Lines long, move quickly on busiest mailing day of year

jmink@macon.comDecember 16, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- On a sunny Monday afternoon, people packed inside the Russell Parkway post office, spending their lunch breaks mailing cards and packages as the holidays quickly approach.

On the busiest mailing day of the year, a line stretched toward the doors as employees stood among customers, making sure their packages were properly labeled. While the lines were long at area post offices, many customers in Warner Robins said the wait was acceptable.

“The line is to the door,” said Alana Bateman of Macon, “but it’s moving right along.”

On Monday, 607 million pieces of mail were estimated to be sent nationwide, according to the United States Postal Service.

“This is the day when more people send their packages and letters than any other day of the year,” said Stephen Seewoester, spokesman for the post offices in Macon and Warner Robins.

Therefore, the busiest delivery day is Wednesday for holiday cards and Thursday for packages. To make sure gifts are received by Christmas, customers must meet mailing deadlines. Those deadlines are Friday for first-class mail, Saturday for priority mail and Monday for priority mail express.

“We encourage people to mail as early as they can,” Seewoester said. “Sometimes we have situations, such as ice storms ... so (early mailing) is something we’re always pushing.”

The U.S. Postal Service expects to process nearly 13.1 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

On an average day during the holiday season, the postal service processes about 545 million pieces of mail, according to USPS. For that reason, Monday did not seem out of the ordinary for customers like Ivey Huff of Warner Robins.

“I came last week, and it was about the same,” Huff said, adding about 20 people were ahead of her in line, but she only waited 10 minutes. “They’re moving (the line) as fast as they can.”

Several employees were stationed at customer service, navigating customers, helping them correct any issues and making sure their packages were ready to go before they reached the counter.

“We have all hands on deck, basically,” Seewoester said.

Customers are encouraged to save time by printing labels and completing any other business online.

They also should know the correct zip codes -- one of the biggest customer issues during the holidays, Seewoester said.

Customers, such as Ray Steele of Warner Robins, said they appreciated the extra employees. Steele dropped by the post office to mail some cards and purchase stamps. When he got to the door, he noticed the long line.

“But it went pretty fast,” he said.

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