Return to sender: vanishing mailbox causes consternation in Kārķi

Take note – story published 2 years ago

The sudden disappearance of the village mailbox in the village of Kārķi in northern Latvia has caused consternation among locals, reports Latvian Radio.

The disappearance of this important point of contact with the outside world is not the work of vandals or thieves but of Latvian Post (Latvijas Pasts) itself, and comes just a year after the village post office was closed.

"Personally, I'm shocked, around twice a month I definitely take letters there to post them," says local resident Mārīte Melņika. She likes to enter various competitions by post – which is made significantly easier by access to a postbox.

Other people in Kārķi told Latvian Radio that senior citizens in particular still prefer to communicate by post when sending birthday greetings, for example. They also said that having the local government office, doctor's surgery, library and post office all in one place had been very convenient. One even described the disappearance of the postbox as an "outrage".

At the end of last summer in Kārķi Parish, the closure of the post office, had already caused confusion and dismay among residents.

The head of the parish administration, Pēteris Pētersons, told Latvian Radio that neither then nor now was the parish was informed about the changes in a timely manner.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have any information, and the mailbox is no longer physically there, and there is no explanation about why," said Pētersons.

Latvijas pasts explains that the services are regularly monitored and everything is based on demand.

"If we talk about this specific location, then there was one letter here on average per week, which the residents placed in this post box," says Gundega Vārpa, a representative of the postal service.

Consequently, the costs and logistics of having someone drive there daily to empty the likely already-empty mailbox did not make it worthwhile.

"Our employee spends his working hours, we are consuming fuel, which is becoming more and more expensive every time, to check this letterbox," explained Vārpa.

However, the disappearance of the mailbox may not entirely free that postal employee of visits to Kārķi.

Residents have been informed that letters can be handed to the postman by prior notice, a solution that failed to impress the residents who spoke to Latvian Radio.

"My first emotion is that I will not torment the poor postman," said one, while another said postal workers had already expressed a reluctance to visit some of the less convenient addresses with a Kārķi postcode.

"For example, our home is in Dzintari, five kilometers from the center, and this year, when the road was difficult to drive at all, the postwoman even warned that she would not drive until the weather was better."

Another resident said: "I don't know anything about such a home service! I'm not aware of such a thing yet!"

Perhaps someone should write them a letter.

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