“Children” at Christmas …

I read this story today, and it reminds me of, really, what I hate about, at least, some people:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/12/23/16653786.html

So, the meat of the story is that Canada Post has asked people to not put decorations on the railings of their outdoor steps and stairs to help avoid accidents.  The reasoning for this seems to be that when it’s snowy and icy outside their mail carriers could use the railings to hold on to, and it’s hard to do when they have things on them, and trying might cause accidents (the article cites an incident — sans details — where a mail carrier almost lost a finger four years ago).  If the people don’t do this, Canada Post is threatening to stop delivering mail until they do

Well, it doesn’t sound like a really big threat, and Canada Post is almost certainly overreacting.  But there does seem to be a risk.  So what is the reply from people?

” “It’s moronic. They are stupid,” said St-Hubert resident Ghislaine St-Pierre. “I’ve been putting the garlands up for five years and they have never said anything. My entrance way is always clear.” ”

Well, they didn’t say anything and it might not be a problem on your stairs.  Or, it might be.  Canada Post doesn’t have the time to check all of these to see what’s okay and what might not be, and just because you’ve never had an accident doesn’t mean that you won’t.  Maybe you just got lucky.  Maybe we’ll get more freezing rain this year and your entrance way won’t be clear.  None of this, really, has anything to do with their claim, and certainly calling them stupid and moronic isn’t doing anything to deal with it.

And they can counter with the obvious “Why are you putting a little bit of decoration over potential safety issues?”.

“But St-Pierre says there is no way she’s taking down her decorations.

“If they aren’t happy, they can keep my mail until Jan. 2,” she said.”

Well, that’s fair enough.  If those decorations are all that important to her, saying “They can suspend my service if they want” is a good response.  And I’d be more impressed with it if I didn’t think that she was saying that in a very bitter sense, filled with superiority.

“Boisvert received two notices before an inspector left him a note on Tuesday. The note said if the problem wasn’t fixed, Canada Post would be forced to temporarily suspend his delivery.

I think that my mail carrier doesn’t like Christmas,” he said. To keep the peace and ensure his mail delivery continued he installed a temporary ramp made with a few pieces of wood.”

Well, kudos on the compromise, but he loses a lot for claiming that the mail carrier doesn’t like Christmas for complaining about it.  He might be too concerned about safety, but there’s no indication that sending repeated notices means he doesn’t like Christmas.

“The explanation doesn’t satisfy Nathalie Gagnon, who has decorated her railings with small Christmas lights for 15 years without any issue.

“Don’t they have other things to do?” she wondered. “They are exaggerating. If they don’t want to deliver, they can keep my mail and then pay my bills when the time comes.” ”

It’s so nice that the article arranged the responses from most to least reasonable.

See, the first person said that they can keep her mail, and she’ll deal with it after the decorations are taken down.  The last person says that she’s not going to take down her decorations or make any accomodation, which will force Canada Post to carry out their threat … and then argues that they can then go further and actually pay her bills.  Excuse me?  Why?  If you don’t accept their terms, why aren’t you responsible for your own bills that end up overdue because of it … even if you’re right?

Ultimately, Canada Post almost certainly is overreacting.  That being said, in today’s society — and I dislike this, too — they almost have to; they probably have unions and their employees looking to sue or get on their case if they don’t try to improve such conditions.  But the response from people is “I’m not going to take down these decorations.  They’re mine and they’re staying up!” when, really, it’s just Christmas decorations.   Even if overstated, having garlands and things on the rails might cause problems if anyone needs or wants to use them, even just if their hand might slip or get tangled in them.  Are those decorations that important?

Probably not.  But some people seem to think that asking them to take them down is some major violation of their rights, just as asking them to do anything they don’t want to do is a major violation of their rights.  We’re turning into a selfish society, thinking only of “me” and making even the most minor desire of ours a critically important right, and if we’re deprived these things it’s a huge, unreasonable deprivation.

Even though the danger is exaggerated, Canada Post seems to be on the right side here.   So those who don’t want to take their decorations down can, indeed, leave them up and face the consequences.  Their choice.  But it is a choice, and they really have to own up to that.

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