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Cheap envelopes tangle up busiest day for post office

Published: Tue, December 21, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.


The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Maria Ruiz and her son Angel, 1, both of Youngstown, prepare to mail a package at theYoungstown Post Office Monday. Monday was one of the busiest postal days of the year.


The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Youngstown Post Office employee Carl Flesher dumps a bind of mail onto a conveyor belt.

Monday was the last day for regular delivery items to arrive by Christmas.

Today is the last day for Priority Mail items to arrive by Christmas.

Wednesday is the last day for Express Mail items to arrive by Christmas.

Source: U.S. Postal Service


Special to the Vindicator


Consumers looking to save a little money this holiday season might be causing themselves — and their local post office — a bit of a headache.

The main culprit? Christmas cards with cheaply made envelopes.

Monday was the post office’s busiest day of the year, Victor Dubina, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said, adding the Youngstown Post Office handled about 600,000 cards and letters by the end of the day. The heavy volume was complicated by envelopes tearing in sorting machines used to separate cards and letters.

Youngstown Postmaster Tom Kerns said it will take about 24 hours to sort through all cards with torn envelopes.

“You think you’re saving money, but you might end up spending more on postage,” Kerns said.

Not only that. Some cards could end up being delivered late, and some might not be deliverable at all, he added.

Monday was the last day to mail items for regular delivery, although Kerns said local letters mailed today likely will make it to their destinations on time.

For packages mailed today, Dubina suggests shipping by Priority Mail. For those who plan to mail items Wednesday, he suggests Express Mail for delivery before Christmas.

For the procrastinators, Dubina again advocates using Priority Mail flat-rate boxes.

“It doesn’t matter how much it weighs. It doesn’t matter where it’s going,” he said. “As long as it fits in the box, it’s the same price. Just like the [TV] commercial says.”

Sarah Lown of Youngstown is one of those procrastinators. She was at the post office in search of boxes for shipping gifts to family members in New Hampshire.

She waited to ship her items because she hadn’t found the perfect gifts until the last minute. She had the boxes in her hands, but no gifts to go in them.

“I probably won’t actually be able to ship them until tomorrow,” she said.


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh! How we love Santa's Helpers. Thanks a bunch and Merry Christmas Postal Workers!!

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2citizen1776(12 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes! Merry Christmas to our wonderful Postal Workers!
They work hard. They care. They don't drop kick everything for fun like the UPS.

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3ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Not like they can't see this coming, but it still must be awful to be working down there.

But let us do some math: 600,000 cards and letters times 44 cents per card or letter (for simplicity, assume 1 stamp) = $264,000 in revenue in just Youngstown yesterday! Who says they can't afford Saturday mail delivery?

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4DJ0(72 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

USPS is a government corportation with all the bad of both, government and corporation. While most letter carriers are conscientious, there are some that are just typical "civic service" stereotypes. UPS is a business that means business, same with FedEx. What is a "cheap" envelope? Is it just a ploy to get us to buy something else from the Post Office? Start charging more for the junk that comes in the mail and you'll find yourself out of the red ink.

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5walter_sobchak(2673 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Ain't that the truth! You would think a corp. that is bleeding red ink would realize that better service might help the bottom line, but, NO! The mailboxes in the area of our office at one time were picked up in the morning and after 5:00pm. Now, just once a day and at 11:00AM. If you want a later pick-up, the box has a sign to go to the main P.O. downtown. Now, if you go there after 5:00, forget about buying stamps because they took out the machines! But, the sign says you can buy postage at Austintown P.O. but you need to use a debit card. Or, the sign lists stores that have postage for sale, like Marc's, or certain banks! Yes sir, great service!

I wondered why a few years ago, Fedex drop-off boxes were being put in front of all of the P.O.'s since that would be the USPS's big competitor. I asked a clerk why that was allowed and I was told that Fedex is a contract carrier for the Post office and this deal was worked out. Then, why not just use Fedex instead of the USPS?

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6Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Well, I can tell you the cheap envelopes are probably due to the fact that, with the lousy economy, we can't afford to buy better and more expensive greeting cards. Most are probably made in China and we know, from our own personal experience, their products are rarely a good quality, are poorly made. That could be because they don't pay decent wages to their workers or because they produce such mass quantities of junk products and can't do a good job. And let's face it....China owns the U.S. Our government has indebted us to them with the mess they have made of the economy. And because of the same mess, most folks can't afford quality U.S.A. made items. Thanks to our politicians, our giveaway programs, etc.
How sad for our future generations!!!
And yes, Poland is a good post office. But so are some of the others in the rural areas in Mahoning County.

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7Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Read the attached link below and learn that inexpensive envelopes are the least of the USPS's problems. There must be reform of this failing boondoggle. I would suggest:

-Thrice weekly service only. Some get MWF, others T,TH, Sa.

-Regional post offices. You don't need a post office for every zip code.

-Evaluate and reduce labor/pension/benefits costs.

-Increase price of postage.


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8Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Do know about the envelops , But I use the post office , Ups , and FedEx all the time . And nobody can beat the USPS for job will done and with a smile on their face for you . The USPS does it all ,delivers mail to your door .Ships boxes at a cheaper price . UPS and FedEx are very good at what they do. But it is only part of the job.
Email is great ,but not like getting a handwritten letter or card in the mail .

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9foodforthought(17 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

The post office on 104 W HYLDA AVE is open monday thru friday 9 to 2. I use it no lines.

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10harleydog(243 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Boardman Post Office is the worst. Lines out the door and one person behind the counter. That person does not deserve to be put in that situation. Where is the Branch Manager??

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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Go to Cornersburg great people and safe

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12Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, I want to thank a nameless postal worker in Cornersburg. I could see the postal truck was at the drive-up mailbox as I entered the parking lot, but he was obviously done, and ready to pull away. I thought, "Oh well." I'll put the letter in anyway for the next pick-up. But the postman saw me pull up and got out of his truck to walk over to my car.
"I'll take that for you, ma'am," he said with a smile.
Just little gestures that make us happy for the holiday instead of grouchy. Thank you.

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13southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

These envelopes are made in China, need I say more?

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