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Residents urged to get on top of holiday shipping

Postmaster offers tips for getting gifts out on time, unharmed

Samantha Johnston

Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to mail a Christmas gift that doesn’t reach the recipient in time for the big day. But following a few simple guidelines established by the United States Postal Service should ensure that your packages arrive on time.

“Make sure that you have a good label, correct address, apartment number, zip code and return address,” said William Barclay, Craig Postmaster. “You wouldn’t believe how many times we see ‘me’ in the return address. There’s a lot of ‘me’s in Craig,” he said.

Avoiding peak times is another way to alleviate stress and hassle when mailing packages.

“Mail early and don’t wait until just before our office closes or during the lunch hour to mail your packages, because those are our crunch times,” he said.

Labeling is the biggest key to ensuring the timely and accurate delivery of a package. Because Craig mail is combined with thousands of other packages by the time it reaches Denver, the proper label can make all the difference.

“One digit in a zip code makes a big difference. We’re 81625 and 81623 is Carbondale even if it looks like a three instead of a five, the letter can be delayed by a minimum of a couple of days,” he said.

Thousands of packages in one area can lead to damaged or broken boxes, too, he said. Packaging items in sturdy boxes without loose strings or hanging items will prevent boxes or packages from being torn in postal machinery.

“Attach labels to packages inside of your box. If a box is broken open, we’ll still know where the contents belong,” he said. “And take advantage of insurance if the contents of your packages are of value.”

New online tracking systems and hotlines make tracking packages and obtaining correct information easier, Barclay said. People interested in mailing service information such as zip codes, rates and ordering stamps can log on to http://www.usps. com or call 1-800-ASK-UPS.

Remembering details can also help avoid last-minute hassles.

“Don’t bring items to ship in Clorox boxes, chemical boxes or alcohol containers. Since Sept. 11, airlines have changed their regulations and will no longer accept these things, so we can’t accept them,” Barclay said. “And, all firearms must be mailed through licensed dealers and cannot be sent through the post office.”

The Craig post office plans to have maximum coverage at the front counters during the busy season and expects smooth operations throughout the holiday season, Barclay said.


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