When I was a boy, I made a few dollars each week mowing lawns. Dad mowed lawns, and it’s still hard for me to resist the urge to measure a man by his lawn.
When I was done, and between homework and chores, I was often left with my grandparents to provide them with company. This was long before children were viewed as cow-eyed souls to be filled with sweets and warm thoughts from mom. They were bored, and I might as well be bored with them. This was sometimes fun but always awkward since they spoke only Slovak and I spoke only English. Occasionally, my grandmother would slip me a dollar bill or empty her change purse into my hand with sign-language genuflections warning me not to tell my mother. I used the money collected from mowing lawns and from Grandma’s secret stash to indulge in my hobby of messing around with stamps.
Now Posti, the state-operated postal service of Finland, has the same idea.
These are hard times for any country’s postal service, and most have improved efficiency and raised prices. Posti, just like me wanting to dabble in stamps, has been fiscally productive in a different way. Last spring, they announced that they will mow your lawn for a fee. I’m rather particular about my yard, and if my postal lawn-mower mows with the same amount of care that he cancels my commemoratives, well, I might be less that happy. Never mind the fact that my postman, a large man with a ubiquitous cigarette, would be hard pressed to mow my small plot in our summer heat. I’m sure the service comes with a no-responsibility clause.
They’ve also announced a Befriending service to enhance their bottom line and the welfare of elder Finns. It costs about $75.00 for a half-hour visit, but postal workers trained in elder care will help folks venture outside for activities and conversation. Posti states that “Our aim is to make everyday lives of our elderly customers more active and social.” Dedicated providers will deliver meals and provide ‘confidential support’ to customers. Posti makes no attempt to hide the fact that this is both a social program and a means to increase revenue.
Not all Finns are on-board. Detractors point out that Posti struggles with delivery schedules. If they can’t deliver the mail on time, then how they will care for human beings? It’s an odd thing to me, but why not? Postal workers are familiar with their communities and typically neighbors to the people they serve. With the right training, they can provide needed and important benefits to communities and individuals. Sounds to me like the Finns are doing things right.
Thanks so much for reading. Can you think of someone else who would enjoy the post? A stamp collector? A shut-in hoping to shake hands with a postman? Please mail it to them or share with your favorite social media using one of the icons below. And won’t you follow me? You can do so in the sidebar. Thanks again! And feel free to comment!
It’s a stretch, but here’s another Scandinavian’s view of eldercare. He’s a great writer, but I wouldn’t want him taking care of grandma…go here for my book review.