Holidays always busy at local post offices

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

But for employees of the Ironton Post Office, the signs of the season are people with stacks of festively wrapped packages and long lines.

Although U.S. Postal Service employee Cindy Hughes said this is “most definitely” her busiest time of year, the load is lightened somewhat by a slew of cheerful — and well prepared — customers.

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“People are most always in a good mood when they bring their packages in,” Hughes said.

“They seem to be more secured this year then they have been in the past as far as not too many rattles in packages and so forth. People are being a little smarter with their packaging.”

Customers may be getting more adept at wrapping to post office specifications, but there’s one rule that hasn’t quite caught on at the Ironton station, Hughes said.

“We don’t take string on packages, and we still have some elderly people who insist on wrapping their packages with string,” Hughes said. “Of course we discourage that, but at this particular office, we don’t give them a hard time about it, we just accept it and help them as best we can.”

Aside from avoiding string, Hughes said that the best way people can help speed up long lines is to be prepared.

“If they’re in a long line, and they know they’re needing stamps, they can have it figured up ahead of time and have their money ready,” Hughes said. “Men digging in their billfolds, and women digging in their purses takes quite a bit of time, sometimes longer than the actual transaction itself.”

Some don’t figure out their own totals, in fact they trust the post office to do it for them. Just that morning, Hughes had been given a stack of packages and a blank check by a customer in a hurry.

“People are very trusting, but that’s OK, because this will be written out for the exact amount, and she’ll receive a receipt,” Hughes said. “The post office is a service, and I stand by that whole-heartedly.”

Despite the holiday rush, Hughes said that the Ironton post office doesn’t hire any additional employees to deal with the traffic.

“No, we just work harder,” Hughes said with a smile, before turning to help her next customer.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.