JUNEAU - With an estimated 19 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service has a way to avoid lines at postal retail facilities.
"From their home or business, customers can complete their gift mailings without ever going to a Post Office," said Darus Macy, Customer Relations manager for the Postal Service's Alaska District. "You can do it all online at usps.com. You can print labels and postage from your computer and then request that your Letter Carrier pick-up packages the next day at no additional cost. You may also drop your completed packages at any postal retail counter.
"The best shipping value may be our Priority Mail Flat-Rate boxes," Macy said. "No calculating of postage or weighing is needed - if it fits, it ships. We have two convenient sizes, the new larger size costs $12.95 and the original size costs $9.80. The on-line rate is even lower and comes with free delivery confirmation. Skip the trip to the Post Office and do all of your shipping online."
Macy had the following tips for mailing packages:
Make sure packages are able to withstand processing without the contents or packaging breaking.
Cushion items with bubble wrap, newspaper, or "foam peanuts" so they do not shift during transit.
Remove batteries from electronic devices and wrap separately. Packages that make noise may be delayed while examined by a Postal Inspector for safety reasons. The same logic applies to packages that leak - so package food items carefully.
When re-using a box make sure previous labels and markings are covered before mailing.
Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This ensures the safe return of an item that could not be delivered should the outside label become damaged or fall off.
Always use tape designed for sealing shipping boxes. Do not use string, cellophane, duct and masking tape to seal packages.
Macy also suggested the following Alaska holiday mailing deadlines:
First-Class cards and letters mail by Saturday, Dec. 20.
Priority Mail packages mail by Saturday, Dec. 20.
Express Mail packages mail by Tuesday, Dec. 23.
"The Postal Service wants to make it quick, easy and convenient for our customers during this holiday mailing season," Macy added. "There is a wealth of information on our Web site at usps.com. Check it out."