Move fast to ship around holiday presents around the country

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pike County residents looking to ship presents to friends and family across the country need to move quickly to make sure their gifts arrive by Christmas.

Customers at both Troy’s Post Office and UPS Store can expect long lines during the holiday season. “Our traffic triples during the holiday season,” UPS Store manager Nicki Barber said. “People send more packages during the Christmas season than any other time of the year.”

Barber said there a few things people can do to make their trip to the store a little quicker, however. “When you come in, if you already have the address filled out on the package, that will help you get out faster,” Barber said. “We are slowest in the morning between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. If you come around lunch or in the afternoon, you might have to wait.”

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Chris Turk, who works at the post office, agreed with Barber. “If you come in to the post office, have as much of the address as you can filled out,” Turk said. “We provide free boxes and postage labels. It’s best if all that needs to be done when you come in is the transaction at the window.”

Both companies have a few services that can save customers time during the holidays. “The UPS Store has a pack-and-ship guarantee,” Barber said. “All you have to do is bring the present in. We will pack and ship the present for you. We guarantee the present will arrive in the same condition, and you can get insurance up to $50,000 on the package. You don’t have to bring anything to the store but the present.”

The US Postal Service also has timesaving services. “We have a lot of online services,” Turk said. “You can print postage online, and you can request that we pick up your package from your home or business online. You don’t even have to come in to the store.”

But, Pike County residents who want to ship gifts and have them arrive by Christmas need to hurry. “Our basic ground delivery is no longer guaranteed,” Barber said. “The last day to send second-day air packages is Dec. 19. The last day for same-day air is Dec. 23.”

The post office has similar deadlines. “Letters and packages have to be mailed by Dec. 20 to ensure that they arrive by Christmas,” Turk said. “Our priority mail takes two to three days to deliver. We also offer priority mail express. We’ll be delivering that mail on Christmas day.”

Both stores also shared some advice for packing gifts. “”If you’re packing your own gifts, don’t use paper,” Barber said. “Use peanut or bubble wrap instead. If you use paper, that is not considered a covered packing material and would not be covered under insurance. Paper does not hold up under the stress of shipping. Whatever is in the package should be cushioned on each side of the box by two inches.”

“Be sure that the box you’re shipping in fits the item,” Turk said. “Make sure that it is an approved box. Just because it is a box does not mean it has been approved to send through the mail.”

Both the UPS Store and the post office will be open on Christmas Eve. The UPS Store closes at noon, and the post office will close at 5 p.m.