Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

The Busiest Day of the Year for the Postman, Who Won't Even Ring Twice.

The Post Office is inundated by packages, and doesn't even have time to deliver first class.

My people have a word for people who wait in line to mail packages just before Christmas: Goyim.

Monday was the busiest mailing day of the year for the United States Postal Service, reports the New York Times. Today, the USPO will handle 611 million cards, letters and packages.

Sue Brennan, a spokeswoman for the post office, told the Times that Christmas did not exactly catch the organization by surprise. "We plan all year for this," she said. "This is something that we've done for 240 years, so we're pretty good at doing it."

Monday's mailings means that Thursday is expected to be the busiest delivery day, with an estimated 30 million packages going door to door by thousands of postmen, all to the dismay of America's canines.

Monday was the busiest day of the year at our local post office on Nielsen Way in Santa Monica. So busy, in fact, that they did not even deliver the mail to the boxes. Which is kind of ironic, if you think about it.

From Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, the Postal Service estimates that it will process 16 billion items - 750 million of those will be packages. The Postman only rings twice, which has a ring to it, and that's why I don't use the generically neutral term, "Letter Carrier."

The internet has boosted post office sales. However, it has also created more work for carriers. And there is of course, the huge legacy burden of the Post Office, which must pay pensions, disability and other benefits to people who haven't delivered a letter in years.

Ms. Brennan said that while they used to spend about half of their days in the office, many are now out making deliveries seven hours a day. In Los Angeles, it is common for Postmen to have 2 or 3 routes.

Electronic substitutes to hard mail have forced the post office into a period of long-term decline. Ian Lee, a historian of the United States and Canadian postal services, said that physical units of first-class mail, the core business of both organizations, had been trailing off for years. The Post office today carries half as much mail as it did 20 years ago, and will carry half as many pieces 20 years from now.

Dr. Lee, a professor of strategic management at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa, acknowledged that e-commerce had created opportunity as well, saying that "the parcel business of the U.S.P.S. and Canada Post are growing in double digits."

A majority of the United States Postal Services 350,000 to 400,000 postmen (and women) use vehicles, but about 7,000 of them deliver entirely by foot, Ms. Brennan said.

If the prospect of all that work for postal employees stirs a desire to leave them a Christmas present, keep in mind that the law limits what they can accept. Under federal regulations, carriers and other postal employees may take gifts worth only $20 or less. They cannot accept cash or equivalents such as gift cards or checks.

Ms. Brennan said that despite all that work, there was plenty of cheer at the office.

"A lot of our carriers dress up like Santa, wear Santa hats," she said. "There is holiday spirit from coast to coast. This is our favorite time of year." (this article includes quotes and other materials from the New York Times:


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