Postal push on as Christmas nears

Canada Post has added a Sunday parcel delivery to ensure that all Christmas parcels reach their destination on time.

If a blue Christmas is in your stocking this year, don’t blame Canada Post.

The nation’s postal service is making efforts above and beyond their normal duties in an effort to ensure every postage paid piece of Christmas cheer makes it to its designated door.

With extra weekend delivery days added in, and an in-house staff roster bolstered by extra bodies, Canada Post in the West Kootenay region is making even the world’s best same-day courier service — Santa Claus — a little jealous.

“We’re doing everything we can to get the mail delivered before Christmas and I’m positive we will succeed,” said Ray Metzler, local area superintendent for Canada Post.

People in Trail and the West Kootenay’s other major centres were given a surprise Sunday when they received parcels through Canada Post. Metzler said the extra weekend service run was added in to mitigate the barrage of parcels that pour through at this time of the year.

“We’ll do that next Sunday too, and we’ll likely do that on the (December) 24th. We find a better success rate for delivering on Sunday rather than a Saturday. More people are out shopping on a Saturday.”

The West Kootenay will also receive an additional highway service from Vancouver on the weekend, bringing in a load of parcels, as well as an extra local truck sent out on Saturday, giving carriers an opportunity to deliver on Sunday.

Although Monday was the last day to ensure a regular post parcel would make it across the expanse of Canada to its destination before Christmas, people can still send a parcel by regular post this week within the Kootenay region, and feel safe knowing it will arrive in time.

As well, those opting to push the envelope and send it late can still pony up for Express Post or Priority Post and know their package will be delivered in two to four business days.

But with less than two weeks until Christmas, shipping in 2011 is shaping up to be one of the biggest totals in history. Earlier this month, Moneris Solutions, the country’s largest credit and debit card processor, said Canadians spent 8.3 per cent more on Black Friday (Nov. 26) and 15.4 per cent more on Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) than they did on those two days, respectively, last year.

Toss in a frenzied round of mid-December weekend shopping, the finalizing of Christmas cards and people employing greater degrees of online shopping to defray the festive frazzle, and Canada Post outlets like the Pine Street office in Trail will be hopping for two more weeks.

“Our parcel volumes have picked up tremendously in the last two weeks, and, nationwide in December, the entire service will process more than one billion pieces of mail,” said Metzler.

File that statistic in the “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” department for those who say physical mail would be replaced with online mail.

“There is no let down, I’m certainly not seeing that,” Metzler said of the quantity of mail. “There is a lot of online shopping going on so we’re seeing a huge increase in volume this year. They haven’t figured out how to send stuff over the Internet yet.”