Friday, January 22, 2021

And a very happy Diwali to you too, Australia Post

It’s cheaper to post Christmas cards than Diwali cards. Or so we were led to believe.

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

‘Tis the holiday season – time to spread the cheer. Around this festive time, Indian Link sends hundreds of Diwali cards via Australia Post to greet and thank our readers and well-wishers.

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If you plan to do the same, you’ll be surprised to learn that just like Christmas cards, you can ship them out at a special price.

There’s a bit of a story though, on how we found this out.

READ ALSO: Ideas for a COVIDSafe Diwali celebration

Having run a competition over several months to design our annual Diwali card, and having personally signed a few hundred of them in two days‘ time, we think our work is done as we arrive at AusPost to do the needful.

“There’s a special on seasonal greeting cards,” the teller informs us with a smile. “They are half off between 1 November and 31 December.”

Welcome news for us, since we’ve been shipping at full price all these years.

We plonk our boxes of Diwali cards on the counter.

“Are these Christmas cards?” the teller asks.

“No, they’re Diwali cards,” we reply diligently.

“Oh,” she says, with a bit of confusion, and proceeds to call on her superior to let him know we want to avail on the special offer.

To our surprise, we are turned away, because ‘the seasonal greeting cards discount‘ is only applicable to Christmas cards.

We retaliate, citing that Diwali is an Indian festival where it is a regular practice to send out greeting cards.

However, our statement is not accepted by the folks at Australia Post.

They interpret ‘seasonal greeting cards ‘ as Christmas cards only. They are adamant that Diwali cards do not count, and that we must ship at $1.10 each rather than at 65 cents.

“We don’t make the rules,” the staff tell us – and they’re all of multicultural background, by the way.

We get back to the office and ring Australia Post’s information line to confirm. The person answering has no idea what we’re talking about – he’s not even aware that there’s a special price on for seasonal greeting cards.

My colleagues look at each other and lament, it is cheaper in Australia to wish Merry Christmas than to wish Happy Diwali, or any other festival for that matter.

A multicultural country with not so multicultural-friendly policies?

An email enquiry we send off does not get a reply until the next day, but when it comes, it is conciliatory.

Yes, the Postal Manager at Alexandria Business Hub writes, our Diwali cards can be treated as “seasonal greeting cards” during November and December as long as they are “in a sealed envelope and endorsed ‘card only’ in the top RH corner.” (They were).

Moreover, none of our Diwali cards made it to well-wishers in India this year. Apparently, AusPost has disallowed any cards being sent to India citing COVID concerns. However, they continue to accept cards addressed to the US, despite the fact that the States has reported more active COVID cases than India.

Reckon we should raise a flag with Australia Post about this too?

UPDATE: After raising the issue with the head office, AusPost reimbursed Indian Link for the additional charges.

READ ALSO: What I miss and what I won’t this COVID Diwali

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Bageshri Savyasachi
Bageshri Savyasachi
Truth-telling, tree-hugging journalist.

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