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Postal Service Delivers Happiness
One look at the packages overflowing the bins in the sorting area of the Escalon Post Office and you'd be hard pressed to say the recession is still in full swing.

That, according to Postal Supervisor Ritchie Taa, who said carriers are in the midst of their busiest season, making daily deliveries of holiday packages throughout the community.

"We started seeing packages coming in last Saturday (Dec. 4)," Taa said.

Saturday, Dec. 11 and Monday, Dec. 13 were anticipated to be the highest volume days for the postal service, as people work to get packages in the mail for friends and relatives throughout the country.

"We have staff for the increasing volume so we're ready to handle it," Taa said.

Escalon has 375 post office boxes, enough to keep the postal clerks busy getting packages over the counter to box holders, along with 2,200 rural customers and close to 1,900 city deliveries.

"They say there's a recession but I'm not seeing it," added Taa, watching as city carriers Mervin Bruns and Justin Wilson were sorting through the piles to load up their vehicles on Friday morning. "We're seeing as many packages as the last few years, if not more."

This year, he said, carriers will not leave packages when customers are not home, to help avoid the potential for theft.

"Our carriers will stress safety and the security of packages," Taa said. "We will leave a note if no one is home, for them to come pick up their package at the post office."

It's unfortunate but true, he added, that people will take advantage at this time of year and grab a package left unattended, robbing the intended recipient of their holiday gifts.

The post office on Coley Avenue is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Taa noted, though, that someone is in the post office at 6 a.m. and those that need to pick items up and have trouble getting in during the regular hours can come early and use the Dutch door inside to summon the clerk. Likewise, someone is there until 6 p.m., after the lobby closes, and can assist customers with package pick up until then as well.

"We're also encouraging people to utilize the click and ship and our priority mail boxes," Taa explained. "Just log on to, click and ship allows them to print their own labels, and we can pick up their packages."

Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24, the local post office will be open for regular hours, though there are no deliveries on Saturday, Christmas Day.

"We'll run as many packages out on Dec. 24 as possible," Taa said, with the goal of getting the gifts and cards delivered by the holiday.

The local post office is also accepting Santa Claus letters and, if children put a return address on them, Taa said they can be answered and delivered back before the big day.

As hectic as the next week or so will be for postal service employees, Taa said he takes it as a good sign that the economy is improving, and people are willing to spend a little to share the holiday spirit of giving.

"To me, I like to see this," he said. "The post office is alive and well and customers trust the postal service."