BALTIMORE — Donna Hood came to the main post office in downtown Baltimore to deliver a package.
Hood said she also came on Wednesday in hopes to have another package delivered within two days
“I said I needed it there as fast as possible. [The employee] said our computer says two days so you pay your fee for the two days, but she said I can guarantee you it’s not going to get there in two days," Hood said.
WMAR-2 News viewers have also shared with us similar experiences. One man on Facebook told our reporter Mallory Stofastaii he expected a package more than a week ago and it still hasn’t arrived. Another woman said she hasn’t received mail in two weeks.
“This time last year my route personally, I was averaging between 200-250 packages a day. This year I'm averaging between 25-50," said a local mail carrier who did not want to be identified.
The mail carrier, who has worked at USPS for more than 20 year, said the post office in downtown Baltimore is beyond overwhelmed with packages and can’t keep up because of staffing shortages.
“What we’re understanding is the staff down there is at 50 percent at best," he said.
He added, the post office is "beyond overwhelmed."
The staffing shortage is making sorting mail in a timely manner nearly impossible.
It's also led to trucks lined up outside of the post office. One truck was even blocking a portion of E. Fayette St. because of the backup.
Many of them sit for hours waiting to either pick up or drop off mail and packages.
On the U.S Postal Service website, USPS said its "experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19."
USPS also sent us a statement. A spokesperson said, "we have taken steps to address issues caused by the pandemic as we approach our busiest week, including hiring seasonal employees and allocating employees to facilities that need additional resources.
The local mail carrier said he and his co-workers are doing their very best to deliver mail on time, but he added they can only deliver what they can get.
He said don't be surprised if the package you expected before the holiday, doesn't show up until the New Year.
Hood said it’s disappointing knowing a lot of packages won’t be delivered in time for Christmas.
"I've worked with people that have had things sitting at a post office...since October, November and nobody knows when it's been to be shipped out [and] where they are," she said.
The full statement from USPS can be read below:
"The 644,000 employees of the U.S Postal Service across the nation are proud to provide an essential service to our customers during the pandemic and to meet unprecedented challenges of this extraordinary year.
The U.S. Postal Service has faced challenges recently due to COVID-19 at the same time mail volumes have dramatically increased. We have taken steps to address issues caused by the pandemic as we approach our busiest week, including hiring seasonal employees and allocating employees to facilities that need additional resources.
As we do each year, the Postal Service reminds customers to send mail and packages early to avoid glitches. For additional holiday information and resources, including mailing deadlines and packaging tips, check out the USPS holiday newsroom [gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com].
We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays."