The great holiday mail test

Ship your gifts and cards early this season
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 9:45 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - With so many people buying online, mail carriers are busier than ever.

2021 is not the year to procrastinate.

“You better think ahead, I try to do that,” said Maxine Simmons of Cape Girardeau.

Maxine Simmons already has Christmas packages ready to mail to family.

“Get busy and get it out because the post office is going to be overwhelmed,” said Simmons.

Many of you have noticed delays, and anticipate that even more in the coming weeks.

“It’s slow...used to take a week to get something somewhere,” said Debbie Gross of Cape Girardeau. “Now you need two weeks.”

Because of that, we want to know what exactly to expect as the time nears to ship those holiday gifts.

Heartland News did a little experiment.

We boxed up some mugs and sent five of them via UPS, and five to the same people via USPS.

We sent them to addresses in Cape Girardeau, Gordonville and also people we know in Ohio, Illinois and Arkansas.

We also sent cards to all five of those addresses, plus randomly sent one to Jackson, Mo. and also to Alaska.

We took five packages and seven cards to the post office.

Using priority mail, that cost us $49.91.

Then, we took the other five packages to UPS.

Ground residential ran us $59.71.

We all know due to shortages and staffing issues, waiting is the name of the game these days with a lot of things.

“So what we’ve done, we’ve added 112 new processing machines across the country,” said Mark Inglett, strategic communications specialist for USPS. “These machines can process up to 3,200 packages per hour. We’ve also been hiring since very early in the year. So, the postal service we’re prepared. Once you get it in our network, we’re excited and confident we’ll get it to you on time.”

As for the results, we were pleasantly surprised when we started getting pictures from the recipients the next day.

We shipped from USPS and UPS on Wednesday, November 10.

The next day, our friends in Gordonville and Cape Girardeau got their UPS packages.

Their USPS packages and cards arrived by the end of the work week.

As for the ones to Ohio, central Illinois and Arkansas?

Those packages all arrived by the end of that same week.

In some cases UPS before USPS.

Speed didn’t seem to be a problem, but there were a couple of issues.

The package to Bentonville, Arkansas was pretty banged up, although the contents inside were fine.

The package to Riverton, Illinois didn’t fare well.

The mug was broken.

So, make sure you pack things super well if the items are fragile.

We could have definitely used some extra bubble wrap.

UPS did tell us that if that happens, you can file a claim with the company, but that could take a couple of weeks to process.

As of this moment, we are still waiting for the card to get to Alaska, but we anticipated that taking a bit longer.

While this went pretty well, it’s still early and the rush hasn’t started yet.

“So obviously we are asking folks to mail early,” said Mark Inglett.

As it gets closer to Christmas, consider packing some extra patience along with those holiday gifts.

“Well, it’s just getting into a new routine,” said Debbie Gross. “You have to send them out earlier if you want them to get there close to on time.”

As for deadlines, according to Mark Inglett with the United States Postal Service, the last day to mail letters and cards if you want them to arrive by Christmas is December 17.

For priority mail packages, Inglett said you’ll want to mail those by December 18.

For Priority Express, you will want to get those packages in the mail by December 23.

Inglett also suggested the USPS Click-N-Ship option.

He said you can order packaging sent to your house, then schedule a time for a mail carrier to come to your home and pick up the packages for you.

“You can relax at home and have a worry-free holiday,” said Inglett.

Find out more on that by clicking here.

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