Lack of clerks leads to postal frustration

HOUSTON If you think it is taking longer to get in and out of the post office, you are right. The problem is with employees, or the lack of them at many postal branches.

People expect long lines on the busiest mailing day of the year, but they do not expect it to take more than an hour to mail a package and pick up stamps.

Customer Marcella Millan said, "I think it is really horrible that they have just one person in there and she is the slowest person ever."

Customers using this post office say they were surprised to see just one counter worker with so many people waiting to be helped.

"I am just a little disappointed that on the heaviest mailing day of the year there is only one person working in a four bay postal facility," said customer John Rice. "It is after all supposed to be the U.S. Postal Service."

The reason for so few employees? A recent nationwide buyout by the postal service. Thousands of workers took the buyout, leaving post offices short staffed.

USPS spokesperson Dionne Montague explained, We had employees leave at the end of October but we have hired about 330 temporary employees to fill that gap."

Postal officials say it takes time to get those temporary workers in the branch offices. Meanwhile the waiting game is proving a boom for business at independent shipping companies who see a growing number of frustrated post office customers.

Amesh Patel of West University Pack and Ship said, "They don't have a lot of people here, they had some retire, and they have a lot of work waiting in the back also."

So what can you do? Keep in mind Thursday is the last day to get the cheapest options for shipping. You can save yourself some time by going online at USPS or FedEx.

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