Making the magic happen: How does the postal service do it?

Dec 9, 2022, 11:35 AM

Bryan Freeborn works at one of the package sorting machines at the United States Postal Service Pri...

Bryan Freeborn works at one of the package sorting machines at the United States Postal Service Priority Mail Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The holiday rush is in full swing at post offices around the country to ensure packages, parcels, letters and Christmas cards all get delivered on time.

“Without our people, there’s no way we can make the holidays happen,” United States Postal Service communications specialist Rod Spurgeon said.

The employees are the ones who “make the magic happen” and Spurgeon said mail service has been preparing for the holiday season all year long.

Inside the USPS Priority Mail Center in Utah, dozens of workers are operating hundreds of machines to sort and process thousands of packages every hour. Employees are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure mail gets delivered during the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week of the year.

“We process all of these Christmas presents throughout the season and I just love it because we get to bring magic to all these kids around the world,” holiday helper and USPS worker Yvette Allgood said.

Allgood is one of several workers who wears a Christmas hat as she drives carts holding pallets of parcels around the center to get them to the correct sorting spot.

USPS has been integrating technology into the mail sorting process via automated self-driving machines. Spurgeon said things have come a long way in automation and USPS is taking advantage of all the latest technology to improve its services.

The Priority Mail Center uses FRS machines, or flex rover sorters, which are robots that help organize oversized packages that can’t be sorted in other processors. The center also has a couple of automated guided vehicles, which are self-driving carts that can complete about 1,000 missions a night.

Incorporating technology in the mail process multiplies production and “lets us do so much more,” Spurgeon said.

Yvette Allgood works at the United States Postal Service Priority Mail Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday. She said she loves how working for USPS lets her be a part of the magic of Christmas. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

USPS Plant Manager Chad Oborn said working in the postal service is a challenge, but he loves seeing it all come together every night.

“It’s awesome the way our employees come together at the busiest time of year,” Oborn said. “They take that challenge on knowing there’s going to be some long days … but they do it to make it happen and it’s rewarding to see that plan come together on a nightly basis.

According to a news statement from USPS, an estimated 149 million people will visit usps.com this season to get Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and use the next-day package pickup service. A predicated 250 million customers will visit post office locations this season, with Dec. 12-17 expected to be the highest trafficked week.

The deadline for overseas military mail is Friday, Dec. 9. For domestic mail, first-class mail needs to be sent by Dec. 17 and priority mail by Dec. 19. The very last day to send something through USPS and have it arrive by Christmas Day is Dec. 23 through priority mail express.

Nationwide, USPS has processed about 5 billion cards, letters and packages this season, so far, Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon said to ensure your package gets sent safely, avoid wrapping paper and bows on packages and double-check addresses, especially the zip code and apartment number, if applicable.

An employee works at the package sorting machine at the United States Postal Service Priority Mail Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 8. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Cache County deputies say a 51-year-old man died while snowmobiling in Scare Canyon. (Brian Champag...

Josh Ellis

Weber County man dies after experiencing health issue while snowmobiling

A 51-year-old man died while riding a snowmobile in Cache County Thursday afternoon.

41 minutes ago

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both

8 hours ago

The Utah State Hospital sign in Provo, Utah....

Daniel Woodruff

A developer has big plans for the Utah State Hospital property

The latest effort to move the Utah State Hospital for a new development plan has failed this legislative session.

9 hours ago

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah Senate rejects effort to end ranked choice voting early

Utah’s experiment with ranked choice voting will continue after a bill that would have ended the pilot program two years early failed to pass.

9 hours ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

11 hours ago

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Making the magic happen: How does the postal service do it?