hemi­sphere to cope with de­mand. Hap­pily, the 50,000sq m distribution and sort­ing cen­tre is due to open in Red­bank by Christ­mas next year.

Up to 700,000 parcels will travel through the cen­tre ev­ery day. It is ex­pected more than 500 peo­ple will work at the cen­tre in a $200 mil­lion boost to the econ­omy.

It’s nice to think a con­sumer-driven in­dus­try, that is en­tirely de­pen­dent on a real per­son hav­ing a real job, is so suc­cess­ful. It’s nice to think posties are in de­mand. It’s nice to think how many peo­ple are happy to see their postie trot­ting up the drive­way ev­ery day with some­thing ex­cit­ing to give us.

PHOTO: EMMA CLARKE

PARCELS OF JOY: Oh the joys of buy­ing fashion on­line and the thrill of see­ing them ar­rive. It’s not ex­actly like be­ing a kid at Christ­mas, but it’s pretty darn close.

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