Allow extra time for mail deliveries this holiday season

Dec 14, 2022, 3:44 PM
U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Valerie Jarvis walks her route in the Ballard neighborhood after a large storm blanketed the city with snow on February 9, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

At a time of year when people await packages and greeting cards, residents around the Puget Sound region are contacting KIRO Newsradio telling of mail delays.

From Maple Valley to Mount Vernon, people report going several days without getting mail or having packages sit in their local post office for nearly a week.

Residents of Redmond and Everett wrote that they had gone up to five days without getting mail recently, with some people awaiting valuable items such as a prepaid parking permit and a paycheck.

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David Rupert, manager of U.S. Postal Service communications for the USPS’ western region, admitted some neighborhoods may go a day without delivery because of the large loads mail carriers are dealing with right now, but he said the gap in service should not last any longer than that.

“In some pockets, if you don’t see mail that day, it may be delivered later in the night or early the next morning,” he said, adding, “If your mail is skipped for one day, it’s simply because we didn’t have the capacity and we couldn’t get to it, but it will be made a priority the next day. No address will go more than two days without delivery.”

Rupert said this week is “the busiest week of the busiest month of the year” for postal carriers.

“We have huge volumes of mail right now, and so we have capacity issues in our vehicles — sometimes that means you’ve got to return to the office to fill your vehicle up again,” he explained.

The USPS is looking for more workers right now. In the meantime, many postal workers are going into overtime, delivering mail early in the morning, late into the night, and on Sundays.

“You’re going to see a lot of deliveries at odd hours, and that’s what it’s taking because of our volume,” Rupert said.

If you get a notification that a package you ordered has arrived at your local post office, Rupert asks you to just sit tight because it may take a couple of days to get it to you. He asks people not to go to their local post office if their mail has not arrived.

It is possible that Western Washington could see some snow in the near future, but Rupert says this should not stop postal workers from getting the mail to you.

“Christmas isn’t new to us and neither is bad weather, so we do continue to deliver no matter what the weather is, as long as the roads are passable,” Rupert said.

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Still, in a year when many areas are seeing record mail volumes, Rupert advises you to get your gifts and cards mailed sooner rather than later.

“Your cards and letters should be in the mail no later than the 17th, which is this Saturday,” he said. “If you’re sending priority packages, that’s next Monday [the 19th] in order to get there by Christmas.”

If all else fails, the USPS does have a ‘procrastinators’ rate‘ that allows you to mail your gifts on Dec. 23.

Follow Nicole Jennings on Twitter or email her here

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Allow extra time for mail deliveries this holiday season