Making deliveries: Postal workers shoulder extra load for holidays

Making deliveries: Postal workers shoulder extra load for holidays
Making deliveries: Postal workers shoulder extra load for holidays | Making deliveries: Postal workers shoulder extra load for holidays
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Union City Post Office, where workers are beginning to see the traditional increase in holiday mail.
Postal workers were skillfully sorting through a variety of letters, cards and sales circulars early today. Workers set up each morning in their u-shaped work areas where they quickly go through bins of mail and deposit each piece of mail in their designated mail slot. It’s a process that runs like clockwork for the staff at the local post office, but after the early morning sorting comes the afternoon deliveries.
The resolve of the postal carriers — through rain, hail, sleet and snow — is going to be tested this week with the arrival of more winter-like weather conditions across the county.
The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 16.5 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day this holiday season, up from 15.8 billion in 2010, according to local Postmaster Rita Cooper.
She said that while the mail volume has dropped in some categories, packages associated with online retailers and store chains who try to make it easy to order and ship have increased.
Mrs. Cooper said the busiest delivery day for packages is Dec. 19 and the busiest delivery day for cards is Dec. 22.
She urged customers not to wait until the last minute.
Looking back over the past three years, 19 billion letters, cards and packages were delivered nationwide in 2008 by the U.S. Postal Service in the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. That figure dropped to 16.6 billion in 2009 and dropped again to 15.8 billion in 2010.
Local residents planning on sending Christmas cards or holiday packages to soldiers serving overseas should have their cards and packages mailed by Dec. 10, according to Mrs. Cooper.
The deadline for express mail to soldiers overseas is Dec. 17.
“December 12 will probably be one of our busiest days,” Mrs. Cooper told The Messenger early today.
She has served as the local postmaster since 2006, transferring to Union City from the post office in Dyer. Like most of those working at the local post office, she is a veteran of the business and is prepared for the increase in mail volume that comes each year about this time.
Mrs. Cooper and the rest of the staff at the local post office work by the motto “every piece, every day.”
“Our employees here are committed to giving the best possible customer service,” she said. “We’re taking care of our customers and our neighbors.”
With all the focus on the financial problems being experienced by the U.S. Postal Service, Mrs. Cooper is quick to point out there is something special about opening the mail box and pulling out an actual Christmas card.
“Receiving an email is just not the same as getting a card in the mail box,” she said.
Mrs. Cooper explained there is an emotional and practical advantage to sending a Christmas card by mail rather than using a computer. She said a Christmas card can be kept as a keepsake and is a piece of history, something an email fails to offer.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.28.11

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