‘Smashing rural mailboxes was our reason to live’: snowplow operators to Canada Post

‘Smashing rural mailboxes was our reason to live’: snowplow operators to Canada Post

New Brunswick — Canada Post’s recent reduction in rural mailboxes has made life meaningless for many Canadian snowplow operators. A new University of New Brunswick study draws a strong connection between overall job satisfaction and “smashing mailboxes to smithereens.”

Economics professor Carol Buggsbey’s study looked at Canadian snowplow operators and analyzed job satisfaction in areas where rural mailboxes had been removed. The results were dramatic: “What we saw was increased depression and decreased job engagement in areas where mailboxes were removed,” she said. “As to the cause, it became clear the operators were really getting a lot of joy out of pulverizing mailboxes.”

National Snowplow Union president Wanda Bashemall offered some explanation. “Most of these guys transitioned into the job from a disillusioned youth. They found purpose with the position,” she said. “As teens, many of our members spent some time leaning out the window of a Hyundai Accent, baseball bat in-hand, taking swings at neighbours’ boxes. For many, it’s a natural transition to a 500-horsepower Freightliner with a 5 Ton Louisville Slugger welded to the side.”

Twenty-five-year plow veteran Paul Verize said that his job is a lot like popping bubble wrap, as far as satisfaction goes. “Yes, there are the simple joys: scaring oncoming motorists, filling in a single mom’s driveway as she’s about to leave for work. This is rewarding, but there’s nothing compared to the joy of metal-to-metal contact and watching that crumpled box heading for the tree line. Gotta say, there’s nothing like it.

“I’ll find myself driving by the home of a senior that you know is struggling with bills,” Verize continued, a faraway look in his eyes. “I can lower the wing and launch that mailbox into the weeds. Mailbox full of bills? Gone. That kind of satisfaction is hard to find these days. I’ve had people approach me and say, ‘Paul, you threw my bills in the ditch.’ These people had tears in their eyes — that means a lot.”

  1. Shovelling the end of the driveway after shovelling the entire driveway…digging into all that heavy, compressed snow left by the plow…pure exercise for the soul.

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  2. Sherry Desjardins February 12, 2016, 5:27 pm

    I would fire Paul

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  3. I like Paul. He’d be fun at parties

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  4. I live on a rural road here in Ontario . We found out it’s not so much the plow that strikes the box it’s the weight of the snow that’s being pushed off the side of the road at the speeds the trucks travel. Now what we’ve done is added a piece of plywood onto the side of the box so the snow that’s tossed hit’s it first before the box. I also hear that they will replace the mail boxes that are smashed.

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    • I work for Canada Post and on my rural back roads the township replaces the mailboxes they take out…no questions…on my main highways they do things different, contracted out…they check to see if the plow has touched the box and if not then the snow or wet slush is the result of removable and then it is the customer that has to replace

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  5. I’m pretty sure Paul must plow our road. I gave up trying to keep a mailbox!

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  6. A 4 foot piece of steel re-bar pounded in the ground just far enough away so that the wing won’t touch the mailboxes would make the “plow guys ” think about it next time after they take the passenger side window and mirrors off the truck from the wing kicking back at them! Wotks very well!

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  7. Not a big deal for the plow drivers but filling the box with concrete is a great pleasure when your box is being smashed by bat wielding youth 🙂

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  8. Gary you realize you would be liable for damages to the plow and charging you would be easy. The whole thought that plow drivers go out of their way to hit something as insignificant as your mailboxes is Asinine. Maybe learn to do the job and come out in the storm when the men are trying to get your family home safe in a blizzard then you would know something. end of rant

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  9. You all do realize that this article is Tongue In Cheek – right? That there is no Professor of Economics named Carol Buggsbey at UNB or anywhere – right?

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  10. My life would be much bleaker without the Manatee. Carry on.

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