United States Postal Service workers are putting in an extra effort as they face the week of Dec. 13- 18, the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week of the season.
“It’s insanely busy,” said Hillsboro Postmaster Curtis Pegram, who oversees the 45133 zip code. “I would say we are 400 percent over normal, but historically you can’t really calculate it because of everything that’s happened the past couple of years, so it’s hard to create a baseline. But, yes, we are right in the middle of the heaviest part of our season.”
Pegram encouraged people to mail packages and cards as early as possible. “I know everybody likes to get things in on time, but if we spread it out it would be much easier on everybody because there are so many pieces in motion,” he said. “People call all the time trying to locate their one package out of the six or seven thousand we have that day, and sometimes it’s difficult.”
Although some carriers in Ohio are dropping off packages at their destinations as early as 6 a.m., Pegram has the parcels in his area delivered in the daylight.
“We bring them in a little bit earlier than daylight to get ready, but we don’t deliver in the dark, or we try not to, but a lot of other stations do,” he said. “Hillsboro doesn’t because I think it’s unsafe, so what we try to do is use the window of daylight to our advantage. We bring in extra people and turn them loose at about 7:30 a.m., and everybody is supposed to be back in house by 5:40 p.m. or whenever it gets dark.”
Pegram said if packages haven’t been sent out already, now is the time to have them to the post office.
“It depends on where it’s going to — if it’s just in town it’s different — but if you’re trying to send something to California or a significant distance it may or may not make it because you’ve only got about five or six days for next week,” he said.
Postal Service officials set some key shipping deadlines to keep in mind for the 2021 holiday season, some that have already passed:
* Dec. 15 – USPS retail ground
* Dec. 17 – First-Class Mail (greetings cards and letters)
* Dec. 18 – Priority Mail
* Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express
The Postal Service plans all year for the peak holiday season. This year’s preparations include leasing 7.5 million square feet of additional space across more than 40 annexes to handle the increase in the number of packages being mailed. The Postal Service is hiring more than 40,000 seasonal positions to help process and deliver the mail.
Information about all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines can be found at the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom: usps.com/holidaynews.
“International deliveries are always difficult,” said Pegram. “Canada and Mexico may not be so bad, but if you’re going to send it way out, the sooner the better.”
Pegram encouraged people with questions about deliveries to visit usps.com.
“You can answer a lot of your own questions by going to our website and putting your tracking number in there so you can see where it is actually at. We’ll do it for you, but we’re so busy right now you might sit on hold for a little while.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.