U.S. Postal Service Prepares for Busy Season

Retail stores aren't the only ones dealing with the hectic holiday season. Monday is expected to be the busiest shipping day of the year. The United States Postal Service expects to handle more than 850 million pieces of mail. Much of it will come from the many people who wait until the last minute to mail gifts to their loved ones.

Even if you're among them, the U.S. Postal Service says you can shorten your time in the post office by making sure your packages are ready to mail. Poorly packaged parcels are not accepted. You also don't want to tie them up with string. "We cannot have string," explained Sandy Moore of the U.S. Postal Service. "The paper is going to get ripped."

When you're looking for a shipping box, find something sturdy. Shirt boxes are not strong enough. Boxes from supermarkets and liquor stores may be tough; however, you'll need to cross out the labels, especially on liquor boxes since the post office will not ship alcohol.

Postal workers say another problem is the address label. "If you don't know the zip code," said Moore, "don't put one. Don't guess at it." One way you can find the zip code is through the U.S. Postal Service's website at www.usps.com. The website will even help you calculate postage.

Reported by David Rousseau, drousseau@wtoc.com