Giving new meaning to ‘snail mail’


I received a birthday card on Monday. Given that my birthday was on November 14, it was a ‘belated’ card. When I enquired from the relative who sent it, she said it was posted at the La Romaine post office at ‘the end of October’. For calculation purposes, we’ll use November 1. So, the card took 44 days to reach me.

When e-mail became popular (and correspondence could reach anywhere in the world within seconds), the term ‘snail mail’ was invented to refer to traditional mail. It was just a way to distinguish between the two types of mail. But TTPost is trying hard to make the meaning literal.

According to, a snail travels at a ‘speed’ of about half an inch per second, on the low end; it varies from 0.5 to 0.8 inches per second. This translates into 45 to 72 metres per hour.

For easy calculation, we’ll use 50 metres per hour = 0.05 km/h. And, remember, that’s for a relatively slow snail.

So here’s a good SEA question:

if a snail travels at 0.05 km/h, how far will it go in 44 days? Answer: 52.8 kilometres.

The distance from my relative’s home to mine is 12 kilometres (as the crow flies or, in this case, as the snail crawls). It’s 18 kilometres by road. Assume she had employed a snail to deliver the card.

Next question: moving at a speed of 0.05 km/h, how long will the snail take to cover a distance of 12 kilometres? Answer: ten days. Even if the snail chose to travel by road, it would have taken only 15 days. And if it took eight hours off every day for bathroom breaks and resting, it would take about 22 days. That’s half of what TTPost took.

I daresay using ‘snail mail’ to refer to TTPost is a great affront indeed to the speedy snail.

P.S. Perhaps TTPost could explain why a card posted at the ‘end of October’ in La Romaine is postmarked ‘Nov 27, Piarco’. And why are most letters not stamped with the date of posting?

Surely, it cannot be for speedier delivery.

Noel Kalicharan