One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"
Pearce-Sunsites Post Office
Bill Bothman has been the Pearce-Sunsites postmaster for 4-1/2 years. He has been the postmaster of various offices since 1993. He gave me a tour of the Sunsites-Pearce Post Office recently and I met Doug, one of the carriers and had the chance to watch him and Suzette, the carrier who delivers our mail here in Sunsites, "casing" the mail to sort it for delivery.
The rest of the staff includes: Rhonda and Martha, who man the counter; and John, the substitute carrier.
I asked Bill how busy they get during the holiday season and whether they need to hire extra staff to handle it. To answer my question he pointed to the areas that fill up with towers of boxes to be delivered or shipped out. He hires one extra part-time employee for a few weeks during that time but don't go rushing down to apply; John goes from part-time to full-time during the holiday season.
Here are some tips I got from Bill for mailing during the holiday season and the rest of the year as well.
NOTE: The Pearce-Sunsites post office will be open on the following Saturdays in December:
December 3, December 10, December 17. All three Saturdays they will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.
1. Mail early, the earlier the better.
2. Remember that all mail goes to Tucson before it gets routed to its final destination. Being in a rural area it takes all mail one or two days longer to get to where it's going. So, factor that extra day or two in when deciding when to get those packages to the post office. By the way, this includes Express ("overnight") and Priority ("2-3 day") mail.
1. Use a box that is big enough to allow you to add cushioning material all around the contents.
2. Put the cushioning material ("peanuts", bubble wrap, styrofoam, newspaper, shredded paper) all around the contents. That's the bottom too. Then close the box (without taping it) and shake it to see if the contents rattle or shift. If they do, or if the closing flaps can be pushed down into the box, reopen the box and add more cushioning. Repeat the test and add more if necessary until the box bulges slightly and nothing moves inside.
3. When you put more than one item into a box make sure you wrap each item individually and then make sure cushioning material separates all the items from one another and from the sides of the box.
4. Remove batteries from toys and electronic devices. Wrap them separately and place them next to the item in the mailing container.
5. If the box you use has any words referring to liquor, motor oil, corrosives, acids or chemicals use a black marker or labels to completely conceal the words. Boxes with these words on them cannot be accepted for shipment by the Post Office.
6. Place a piece of paper, address label or card inside the box with the return and delivery addresses. This way the box can be delivered even if the address label(s) on the outside of the box are damanged or fall off.
1. You can use filament type, clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape. DO NOT use masking tape, duct tape, cord, string, or twine.
2. DO NOT cover the box with brown (or any other color) paper. Similarly, DO NOT use string. These two packaging methods used to be required by the Post Office but are now not allowed.
3. Put clear packaging tape over your address label(s) to protect them from smearing or falling off.
1. Print with a pen or permanent marker, or type, the delivery address parallel to the longest side of the package. Write it big enough so that it's readable at arm's length.
2. Put the return address in the upper left hand corner of the same side of the package.
3. You can go to usps.com and click on "Find a ZIP" to find the correct spelling of a city and the correct state abbreviation.
1. Put money in an envelope in your mailbox and raise the flag on your mailbox. Your carrier can leave small quantities the same day or deliver larger quanitities of stamps the next delivery day.
2. Go to usps.com and under Shipping Tools you can calculate postage for both domestic and international mail.
3. You can buy postage with shipping labels.
4. The "Click-N-Ship" feature allows you to buy insurance and get Delivery Confirmation for free when you print Priority Mail labels.
5. You have several ways available to purchase stamps. StampsByPhone: 800-STAMP-24; StampsByMail; or online at usps.com/shop.
CARRIER PICKUP SERVICE
No matter how many packages you are shipping you can have your carrier pick them up for free. Go to usps.com/pickup to schedule a pickup.
MILITARY HOLIDAY MAILING DEADLINES
If you've ever been baffled by all the mailing options offered by the USPS you're not alone. Next month I will give you a run down on the different options, what they offer and when to consider using them.