SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jesse Gary/KTVU) - One week from now, holiday gifts will be at the desired destination, and opened for the enjoyment of recipients. But Monday night, it's a scramble as the United States Postal Service worked to ship a crush of parcels and packages, on what is its busiest day of the holiday season.
"I think it's normal, every end of the year season at this time, there's a lot of crowd of people sending the gift to the loved one," said customer Vivian Nguyen, as she stood with her daughter in line to mail a package.
But how do packages and parcels get from here to there?
"I just think they're going to go like this -- chew chew chew (laughs)," said customer Jennie Anes, as she moved the box she was carrying in circular motions to depict a circuitous route.
Actually it's a lot more complicated than that. Postal spokesman Augustine "Auggie" Ruiz took us behind the proverbial curtain, to see the USPS' ramped-up operation.
"It handles all the mail for 950,951, and 931 which goes all the way down to King City," said Ruiz, as he walked down a long corridor to the interior of the distribution center.
The distribution center covers the area of four football fields, and most times riding through it is faster than walking. From Thanksgiving to New Year's, this facility processes 250 million pieces of mail, using this automated package processing system..
"We know Christmas very well and the customers know that we know Christmas very well. so, it's a tradition," said Ruiz.
The annual package scramble is made possible by technology, and 338 employees working in shifts including Monday night. Package sorter Amanda Passot has a Warriors touch, gently tossing packages as Steph Curry would a basketball shot, to make sure the right package gets in the right bin, and makes its way to the proper destination.
"It's very exhausting but this is what we do and we're used to it and it's the season," said Passot.
Seven million pieces of mail and 169,000 parcels and packages will be processed at this facility Monday night. Postal officials say this automated system helps the service handle added volume from customers on-line purchases which inevitably lead them into these lines for mailing..
"In December it gets really packed. especially during this time. the later, the longer the lines usually are," said customer Maricela Miranda, as she walked out the front door after a relatively quick wait in line..
Postal officials say tomorrow is the deadline for first class mail to make it by Christmas.. Wednesday for priority mail, and Friday for express mail, which will be delivered on Christmas Day.