Thursday, December 07, 2000

Mailers brace for back-breaker time




By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Postal clerks are busier than Santa this time of year.

        Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the main post office in Queensgate expects to cancel 32 million cards and letters, a 3 percent increase from last year.

        The peak day for the main post office, which handles almost all letters mailed in the Tristate, will be Monday. Nationally, the U.S. Postal Service estimates it will handle 280 million items that day.

[photo] Postal clerk Pam Ulrich (right) takes a package Wednesday from Susie Davis of Villa Hills at the Dixie branch post office in Villa Hills. Ms. Davis was sending a care package for final exams to her daughter at college.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We have not seen the volume of letters mailed pick up yet, with Christmas being more than two weeks away,” said Bob Myerhoff, customer service manager for the Dixie Branch in Lakeside Park. “The last two weeks are the worst.”

        Mr. Myerhoff, 51, of Florence said the two Mondays before Christmas are the busiest days of the year for him. The 30-year veteran of the postal service said the number of parcel post packages at the Dixie Branch could double next Monday. The branch averages 500 parcel packages on Mondays, but expects to handle 1,000 or more next Monday.

EXTENDED HOURS
   Cincinnati Postmaster John Mulkay will extend Saturday hours at many branches. Anderson, Sharonville, Symmes, Don Marrs and Sycamore, will be open 9-3 p.m. Groesbeck will be open 8-3 p.m. and Oakley will be open 8:30-3 p.m.
    The main post office, 1623 Dalton Ave., will be open regular Saturday hours, 7:30-7 p.m.
    All of the branches will be open 1-4 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. On Christmas Eve Sunday, the offices will be open 9 a.m.-noon, or as long as there are customers in the lobbies.
    The Florence branch, 7101 Turfway Road, will be open noon-3 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 17.

        Mr. Myerhoff said his post office, which serves 14,000 families on 30 routes, is the fastest-growing branch in Northern Kentucky. He thinks the only other Tristate branch growing as fast is in Mason, Ohio.

        The Postal Service will have additional collections from mailboxes through Christmas and has added 500 seasonal workers at its airmail facility in Hebron and processing centers in Queensgate and Sharonville.

        “Procrastinators pay more,” said Bonni Manies, a Postal Service spokeswoman based in Cincinnati. “If you are mailing gifts, and you mail them now, you can use parcel post and save quite a bit on shipping. The later you wait, the more you will pay to ensure that your packages get to their destinations on time.”

        A two-pound package mailed parcel post costs $2.67-$2.80. It would cost $15.75 to send the same package express mail.

        Ms. Manies recommends that people spend the extra few dollars to insure all mailed gifts.

        “I do plan on mailing some gifts, but I haven't got around to it yet,” said Greg Schulte, 48, of Covington, while waiting in line at the Dixie Branch to mail some business correspondence. “I'll probably get around to packing it this weekend.”
       



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