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Tis the week to be shipping
Post office prepared for rush of packages
Ronnie Sheffield labels a package at the Cumming Post Office. - photo by Jennifer Sami

There’s still time to ship gifts to friends and family members.

But the closer Christmas draws, the more costly the charges, warns Cumming Post Office Postmaster Anne Berger.

Priority mail is by far the most popular way to ship a present, according to Berger. Packages typically arrive at their destination within two to three days, thought there is no guarantee.

That’s why she said today is the last day to ship priority for those who want to ensure their packages arrive by Christmas. After that, they will probably have to go priority mail express.

“It’s guaranteed that it gets delivered,” she said. “Anything they absolutely want to be there by Christmas, I highly recommend doing priority mail express.”

This week is easily the busiest for the Cumming Post Office, which Berger said is getting as many as 7,000 packages a day to deliver. 

“By the line in our lobby, it appears today could be the busiest,” she said Monday. “[Today] is going to be hard to beat.”

Many of the packages this week are individuals dropping off gifts they’ve bought for family members.

Last week, however, it was a different story. Big box retailers may have been hurting from online sales, but the post office has been thriving.

“We’re delivering that online business,” Berger said. “Last week, we were delivering what people ordered online. This week, we’re starting to see what people are shipping out.”

In addition to shipping thousands of packages, the post office has received between 12,000 and 15,000 shipments per day.

Whether picking up or dropping off, Berger said she’s fully staffed her windows with seven clerks at all times, so “nobody waits more than five minutes here.”

“We are moving a lot. I have the most awesome staff,” she said. “We’re an office that cares.”

At the UPS Store on Keith Bridge Road, manager Narendra Patel said Monday was also the business’ “peak day.”

“It was a really good day for us,” he said. “We had more than 200 packages.”

Patel said customers who ship by Friday should get their packages to the destination by Christmas.

“They don’t give a guarantee,” he said. “But I’ve been in the business 10 years and UPS never delivers late. Even though there’s no guarantee, they will deliver it before the due date.”

For fragile items, the store will handle the packaging to ensure nothing breaks.

“If we pack it, it’s guaranteed,” Patel said.

For letters, the post office is checking bins four times a day, instead of once or twice,

That’s because the bins are filling up, and also so staff can get a head start on getting the letters out.

The parking lot can be crowded, so Berger recommends patience.

The post office will be open until noon on Christmas Eve before closing for Christmas Day.