Companies tackle holiday rush

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2002

Time has almost run out for folks who like to wait until the last minute to send Christmas presents.

FedEx, United Parcel Service and the U.S. Postal Service all offer special express delivery services for procrastinators, and the deadlines vary from one enterprise to the next.

Customers may drop off packages at the Kenai FedEx station -- the second building north of the Kenai airport terminal -- by noon Monday to get their parcels anywhere in the United States overnight. The same deadline applies for many Canada addresses too, according to station manager Jay Pettey.

The FedEx facility, which is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, also will be open this Saturday only from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The express shipping company also operates an office at the Homer airport terminal.

The Kenai office, which serves the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and Valdez, is closed Christmas Day. However, Pettey said, "We will deliver as late as it takes on Christmas Eve."

Friday is the deadline for UPS, which operates a customer service counter at the south end of the Kenai airport from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

According to a customer service representative at the company's San Antonio service center, ground-shipping services and second-day air are not guaranteed between Dec. 12 and 25.

The only UPS service that does have a guaranteed delivery date this time of year is next-day air, which is not available from Kenai.

To assure packages reach destinations by Christmas, the UPS representative said shippers should have parcels at the Kenai service counter by Friday, or they can call for pick-up Saturday.

UPS will not deliver or pick up packages Christmas Day.

Friday also is the deadline for packages going to the Lower 48 by way of the U.S. Postal Service, according to Kenai Postmaster Vicki Shillam. Saturday is the cutoff for Alaska destinations.

Those dates, however, are not guaranteed. The one postal service that is guaranteed is Express Mail for packages going to communities with Sunday and holiday delivery.

"Not all the smaller communities have it," Shillam said.

Express Mail will be delivered in Kenai on Christmas Day, she said.

The Kenai Post Office normally is open from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The postmaster said the service window will close at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Commenting about the mood of customers during this busy holiday season, Shillam said people seem "extremely happy."

"Everybody seems to be in great spirits," she said.

In Homer, Postmaster Michael Moore said the deadline for Priority Mail was Wednesday.

"We lose a day here, because our mail doesn't get to Anchorage until midnight," Moore said.

To be sure Christmas greeting cards get to their destinations on time, Moore said people in Homer should have them in the mail by Saturday, which also is the deadline for Express Mail from that origination.

The Homer Post Office, which is not delivering on Christmas Day, normally is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Moore reported that Homer customers have remained calm and patient this year.

"They've been pretty impressed with how fast we're moving the lines," he said.

The Homer office hired one extra attendant for the month of December, he added.

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