NAPLES — Santa’s shipper elves are working hard today.
Monday is the Post Office’s busiest day for incoming and outgoing mail, said Richard Barber, Naples’ postmaster.
Today is also the last day for priority mail delivery to arrive by Christmas Eve, Barber said. Starting Tuesday, anything that needs to arrive by Christmas Eve will have to be shipped express mail.
“Right now we have a steady line three quarters of the way through the lobby (at the main office on Goodlette-Frank Road) and two full lines for both of our automated postal centers,” Barber said. “That’s what we’re reporting at all our locations in Naples including our nine contract post office units.”
A steady stream of cars pulled into the post office parking lot at Creekside Way in Naples at about 4 p.m. Monday. Inside, Christmas carols played on the stereo and a line of people snaked back from the counter.
Skip Lattenhauer, 66, stood at a table, methodically sticking stamps onto red and green envelopes. Most of them were headed to destinations in the United States, and a few to friends in the United Kingdom, he said.
“I got through there pretty quick,” he says, motioning toward the line. “I bet you it was less than eight minutes. I thought it would be slammed today.”
About five minutes later, he dropped 46 envelopes into the mailing slot and went on his way.
Meanwhile, Jackie Teets, 64, breezed in the door. She wore a red Santa hat on her head with a red spring on top and a jingle bell on the end.
“I’m working today, so when I go into the different businesses people seem to pick up their spirits a bit,” she said of her outfit, which also included a Christmas sweater.
Teets was there to mail three last minute packages to her mother in Illinois, her daughter in Indiana and her grandson in Texas. She mailed two other boxes to another daughter and grandkids over the weekend.
“I’ve always been an out of town grandmother and so I think it’s even more important,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a hassle, but I know they’ll get joy out of what they’re getting. It shows we put thought into it.”
In total, Naples has 13 post offices.
“We have to consider the amount of mail being sent in the mailstream at the last minute and the weather we’re running into once we leave the state of Florida,” Barber said. “The weather in our hubs throughout the United States has been miserable and it’s been tough landing and it’s been tough going over the roads with these Christmas gifts, but we’re doing it.”
He also noted that the automated postal centers at the post offices at 1200 Goodlette-Frank Road, 1130 Creekside Way and 851 Vanderbilt Beach Road are open 24 hours.
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