Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 29, No.9

January 27, 2005


Mail Room staff are wizards at guessing addresses

By Barbara Black

Left to right are Rory O’Neill, Allan Gingell, Vince MacDougall, Keith Chapdelaine, Des O’Neill, Eldon Hill and Derek Page.

Mail Room staff: Left to right are Rory O’Neill, Allan Gingell, Vince MacDougall, Keith Chapdelaine, Des O’Neill, Eldon Hill and Derek Page.
Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

George Paul Meiu

Illustration by Eric Serre

We can guess at some of the misspelled names — Regimpaid for Regimbald, James Jim for James Jans — but what’s with Queensway Grocery, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd.?

These are just some of the strange names and addresses Vince MacDougall has seen over the years.

“They lighten our day, especially the good ones, like Lina Lips Combo,” MacDougall said. That should have been Lina Lipscombe. “Just today, I had a piece of mail for Jack Lighthouse.” Lightstone, that is.

Here are few more errors whose twisted logic can be perceived by an understanding mail clerk: Short George for George Short and Little Ted for Ted Little; Gene Gabbans and Jene Jibbons, both for Gene Gibbons; Chaipeleon for Chaikelson; Gilgolarf for Gilsdorf; Thwartes and Thwaitco for Thwaits.

Enn Raudsepp has been variously interpreted as Enn Raydsepp, Nenn Audsepp, Enn Raudsek and Erin Raudsepp. He works, by the way, in the Department of Joulism — sorry, make that Journalism.

The student newspaper known as The Link was addressed as The Tink. Elderhostel, the popular international association for older travellers, was rendered by one correspondent as Altarhostel, and located in the Dep. of Apply Human, properly known as Applied Human Sciences.

Then there was the Canadian Ass for Irish Studies, on Wet Broadway, and a mysterious label, written in block letters, to the Detective Department of Professors, Concordia University.

We’re working to become better known abroad, but did a school in the Middle East have to rub it in by calling us Megal University? And de Maisonneuve may not fall trippingly off the tongue of non-Quebecers, but one American university spelled it de Maospmmeive. How would they say that, exactly?

Supervisor of Mail Services Des O’Neill says his staff has a good sense of humour, but when they do grumble, it’s about sloppy addresses — “letters addressed to the Dean of Concordia, or simply a first name, or internal mail with nothing but a room number as an address.”

O’Neill said, “The guys here are incredible at remembering so many names. They have great knowledge of the university community and the constant changes that occur here.”

O’Neill says they’re a smaller group than they used to be. “In 1985, we had 13 employees, and we currently have seven. The level of service, i.e. deliveries, was lower then, but over the last three years we have been working hard to revisit as many sites as possible a second time.

“A renewed emphasis has been placed on service, especially under the Service 1 initiative [by VP Services]. The general trend is fewer letters going out, but the extra students balance that. However, the incoming mail has declined over the years due to the use of technology.

“I would have to say we expect challenges ahead, especially with the opening of the new building, but I know we have the support of our bosses, so I am sure we will be able to manage.” He said that the average length of service for mail clerks is 16 years. “I believe that speaks well of the department and people's feelings about their jobs.”