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Monday
December 09th, 2019

christmas shippingPackages are sorted at the Liberal post office from a past year’s Christmas shipping load. This year is expected to see a large uptick in the amount of packages ordered and sent throughout the world. L&T file photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The Christmas shopping season is upon the country and after all that shopping is done, there are some of those gifts that must be shipped to friends and family around the world. 

With that in mind, the Liberal Post Office is currently preparing for that influx of Christmas packages in the mail stream. 

“One of the big things — and this applies to all mail and not just the holiday mail — is make sure you have the correct address and zip code on your package because there are many different zip codes for many different places and we want to get your package to the right place,” Liberal Post Office employee Jim Potts said. “Also, get your package in the mail stream as quickly as you can because with the influx of everything we're getting in here, it will take some extra time to get everything where it needs to go, and we want to be sure to get every package to its destination in a timely manner.”

This time of the year is the busiest part of the year for the post office, Potts said, and employees at the post office are already seeing a large increase this year in the volume of packages being sent out. 

“This really is the biggest part of our year and around now is basically when we see our biggest influx of packages and everything to be sent out, and it's been that way the past several years. And with the advent of all the online shopping people do, we expect a lot more packages this year,” Potts said. “And if you are planning on ordering something, you need to get online and get that stuff ordered already so it can reach you or the person you're sending it to on time. I would say the absolute last date to get stuff in our mail stream and have it be at its destination by Christmas is next week, probably the middle of next week since we are expecting such a big influx. And if you're sending something back east, get it to us a couple days even earlier. Liberal's in a bit of a tricky spot as far as transportation — Wichita's more than 200 miles away and Amarillo's more than 100 miles away. We work to hit every address every day but Liberal is in a bit of a geographic odd spot, so please get us your packages as quickly as you can.”

Keeping that in mind, Potts said there are some things the post office is doing to accommodate that extra business. 

“What we're doing right now is we've added some hours on Sundays so if something happens during the rest of the week and you can't make it in here, there is that option. So instead of our normal six days a week, we're working a full seven days a week to accommodate that Christmas shipping and get those packages and cards and everything else where they need to be on time for Christmas morning,” Potts said. “With those extra days, we definitely think that will help spread some things out better and it's also all about the customers and helping them get their stuff into the mail stream. We're already seeing a steady uptick in packages and that will probably keep growing. Last year, they said online shopping and shipping was only about 15 percent of the post office business, but I foresee that number this year being closer to 20 or 25 percent. And we're the least expensive shipping option if you're sending an item weighing less than 15 pounds. And if you arrange it through usps.com, we can even pick up items from your house if need be. So there's a lot of things the post office is doing to help the overall process, but people have to get their stuff in to us in order for us to do anything.”

To ensure packages arrive at their destination by Christmas morning, Potts said they must be in the mail stream by next week at the latest. Potts also offered some advice on the actual packaging of the items being sent. 

“If you are shipping something that's more breakable and fragile, let our employees know when you get it here — we'll ask you if your item is breakable or hazardous or anything like that and if it happens to be, we'll mark the box and isolate it to make sure it's not at risk of being broken,” Potts said. “But if we don't know that, we can't make those notes about it and then the item gets totally trashed on the way, and that happens a lot of times because we aren't told that's what's going on. So just let us know. And there are some things people can do to help with that, there is bubble wrap and packing peanuts available at some stores in town, and those are so great and work really well to prevent anything from breaking. People can also use old newspaper and other similar materials to help insulate the box and cut down on that risk of your item getting broken before it gets where it needs to go.  If you really must have your item(s) where they need to go by Christmas  morning, you need to get it in here next week. Take that extra few minutes to make sure the address and zip code are correct and then come down here and get it weighed if it needs to be so we can get the proper postage on it, it doesn't take that much extra time at all. And like I said, we're open seven days a week, so there's not much excuse for people not being able to come in and get their stuff in our stream.”

Overall, Potts said, he and the rest of the staff at the Liberal Post Office are looking forward to a busy Christmas shipping season. 

“I think this year a lot of people decided to get an early start on that stuff, which is great because that means people aren't procrastinating,” Potts said. “People are realizing they need to have that stuff ready and they've had a while to think about it. So they're bringing everything in here and that's helping us get those packages into the mail stream earlier, which is great. I hope that's a trend that will continue because we do want people to have a happy holiday and have their presents and everything. So bring it down here and we'll take care of it for you. We at the post office would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a great new year coming up. We hope everyone stays happy and healthy and we appreciate all the business we get during this year, we'll do everything we can to get packages where they need to go in a timely manner.”

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