SALT LAKE CITY — One of the biggest mailing days of the year dawns Monday and that means more packages will land on doorsteps. And with more and more people making holiday purchases online, shipping companies are making record numbers of stops, drawing the attention of would-be thieves ready to pull packages from doorsteps.
Nearly 2 million cards, letters and packages are expected to be mailed at Utah Post Offices Monday, making it the busiest mailing day of the year at the U.S. Postal Service. That compares with the 640 million cards, packages and letters expected to be mailed nationwide.
“This is our season,” said USPS District Manager Jimmy Wolf, who noted that retail hours have been extended and include Sunday hours leading up to Christmas.
Meanwhile, UPS Inc. estimates that the company will deliver 585 million packages worldwide this year, including about 34 million during the period between Black Friday and the end of January.
The company says making sure packages are successfully received by the customer is a high priority that drivers are specifically instructed to accommodate.
“Our drivers are trained to deliver packages out of sight and out of weather,” explained Carolee Streeper, UPS area human resources manager for Utah. Customers are also asked to help in the security effort by choosing to have items delivered to addresses at which someone is expected to be when the package is dropped off.
She said that when ordering online, if you are not at home during the day, consider sending the package to a workplace or to a family member or friend who would be home during the day to accept delivery. If necessary, customers can redirect packages even when the items are already on the way, she noted.
Some shippers, like FedEx and UPS, allow customers to have packages delivered to nearby company-owned retail locations and held for several days at no extra cost to the customer.
Additionally, because all packages can be monitored online, Streeper suggested tracking packages to ensure they can be received at delivery. Though many packages are sent without requiring a signature for delivery, if you are shipping something of value or just want to make sure items are not left unattended, customers can require a signature for packages to be released.
Customers can also request that drivers ring the doorbell or knock on the door upon delivery. They can also instruct drivers to place the delivery in a less visible location such as at the back door, behind a large plant or in a window well.
Streeper said that because of the increasing delivery volume this year, the company hires up to 100 seasonal drivers and helpers in metropolitan Salt Lake City. She said the company will also increase its permanent driver hiring in the area by 174 percent this year, following a nearly 80 percent jump in 2013.
To better manage the high package volume, the company has set up 15 temporary “mobile delivery villages” across the country, including one in Utah, she said. The site will operate through January — the end of the heaviest shipping demand period.
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