By Sydnee Cicoria
With the holiday rush quickly approaching, the local post office becomes frantic with the people of Santa Clarita hurrying to send out packages and letters to their loved ones.
“Customer visits in the first two weeks of December 2012 rose 40 percent from the first two weeks of September 2012,” said Clarissa Bognot, Newhall station manager.
While business increases, the post-office hours do not, resulting in long lines.
“Our goal is to serve our customers within the shortest time possible,” said Bognot. “Early mornings, lunch time and the last hour of business are relatively the slowest, less crowded times of day.”
Several post offices, such as the one on Lyons, offers an Automated Postal Center that allows customers to weigh their packages, purchase and print postage and drop them off in the drop box. Workers encourage the use of the APS as well as Clip N Ship, shipping from home or business via USPS.com.
With the larger crowds comes more work for the postal workers who often take on more than their regular 8-hour shifts, resulting in overtime pay. Post-office employees work at an hourly wage, starting at $12 an hour.
The qualifications needed to be employed by the post office vary depending on the position held. Starting qualifications begin with a high-school diploma and increase with higher-level education.
With all the gifts being sent out during the holidays, some asusme that packages become the most popular form of mail, but letters are the most popular, even during the holiday season.
But that doesn’t mean that packages don’t increase around this time. The parcel volume nearly doubles this time of year compared to a normal season.
“Cyber Monday brings in about 30 to 40 percent increase in parcel volume,” said Bognot. “Retailers offering free shipping also boost our parcel volumes.”
Even with the higher shipping demands, there is no increase in shipping services or postage costs throughout the year. The Unites States Postal Service has numerous ways for customers to use their services without all the hassle.
“We recommend Priority Mail. Flat Rate boxes are the best deal. A customer can put as much as 70 pounds and pay a flat rate,” said Bognot.