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Busy Days Ahead For U.S. Postal Service

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The traffic at post offices during the holidays can be busier than rush hour on Interstate 40, which is why the Raleigh postmaster is asking customers to pack a little patience with their gifts.

To avoid a long wait at the post office, Felix DeSantis recommends buying stamps from vending machines, post office lobbies and grocery stores.

If you plan to ship packages from the post office, "What I recommend is they be ready to go when they get there. Have theirpackages ready, all wrapped and addressed and ready to ship," said DeSantis.

"I think there's some impression you have everything outside [the shipping boxes] and that's not the case,"he said.

Right now, volume is down compared to a year ago, but that is expected to change over the next week.

Monday was expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year.In fact, with more people expected to stay home over the holidays, the post office could be busier this year than ever.

On a typical day, the post office handles 680 million items, including 100 million cards and letters. By Wednesday, which is expected to be the busiest delivery day of the year, mail carriers could be carrying as many as 200 million extra cards and letters.

Postal workers have been under increased stress due to the anthrax scares, but some customers in Durham are not worried.

"I'm always thinking about that, but I'm fairly confident that we won't have a problem here," said one customer.

To make sure your packages arrive on time, follow these deadlines:

  • Priority mailshould be sent by the end of the day today.
  • Express mailshould be used starting December 18. The last day to shipusing Express mail is December 21 for a Christmas delivery, unless the destination is within 500 miles,in which case you can ship until December 22 and expect arrival by Christmas.

    United Parcel Service expects Tuesday to be its busiest day of the year. FedEx thinks its deliveries will peak for the year on Wednesday.


    Julie Moos, Web Editor

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