Post office workload increased at start of year


Contributing Writer

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The beginning of each academic year brings more stress to the Allegheny post office than usual in comparison to the rest of the year due to a high volume of incoming packages needing processed. Packages such as books, school supplies and larger packages like fridges and televisions cause long lines at the window, especially with one less employee on the team and working hours being from only noon to 4 p.m.

“One morning we had five people, three workers and two students, working through over 1,000 packages. That took over four hours to do and we didn’t even finish all of it,” said Pam Pritchard, postal clerk.

Different times during the semester factor into the number of packages received. Generally, the start of a semester generates a higher workload.

“The workload at the beginning of each semester is a massive difference from the rest of the year, particularly the beginning of the first semester of the year,” said Ryan Cambier, ’15. “On Monday, Aug. 25, we handed out roughly 1,030 packages to students. We also receive larger packages in the form of fridges, appliances and room furnishings at this time.”

Employees are required to scan and log every single package that comes into their office, making it a lengthy process. Although this change may be an inconvenience for some students, the extra time in the morning is needed so that the work of sifting through incoming packages can be accomplished in time for the students, as noted by Pritchard.

Pritchard also mentioned that it would be more convenient for students and fellow workers if an employee were hired to handle the window and only the window. During work hours, a line of students forms at the window waiting for assistance. Not all students can be helped immediately because employees are busy recording packages and/or assisting other students with their package pick-ups.

“I don’t appreciate how they changed their hours. Being open from eight to four was a much more timely system for students to get their mail,” said Stephanie Carson, ’16.

But it is not all bad.

“The post office runs fairly smooth with having one less main employee than usual,” said Cambier. “Because of the retiree last year, there isn’t much room for improvement.”

How well the post office runs depends on the day, the number of packages that are received and from which carrier they are delivered. The post office receives packages from four main carriers: UPS Inc., FedEx, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service.

“We do not plan to hire a new employee at this time,” said Debbie Legnosky, manager of mailing services.

“Opening up at 12 [p.m.] definitely helps us process all the mail without interruption,” said Cambier.

The four hours prior to the post office opening to students allows workers to do their job more efficiently. This helps speed up the process because the earlier they receive the packages, the quicker they can sort them and put the slips in student boxes.

The beginning of the year is the busiest time with mailings from home, books being ordered online and students getting gifts. From a scale of one to ten, with one being small amounts of packages and ten being immense amounts, the start of the year leans toward to higher count.

“At the beginning of the year the package intake is nine to ten,” said Camber. “The rest of the year, excluding holidays, it’s around five to six.”

The long wait times at the post office should decrease as the year progresses according to Cambier, with the exception of certain holidays. Valentine’s Day and Christmas are two of the busiest holidays for the post office.

Cambier gave some tips to help the post office run as smoothly as possible. He stressed the importance of always putting a box number on mailings. Without a box number, the staff has to look up that information, adding steps to an already lengthy process. He also suggested to have the package slip signed with a photo ID ready before going up to the window.

“Only you can pick up your mail and this will expedite the process,” said Cambier.