Post office deals with holiday rush

Jackie Valley

“Do you want a Superman or a Wonder Woman stamp?” Courtney Busdeker, a student employee at the Kent Contract Postal Unit, asked a recent customer.

“No chick superheroes,” he replied.

This is a typical day at the Kent CPU for employees — just with a notable increase in business during the holiday mailing frenzy.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, the U.S. Postal service expects to deliver 20 billion letters, packages and cards. About 12 million packages will be delivered every day through Christmas Eve.

“Since this a little more laid-back job, it (the holiday season) is just a little more hectic,” Busdeker said. “It makes the time go by faster.”

Behind the counter sits an orange mail cart and stacks of packages waiting to be shipped to their final destinations. The cart is typically filled to the brim during the holiday season, said Jennifer Fitzwater, student manager of the Kent CPU.

“Packages we send out are much bigger during November and December, especially ones going to the military bases,” Fitzwater said.

In 2005, the Kent CPU sold $4,455.72 worth of postage in December, compared to $3,384.01 worth of postage sold in October 2006.

Fitzwater said she expects today to be the busiest mailing day of the year because it is the last day of regular classes during the semester, but she said sometimes finals week is just as busy.

“Some years it’s very busy, but other years it’s dead,” she said. “It just depends on the students.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dec. 18 is expected to be the busiest mailing day nationwide this year. On that day, twice the amount of cards and letters will be processed than on any other given day.

The bulk of what is being sent out by students right now is packages to other college campuses for friends, Fitzwater said.

“There’s a lot of Christmas cards being sent out right now too,” she said.

The items most likely hiding within boxes tend to be food and clothing, especially Kent State apparel, Fitzwater said, but, surprisingly, four pairs of boots were shipped separately one day this week.

Other shipments are more interesting.

“Some girl shipped mace today,” Busdeker said.

Fitzwater suggests allowing a week for first class mail to reach its destination and two or three days for priority mail.

The Kent CPU closes every weekday at 4 p.m.

Contact news correspondent Jackie Valley at [email protected].