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Still time to get gifts signed, sealed, delivered

Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004


  Gene Darby packs Christmas presents into a box in the parking lot of the Kenai post office before mailing them Outside last weekend. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Gene Darby packs Christmas presents into a box in the parking lot of the Kenai post office before mailing them Outside last weekend.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Sure, it's nice to see a box of presents arrive on your front doorstep on Christmas Eve, or even Christmas Day. But does it occur to anybody what had to be done to get it there?

The shipping and packaging industry knows just what it takes, as employees work long hours and overtime to make lives a little easier during the holiday rush.

Kenai Postmaster Laurel Pickering said Tuesday that business has been following a feast or famine trend and that Postal Service carriers are working extra hours and days off to make it all happen.

"We were extremely busy Monday and not so much on Tuesday," she said.

"But the ultimate busy part has been the incoming packages, which is a whole new plan of attack. I see a tremendous amount of Internet shopping and lots of TV shopping coming in. Those parcels are everywhere. If people have P.O. boxes, they should come and check them because we need room to walk around."

If you happen to be a last-minute present shipper, it's not too late to get things to some destinations by Christmas.

"The priority deadline out of Alaska has passed, but people can still use express mail, which is guaranteed second day, or by Christmas Eve if they come in Wednesday," she said.

The Postal Service delivers 365 days per year and delivers express mail on Christmas Day. The only difference this year is that the Kenai Postal Service has some people out due to sickness.

"Even shorthanded, we're making the effective figures. But I've got some really tired people. Through all of that, there are some people in darned good humor and who have kept on smiling," she said.

Connie Gatling, The UPS Store owner, said she is busy and well-prepared for the rush.

"My crew has been working 50 to 60 hours, which is normal for Christmas. We're here to help people take one more thing off their 'to-do' list. We can still do two-day shipping if it goes out Thursday. If people want things to get there by Christmas, then the very latest would by 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday," she said.

Gatling said UPS is shipping a lot of the normal holiday items like books, toys and games. But she also said they've been sending out specialty items from the area.

"We're shipping a fair amount of fish, which is stored in the freezers 'til it goes out. There are also things like antlers, dried flower arrangements, paintings and framed artwork. People in the Lower 48 like to get things from this region," she said.

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