As Christmas approaches, shipping and postal agencies are preparing for the holiday package onslaught.
The U.S. Postal Service office in Sanford is extending its Saturday retail hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the last two weekends before Christmas. The hours for the post office in Broadway will remain the same.
“We are looking at roughly 3,000 to 5,000 packages [shipped] a day,” said local Postal Office Delivery Supervisor Robert McGehee. “In the middle of summer, we have 2,000 to 2,500 per day. So, yes, it nearly doubles, and we still haven’t hit the busy time. Next week to week and a half, will really be the peak.”
Throughout the holiday, the local post office brings employees in on their days off and issues overtime to ensure the mail is processed and delivered in at timely manner, he said.
“If we didn’t have and use the manpower to the maximum, we wouldn’t get it all delivered,” McGehee said.
At the UPS store on Bragg Street, manager Sonia Castaneda said she expects the packages to continue pouring in for the next few weeks.
“It is not as relaxing as the rest of the year,” Castaneda said. “It can get kinda crazy, and it can get very hectic.”
There are some years when the store can get shorthanded, but this year has not been as bad in comparison, she added.
“There is actually an up and down [to shipping frequency],” Castaneda said. “It is really low right before Thanksgiving, and up a couple of days after for the Black [Friday]` holiday sales. Then it goes back down for a week and half, and a week and half before Christmas is our busiest time.”
Outside of the traditional holidays, the busiest times are right before and at the end of the school year, Castaneda said.
The OfficeMax store on Spring Lane serves as a FedEx shipping store, and manager Rosanna Williams wouldn’t call the holiday season overwhelming, but said that it comes close.
“The shipping does increase drastically,” Williams said. “We get enough packages that it sometimes swamps the department.”
The FedEx department has the same hours as the store, which are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.