PLATTSBURGH — When they mailed a package from the Post Office on Miller Street Wednesday afternoon, Lori and Albert Mills were given a common holiday warning.
“If it wasn’t Priority Mail, it probably wouldn’t get there before Christmas,” Mrs. Mills said.
The Millses were among a number of postal customers urged that afternoon to send their packages via Priority Mail.
For parcels bound for both domestic and international destinations, estimates for standard post shipping had the delivery dates hovering close to Dec. 25.
Although clerks emphasized that the choice was up to the customer, Mr. Mills said he preferred paying the few dollars extra for a stronger guarantee that his package would arrive at its North Bay, Ontario, destination before Christmas.
“You’re not 100 percent sure, but you’re hoping that you’re 100 percent sure,” Mr. Mills said.
‘CUTTING IT CLOSE’
That uncertainty, U.S. Postal Service regional spokeswoman Maureen Marion said, is often why clerks suggest the priority-shipping option this time of year.
As an example, she plotted a hypothetical shipping schedule for a package mailed on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
If sent standard delivery, its estimated arrival ranges between two and eight days.
Taking into consideration the lack of mail service on Sunday, Dec. 15, a package sent through standard mail on Dec. 11 may not arrive at its destination until Dec. 20.
That is assuming it does not encounter any delays along the way, Marion explained.
“One day off can create a little backup for everybody,” she said. “If you present it to me as a Christmas gift, I’m gonna try to say you’re cutting it close.”
The recent ice storm that spread across the Central and Mid-Atlantic states is one example of a weather system that could push that risky date over the edge.
“Santa has Rudolph, and they can get through, but we’re really dependent on the weather this time of year,” Marion said.