Postal Service officials say they’re ready for the holidays but recommend shipping early
With the holidays quickly approaching, many folks will be paying an extra trip to the post office to pick up or send a package in the coming weeks during the U.S. Postal Service’s peak season.
Postal Service spokesperson David Rupert said the government agency has been preparing for the holidays since the start of the year and is hiring “for the holidays and beyond.”
Summit County post offices have seen some impacts on service levels due to a lack of sufficient staffing this year, and Rupert said while the agency continues to struggle with staffing, it is continuously hiring. He added that the agency is continuing to work with local officials to find help for housing post office employees.
Rupert said the Postal Service has been proactive in its holiday preparations based on last year’s challenges amid the pandemic, accelerating key processing, logistics and delivery investments to ensure packages are delivered in a timely manner. Last December, only 38% of nonlocal first-class mail was delivered on time.
This year, Rupert said 40,000 peak season workers will be hired nationwide and that they are starting earlier than last year to allow for more training and experience prior to volume increases.
“The organization is executing on strategies to pull together people, facilities, technology, equipment and transportation into a well-integrated and streamlined mail and package network,” Rupert wrote in an email. “With these investments and preparations … the Postal Service is well-positioned to ensure holiday cards and gifts arrive on time.”
During the holidays, the Postal Service increases its staffing, sorting equipment, transportation and facility use to prepare for increased demand. This year, officials say the agency has 12% more air capacity than last year and rented almost 3,300 trailers just for peak season. The Postal Service also developed 112 new package-sorting machines and is in the process of installing them nationwide, allowing workers to process an additional 4.5 million packages a day, Rupert said.
Rupert encouraged Postal Service customers to take advantage of USPS.com to prepare packages ahead of time. Through the website, folks are able to buy and print postage so they can prepare packages and simply drop them off at the nearest post office when they’re ready.
“It’s a way to avoid the lines,” Rupert said. “You could do all the work yourself, and then you could just leave it at the counter and go on your merry way. That’s really the ticket to success at the local post office.”
Those who won’t be home during the holidays are also able to make an online request that the Postal Service hold onto any mail at their local post office while they are away.
To ensure domestic packages arrive in time for Christmas, the Postal Service recommends retail ground service mail be sent by Dec. 15, according to its website. Recommended dates are slightly later if using first-class or priority mail services, and the website also has recommendations to ensure international mail is delivered based on the location.
“Our advice to consumers this holiday remains the same as always: Plan ahead and mail early, particularly when shipping long distances,” Rupert wrote.
Kids around the country write letters to Santa every year, and the U.S. Postal Service is making sure their Christmas wishes come true.
Through Operation Santa, folks are able to read letters kids write to Santa and pick one child to anonymously “adopt,” becoming their personal Santa. Based on the letter, participants can choose the perfect gift for the kid, wrap it and bring it to a participating post office to ship. All of Summit County’s post offices participate in the program.
Learn more and sign up at USPSOperationSanta.com.
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