Carol McLaughlin braved the holiday crowds at the Burbank Main Post
Office on Monday but came away pleasantly surprised.
“I came [here] thinking I would have a long wait, but it wasn’t
bad,” said McLaughlin, who was mailing a Christmas gift to Georgia.
An estimated 61 million pieces of mail were sent out in Southern
California on Monday, according to David Mazer, the U.S. Postal
Service manager of public affairs in California.
But lines at the post office on Hollywood Way moved quickly. A
staff of five manned the walk-up windows Monday to keep things moving
at a brisk pace, said Carla Wolff, Burbank’s postmaster.
“We’re trying to get [customers] out of here in five minutes,”
Wolff said. “We don’t want anyone to wait too long.”
Though postal officials said Monday was the busiest day of the
year for walk-in traffic, Wolff said mail carriers would experience
their busiest delivery days today and Thursday, when cards and
packages arrive from other parts of the country.
The reason Dec. 15 was so busy this year is because people shopped
and addressed their cards over the weekend, Mazer said. The Monday of
the last full week before Christmas is also because people are trying
to ensure gifts and cards arrive by Christmas.
“We have some extra help and some overtime is involved,” he said,
adding that millions of pieces of mail are sorted quickly by
“It’s no longer an employee sorting [mail] into a little pigeon
hole,” Mazer said. “Even though we encourage people to print
addresses, these machines can read 80% of handwriting compared to the
2% of handwriting the [older] machines could read in 1997.”
Packages sent this week by regular mail should reach their
destination by Christmas Day, Mazer said, adding that Priority Mail
should reach its destination in two to three days if mailed by
Saturday. Packages mailed next week by Express Mail are guaranteed
next day delivery in time for Christmas, he said.