Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting mailing addresses

Emirates Post announced recently (at a press conference) that we are getting house numbers, street addresses, and zip codes in the near future. All streets will be named, houses numbered, and mailboxes established at residences. Hallelujah!!!

“The Emirates Post P.O. Box bundle service represents a major leap forward for postal delivery in the UAE,” said Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Emirates Post. “For the first time in the country’s history, residents will be able to avail themselves of a cost-effective postal delivery mechanism that will bring their mail directly to their homes. This new service is a fitting milestone as we celebrate the 40th National Day,” he added.

The P.O. Box bundles have already commenced and are being rolled out throughout the UAE as an annual service, with subscribers choosing their preferred delivery option by visiting an Emirates Post office. In addition to the advantage of having mail delivered either directly to, or very close to, the home, new value additions include the option to choose mail delivery 3 to 6 times a week; online access to information about incoming mail; temporary mail delivery suspension option during vacations; location of mail boxes through GPS and a facility to retain a P.O. Box number in case of change of address, subject to conditions.

Now, home mail delivery service is going to cost a pretty penny. In the US, we are not used to paying for the delivery of the mail outside of the postage on the mail unless you count the taxes that we pay in to the Federal Government that funds the postal system in the US. The cost for mail delivery to your home in the UAE (only 3 times a week) is 700 Dirhams (190 USD). That's $3.65 per week to receive mail delivery. That really isn't that bad depending on how you look at it. If you have never received mail at home and always had to drive or walk somewhere to get mail, then this is probably not considered expensive or a small price to pay for the convenience. On the other hand, we Americans have been so used to doorstep delivery, we think it absurd to have to pay more money on top of the taxes we pay. One thing that is really cool, though, is the SMS option. You can sign up to have a text message sent to you when you receive mail. Another cool option is the mail scanning service. You can pay for the post to open your mail, scan it, and then send it to you by email. These are the days of technology people. Now in the US mail confidentiality would be a problem with this new concept.

The big questions is "will it ever really happen?" Sometimes, even when it is widely adverstised by the government, some programs just never get off the ground. So it remains to be seen if I will have a street address in the very near future. For now, I will continue to drive to the post office to get my mail. I had a very hard time resigning myself to paying money for mail delivery 3 times a week when I really don't get that much mail here. We do most things on line these days. I am also not quite comfortable yet with the quality of the service. Will they really come three times a week and can the postman be considered reliable to deliver mail? It will most definitely be a foreign worker who can drive a motorcycle and probably be able to read both English and Arabic---but then again, maybe not. His communication skills will be lacking and his desire to be on time and consistent will be.....umm, shall I say...not quite what we are used to in America. So therefore, I deemed this to be a point of of those small details that is just not quite right and what I am used to...that will throw me off kilter just a bit. These moments are few and far between but occasionally I find a small point that I find frustrating. I elected to remain a P O Box resident for now. We'll see how it goes in the future.

***all information, photos, and logo obtained from the Emirates Post official website

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