TAMPA (FOX 13) - The holiday package push is in full swing at post offices around the country. Everyone is trying to get those gifts and letters delivered on time and this year is expected to be one of the busier shipping seasons.
Officials say this time of year is the busiest shipping season for the United States Postal Service. That means the main distribution center for the Bay Area is handling more than double the number of packages compared to other parts of the year.
“It will increase as the month goes on but right about now we're running approximately 250 to 300,000 pieces per day,” said operations support specialist Tom Parrish.
With a staff of close to 600 people monitoring conveyor belts and sorting mail by hand, the responsibility of getting packages delivered on time is something USPS says they take seriously.
“We've got three weekends left before Christmas so I always tell people, shop early, mail early,” said community relations representative Tracie Finley.
But not all of the responsibility for an on-time delivery falls on the postal service. Officials say customers can't procrastinate.
“The suggested mail dates are December 14 if you want to mail retail ground,” said Finley. “If you want to mail your first-class letters and your Christmas cards the suggested mail date for first-class mail is December 19.”
The later you wait the more you'll have to pay for things like express shipping, and to avoid other issues officials urge people to double check the quality of the box they're using and of course the make sure the address is correct.
Also when your package does arrive, officials say, to avoid it being stolen you should have a plan to protect it.
“For myself, I have my packages sent to my work address,” said Finley.