Procrastinators across the country are scrambling to the post office this week to make sure their holiday packages are delivered on time.
While Monday marked the busiest mailing day of the year nationally for the U.S. Postal Service. With more than 800 million pieces of mail expected to enter the system, Sun City postmaster Larry Imai said his customers like to get their shipping done early. The busiest day for him at the Bell Road location was last Monday instead.
“The day after Thanksgiving, my lobby is full,” Imai said.
But that didn’t stop a steady stream of customers from lining up in the post office lobby late Monday morning.
“It’s last minute. That’s great-grandma trying to get things done,” Sun City resident Helen McGovern said while waiting to ship a package of candy to her great-grandchildren in Omaha, Neb.
Monday was the recommended deadline for sending greeting cards and holiday letters to arrive in time for Christmas. Today is the recommended deadline for sending packages using Priority Mail and for those real procrastinators the Postal Service advises Wednesday is the last day to ship packages using Express Mail for guaranteed Christmas delivery.
“We always do some shipping, because we have family all over the country” said Sun Citian Sharon Long while waiting to ship another package.
The busiest delivery day is expected to be Wednesday, which Imai thinks may also be true in Sun City since a lot of children and grandchildren might procrastinate about sending out their gifts, more so than their parents or grandparents.
The Postal Service offers customers a variety of different shipping options, including Click-N-Ship on the website usps.com, allowing customers to print shipping labels and pay for postage using Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes that don’t need to be weighed. Customers also may request free package pickup online, meaning a trip to the busy post office isn’t necessary.
Customers can also save time by using one of the Automated Postal Centers, like Long did last week.
The automated centers function like a virtual post office, dispensing stamps, weighing packages and calculating postage for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Parcel Post items.
Long’s package that she shipped to her daughter in Atlanta arrived on Monday, in perfect time for the holiday.
Other mail carrier companies also have options for last-minute shipping.
With FedEx, the deadline for a Christmas delivery is Thursday with FedEx Express service. UPS Next Day Air packages picked up the Thursday will also be delivered Friday.