Postal workers across the Inland Northwest emerged from white minivans filled with brightly wrapped packages Monday, rushing from house to house on what carriers called their busiest day of the year.
While carriers made their deliveries on snowy streets, postal workers across the city collected and processed hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail, ranging from Christmas cards to bills to packages.
Across the country, the U.S. Postal Service handled 280 million pieces of mail Monday, said spokeswoman Lisa Nystuen.
Other shipping companies also were hit by the pre-Christmas rush.
UPS said its busiest shipping day is today, and a spokeswoman for FedEx said the entire month of December is frenzied.
But the company is always prepared, said FedEx spokeswoman Traci Barnett.
“It’s very busy,” she said. “We plan months in advance – we know Christmas is coming.”
Though most carriers will accept packages up to Saturday, people who procrastinate will pay dearly, Nystuen said.
She recommends that customers mail their packages as soon as possible.
For people who can’t ship until the very last minute, many companies will provide same-day shipping across the country. But it’s not cheap.
To send a 10-pound package from Spokane to central Virginia on Christmas Eve, for example, expect to shell out at least $700.
Same-day service usually is reserved for companies that can justify the price because they have crucial parts that need to be shipped, said UPS spokeswoman Peggy Gardner.
“But for the typical consumer who is waiting until the very last moment, it’s going to cost them probably more than they want to pay,” she said.