DC-area post offices see rush of holiday gift shippers

Post Office
People are trying to send their packages through the post office just in time for the holidays. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

Some last-minute Christmas gift senders are finding plenty of company at D.C.-area post offices. At a post office in the Kentlands, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a socially-distanced line stretched outside the building.

“I got out and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, merry Christmas,” said Michelle Arias, of Gaithersburg, when she arrived to ship a package to her nephew.

“I decided at the last minute that I was going to augment his gifts, instead of doing Amazon, and that was a mistake because everybody else had the same idea,” she added.

The Postal Service has seen some delays in packages getting to their destinations on time.

“While every year the Postal Service carefully plans for peak holiday season, a historic record of holiday volume compounded by a temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, and capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail are leading to temporary delays,” the Postal Service said in a statement.

The Postal Service said it continues to flex its network, which includes making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver the influx of letters and packages.

Brian Hoek, of Rockville, had a gift labeled to his aunt in Long Island, New York, but he understands it might not arrive until after Christmas.

“When you compare it to everything else you have to contend with, a package arriving at the last minute, especially if you haven’t done some preplanning, then whenever it arrives there, you should be happy with that,” Hoek said.

Alice Summers, of Gaithersburg, said she expects many of her own gifts to arrive after Dec. 25.

“I have some gifts that I’m waiting on, I just know they’re gonna be late, and it’s fine,” Summers said.

Mondi Kumbula-Fraser, of North Potomac, said that she realizes the Post Office is struggling to make deliveries on time, but she feels packages sent should arrive on time.

“I’m aware that that is an issue, but it’s not acceptable for that to happen,” Kumbula-Fraser said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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