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Post office deals with busiest day of the year

POSTED: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Tamra Schardl, right, takes care of her shipping Monday afternoon at the U.S. post office on Green Street while a steady stream of customers waits in line on the busiest day of the holiday shipping season.

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If you went to the post office on Monday, you were not alone.

Monday was the busiest mailing day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, and a steady stream of customers were waiting for counter service at the post office on Green Street in Gainesville.

Some customers carried armloads of boxes for shipping, while others had bundles of Christmas cards ready to mail.

"I’m sending about the same number of cards as last year," said Tamra Schardl of Gainesville. "I’ve got family all over the country and a few even out of the country."

She was surprised to learn it was the post office’s busiest day.

"I thought if I came at this time of day there would be nobody here," she said.

Linda Pryor visited the post office to mail both Christmas cards and packages. She said the wait in line went smoothly.

"It was not bad at all, considering it is Christmas," Pryor said.

The Postal Service expected to mail more than 280 million cards and letters Monday. Americans will mail 19 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Our postal family is committed to doing whatever it takes to get the mail delivered in time for the holidays," said David Dillman, Atlanta postmaster.

Dillman suggested customers save time by using automated services. But the Gainesville post offices on Green Street and Dawsonville Highway don’t have machines in service, leaving the counter as the only alternative.

The post office advises that first class mail to be delivered by Christmas must be postmarked by Saturday. Packages for overnight delivery through Express Mail must be received by Dec. 23.

Monday also was the busiest shipping day for worldwide shipper FedEx.

While the company did not release exact numbers, it said a FedEx Express plane would touch down every 48 seconds on Monday, making 1,822 stops as seasonal packages are delivered.

UPS expects its busiest day this year will be Thursday, while its busiest day for handling air packages likely will be Dec. 22.


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