Here in Iceland, pretty much everyone hates the postal service.
It might seem kind of weird for the entire citizenry feel something between vague annoyance and quivering rage towards such an institution. I mean, sure, a parcel might go astray now and then, but everyone’s just doing their best for hassle-free deliveries, right?
The answer, sadly, is a resounding “no.” The idea of Iceland having a smoothly functioning postal system seems like something from Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’—because receiving mail is more like a scene from Kafka’s ‘The Trial.’
Let’s imagine a best case scenario wherein your parcel doesn’t vanish immediately into some neverending crack of doom upon arrival in the country (it probably does).
Great! That was the first hurdle. The next minor miracle would be finding a slip in your mailbox saying that you have a piece of mail waiting to be collected— this is not a given; these slips are prone to vanishing like a spirit flitting between worlds, meaning you have to pay “rent” for collecting your parcel late—assuming it doesn’t get unceremoniously returned to the sender. Messed up, right? Well, we’re just getting started.
Next, let’s go crazy and imagine the parcel is at the Post Office when you go to collect it, though it probably won’t be. It’s either out for a delivery you never booked, or is being held in the intranational purgatory of customs, languishing between worlds like Chihiro at the train stop in ‘Spirited Away.’
Now, let’s imagine the old and new gods are on your side and the parcel appears on the counter. But then, it happens—you’re presented with an eye-popping bill of tolls and charges amounting to more than the parcel’s actual worth.
At this point, you’ll probably try to reason with the blank-eyed and blameless counter person. But it won’t work. They’re tired, and they’ve been through this a few thousand times before. You’ll either have to pay up and feel like you’ve been mugged, or leave empty handed and feel even worse.
We call upon you, Pósturinn, to change your draconian ways. We don’t advocate violence, but you’re making us start to identify with the Unabomber. And we just wanna get mail—like those happy, smiling people receiving plentiful boxes and letters in your propaganda ads—instead of feeling like Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway.’
And if you wanna reply? Please—just send an email.
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