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Shipping Christmas

Outlets Report Mild Season

POSTED December 22, 2009 3:15 p.m.

Punctual people who wanted to avoid the Christmas shipping rush that typically happens each season actually started sending their packages out Dec. 7 but the real crush didn’t get into full swing until the following week — and even then it wasn’t as crazy as it has been in previous years, said Myrna Nordstrom, owner of the local UPS store.

“This year started out slow — a lot slower than last year,” Nordstrom said, adding that she tries to watch for trends each year. “Last week it picked up and I was pretty surprised because of the economy.”

Nordstrom also noted that people were trying to stuff more items into smaller packaging in an attempt to save a buck.

“More people were bringing in boxes already packed because that saves money, too,” she said.

While Nordstrom saw very little international shipping, she said people were still shipping throughout California and out of state as usual.

And with Christmas only a few days away, Monday, Dec. 21 was the end of the Christmas rush as UPS suspended their shipping guarantees.

“We might have a few stragglers coming in but at this point they know that it will get there when it gets there,” Nordstrom said.

Ellanore Largent, owner of Pak Mail, noted that the season was steady but agreed smaller packages were the norm rather than the bigger packages of the past.

She added, “I also noticed people waited longer to ship than in years past. But overall, it was a good season.”

Over at the post office, Charlene Taylor, a 25-year postal employee, said Monday was the worst day in the entire season, but not half as bad as it has been in the past.

“I’m relieved it’s over,” Taylor said. “But it’s not as horrible as it was years ago. The Internet and recession have changed the way people do things. A lot of people do their shopping and pay their bills online so while the Internet has helped us it has also hurt a little.”

Taylor noted an increase in Christmas cards this year and thought the economy might have something to do with the influx.

“It might be all that people can afford but that’s okay because sometimes a card is all you need,” Taylor said.

Taylor, who works in the back sorting and managing the box section as part of her myriad of duties, agreed with Nordstrom in that smaller packages seemed to be popular this year.

“Our priority boxes and one-rate boxes were a big hit. They totally wiped us out in supply even though we ordered a lot,” Taylor said.

Yet while evidence suggests people have less resources to work with this holiday season, Taylor said, “Even though the economy is bad, people seemed to be in really good spirits.”

Largent agreed, saying, “ Everyone has been really fun and festive and there hasn’t been any negativity that we’ve seen.”

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