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'Tis mailing season

December 09, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Get your holiday packages and mail to the post office as soon as possible if you want to avoid getting stuck in lines, Bruce Rice, the supervisor of customer relations for the U.S. Postal Service in Hagerstown, said Wednesday.

The Postal Service has more employees than usual working during the holidays to help speed customer service, but fewer people than expected have come this week, Rice said.

"The rush is not as bad right now as it was anticipated to be," Rice said.

While that is good news for those sending mail this week, it might be bad news for those who wait until next week or, worse yet, the following week, Rice said.

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He thinks many people this year are waiting until the last minute to send their cards, letters and packages, he said.

The post office has expanded its hours, staying open an extra hour until 6 p.m. on weekdays, Rice said. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and on Sunday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two people dropping off mail at the Hagerstown post office Wednesday night said they thought the expanded hours were a good idea.

Patrick Nooney of Hagerstown said he sends his holiday packages about two weeks before Christmas. While this means he bypasses some of the lines at the post office, it means the mail will arrive in time, Nooney said.

Christine Cosens of Waynesboro, Pa., said she sends her gifts one or two weeks before Christmas.

Asked if she ever had to stand in line to mail Christmas presents just a day or two before the deadline, she said, "No, and I don't want to."

While the Christmas holidays means more work for them, postal workers look forward to the work and most of the customers are patient and understanding when they have to wait, Rice said.

If people prepare their packages before they arrive at the post office, that makes the process more efficient, he said. There are some people who will go directly from buying something when shopping to the post office to mail it without stopping to prepare the package, he said.

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