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An Dodo and An Post

Ireland – the worst little country in the world in which to post a letter

In economics a Giffen good is a product that people consume more of as the price rises— something that both challenges common sense while, at the same time, violating the law of demand. As those of us in business know if you want to sell more goods you normally have to get the price down. In fact Giffen goods appear to be so rare that economists can’t agree on one example, while curiously citing the humble spud during the Great Famine in Ireland as possibly being the only rare case.

Raise prices by 17% and you’ll sell more?

But Ireland looks like it may be about to make its mark in the economics textbooks again, this time with the equally humble An Post stamp. This particular State monopoly has decided to challenge conventional economic thinking and as sales of their stamps and usage of their services plummet, they’ve decided to increase the price of a stamp by 17 per cent in a year. Yes, 17% in a world where inflation is non-existent.

Yet another cost on businesses

Personal letters are so rare now that they cause a wonder when spotted. The only people who use the mail service regularly are businesses. So here we go again. We’re the best little country in the world to post a letter – NOT. Businesses are being hit with further costs again to shore up a creaking State monolith that has not changed with the times. Incredibly, instead of innovation and re-invention we have An Post charging more for its dying service.

Free emails are perfectly good for business

Let us be clear about ISME’s position on this price extortion (rise is too small a word for it). We held a very successful masterclass on businesses moving their IT to the cloud recently and ISME members who attended learned, amongst other things, about the use of the digital signature. Email and digital signatures are legal. Back in 1998 President Bill Clinton famously signed what was claimed to be the world’s first electronic signature when visiting Ireland. The US enacted a bill allowing electronic signatures in the year 2000 and June 30th is National eSign Day – 15 years ago. But what happens in the outside world doesn’t seem to unduly worry the cosy comforts of An Post. You don’t need to send letters in business anymore. Email is free and legally binding.

An Dodo

Let ISME give An Post a word of advice. Amongst our thousands of members we can assure An Post that not one of them has ever made more money or sold more goods or services by increasing prices by 17%. Gouging your customers makes them non-customers. A business with non-customers is a non-business. An Post will soon be gone the way of An Dodo.