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12Oaks's avatar

Should the definition of post-haste be changed?

Asked by 12Oaks (4051points) February 11th, 2011

It means “with the greatest possible speed or promptness” and is derived from the speed and efficiency of the postal service. But anymore, if you want something done with the greatest possible speed or promptness, the post office would be your last choice. With so many alternatives for letters, like e-mail and fax, and packages are delivered no quicker, efficiently, or with the best cost than FedEx. What Fed Ex could do in two days, the post office will charge you twice as much on a “when it get there, it gets there” basis. So it seems that logic would dictate that when someone asks for something post-haste, it should be done slowly, inefficiantly, with more cost than necessary.

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11 Answers

glenjamin's avatar

then I guess the new term should be “internet-haste”

lloydbird's avatar

Not too quickly.

Poor pun apology

12Oaks's avatar

@glenjammin Great idea!! iHatse does have a ring to it. Thanks!!

thorninmud's avatar

I think it’s actually still fitting. It originated as the exhortation “Haste, post, haste” written on letters. The “post” was the postman, so the instruction is telling him to hurry up and deliver the damn letter.

So in its original usage it wasn’t setting up the postal service as a model of rapidity; it was a recognition that the postal service could do with some prodding. When we say post-haste these days, we use it in the same prodding manner.

marinelife's avatar

@thorninmud is correct. It was an instruction to the postal system to hurry.
I think it is fine as is.

12Oaks's avatar

Maybe I’ll try an experiement. Will address two envelopes for the same place. Same postage, whatever the going rate is now. Will drop them both in the same mailbox that is over 100 miles out. The only difference will be one will be marked Haste, Post, Haste. Will be anxious to see which makes its intended destination first.

zenvelo's avatar

@12Oaks the computer sorting equipment will probably kick it out and hold it up.

The post in Great Britain used to come at least twice a day. And for “gentlemen” the postman would wait for you to write a reply.

12Oaks's avatar

I used to get mail twice a day for some reason like 10 years ago. Never knew why. I have no idea what my mailman looks like now. 99% of whatever is left is instantly trashed.

YARNLADY's avatar

Language changes over time based on usage. There are some internet sites that deal with changing meanings. You could do a search for them.

JLeslie's avatar

The post office is fantastic. They almost never lose a package. Letters and packages move accross country in a few days for 40 something cents. I guess you are comparing to Fedex maybe? Still, the USPS does a good job overall. Compared to many other countries our mail service is fantastic. I would hate to see the USPS go out of business.

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