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Shipping deadline closes in
As Christmas nears, expect to pay more
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Lynne Fetner, left, and Lynne Dotillo prepare Christmas gifts that Dotillo brought to the UPS store to have packed and shipped. - photo by Jim Dean

 

There’s still time to send those Christmas cards and packages, but you probably don’t want to wait much longer.

Officials with the U.S. Postal Service and UPS said this week has been a busy one, and next week likely will be even more so.

“Things kicked into high gear Monday,” said Gene Allen, who owns two UPS Store locations in Forsyth County.

“It will slack off a little [today], but then we’ll have probably the two heaviest days of the year on Monday and Tuesday.”

Anne Burger, postmaster at the Cumming Post Office, agreed.

“This week has been really busy,” she said.

But she also noted the holiday mailing season seemed to begin a little earlier than normal this year.

“I think that’s because a lot of people did online shopping,” she said. “It did seem like it was a heavier volume earlier this year.”

Burger expects a big rush this coming Monday and Tuesday.

“I people like to come see us on Mondays,” she said. “They do shopping on Saturdays and write cards on Sundays, and then come in on Monday.”

Burger said the deadline to send a package for Christmas by first class domestic mail is Tuesday.

For priority mail, it’s Wednesday. It’s Thursday for Express Mail.

Allen said UPS can get packages to any location before Christmas Eve, but the longer customers wait, the more they’ll pay.

“Already, UPS Ground Track has lifted the money-back guarantees,” Allen said. “We can still get it there by next Friday, but there’s not a money-back guarantee.

“We can always get packages anywhere so long as they’re brought in up until the day before Christmas Eve. But the closer it gets, the more it’s going to cost.”

For example, Allen said, customers waiting until Tuesday will have to use three-day mailing services, while those who don’t ship until Thursday will have to use next-day air.

When doing their holiday shipping, customers may also want to look at the clock.

Allen said the stores’ busiest times are typically mid-morning, lunchtime and between 3 and 5 p.m.

Burger said the post office seems similar patterns, but added that at “this time of year, it’s always busy.”