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For Oakland’s mail carriers, it’s the busiest week of the year

on December 24, 2010

As holiday shoppers rush to get their holiday gifts to loved ones across the nation, the United States Postal Service and its close to 600,000 workers and its fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles scramble to meet the season’s increased demand. On Monday alone, the postal service received more than 800 million pieces of mail for delivery, a 40 percent increase in volume compared to the usual daily average of about 560 million.

In Oakland, the City’s 470 mail carriers are working long hours and contending with two-to-three times their usual workload. With about 200,000 delivery points across 78-square miles, postal employees like Artemio Esteban, 41, talks to Oakland North about the challenges that the holiday is bringing, and some of the hurdles he faces year-round.

“The workload for the last few weeks is heavy, the packages have doubled, tripled,” said Esteban, who has been delivering mail in Oakland for the last 16 years. “I still don’t complain, because I love what I’m doing.”

The culprit for the recent deluge of mail before the holidays: last-minute shopping.

“It is definitely due to Christmas, everybody doing a lot of buying online because it’s free shipping,” said Noel Stafford, the customer service manager at the Oakland’s West Point Grand Annex post office location. “So, yes, a lot of customers are doing a lot of things by the mail.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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