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Post Office ready for busiest day

U.S. Postal Service officials are gearing up for a busy Mondayas millions of cards, letters and gifts are expected to be put inthe mail to loved ones.

The Monday of the last full week before Christmas istraditionally the highest volume mailing day of the year. Thebusiest delivery day is two days later, postal officials said.

“Next week will be our busiest week,” said Jim Young, officer incharge of the Brookhaven’s U.S. Post Office. “And it usually tapersoff a little after that.”

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, U.S. Postal Serviceofficials anticipate 20 billion pieces of mail being delivered.

On Monday, officials predict card and letter volume to increasefrom the normal 280 million to close to 670 million. Young did nothave anticipated mail volume totals for the Brookhaven offices’Monday activity, but he expected it to be in line with nationaltrends.

“I’m sure it will be close to triple,” Young said.

With the exception of some packages, Young said mail sent Mondayshould be delivered by Wednesday or Thursday.

For those still wrapping packages for mailing, Young recommendedthe postal service’s “Click-N-Ship” program. The program, offeredover the service’s www.usps.com Web site, has been in existence alittle over a year.

“It’s still relatively new,” Young said.

In addition to buying stamps, computer users who have scales cango to the website to get shipping options and costs for mailingtheir items. They can also pay shipping costs online, thus savingtime and avoiding trips to the post office.

“It’s a very good system,” Young said.

Young noted that Mississippi customers, particularly those inBrookhaven, are taking advantage of the Click-N-Ship service.

In 2002, the Click-N-Ship website generated $3,500 in revenuefrom Mississippi customers. In 2003, that total has risen to over$15,000, of which $880 was paid by Brookhaven-area customers, Youngsaid.

Regarding mailing items to U.S. destinations, postal officialsrecommended switching from parcel post to priority mail deliverybeginning Monday. The lower-cost parcel post service can take up toseven or eight days for item delivery, depending on where thepackage is going, whereas priority mail has two-three day delivery,Young said.

Express mail should be used starting Monday, Dec. 22, officialssaid. Express mail service usually is next-day delivery, Youngsaid.

With military servicemen in Iraq, postal officials have noticedan estimated 25 percent increase in packages heading overseas thistime of year. Young said postal officials typically get soldiers’packages to the military’s mail service in a day, and then it is upto that agency to get packages to the individuals.

“We’re on a pretty good system here,” Young said.

Young said Brookhaven is fortunate to have several stamp vendingmachines at its two post offices, plus postal customers can use theservice’s website to get ZIP code information and pay for postage.He added the Brookhaven office will be open normal hours ChristmasEve to take care of last-minute mail deliveries.

“We won’t close early or anything,” Young said.