Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

Remember the movie, When Harry Met Sally, more specifically, that New Year's Eve scene when Harry asks Sally about the meaning of Auld Lang Syne?  

Harry: "What does this song mean? My whole life, I don't know what this song means. I mean, 'Should old acquaintance be forgot'? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?"

Sally: "Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it's about old friends."

Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish phrase that translates to "times gone by" or "long, long ago.” Its significance today comes from a poem by Robert Burns written in 1788 that was then adapted to song. The poem, meant to convey the sense of longing for the past and old acquaintances, was paired with a traditional Scottish folk song and today is often heard at celebrations, graduations and, of course, the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Singing Auld Lang Syne became a Scottish custom and spread to other parts of the British Isles. Scottish, English and Welsh residents brought the song with them as they emigrated around the world. Singer and radio host Guy Lombardo is credited with linking the song with New Year’s when his band, the Royal Canadians, performed the tune between two radio programs in New York in 1929. The event was broadcast live on radio, and by coincidence, it happened to play right after midnight. Lombardo went on to host New Year’s Eve gigs for many years and his program was the forerunner to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Miami CCA Recruitment Starts Jan 5

Looking for an exciting opportunity to build a secure career, while earning the trust and respect of your entire community, with one of the largest organizations in the world? The U.S. Postal Service is seeking City Carrier Assistants who are full-time alternates for regular Letter Carriers.

The Miami Post Office will be recruiting for City Carrier Assistant positions for five days starting January 5, 2015. Interested parties may apply at

Wellington CCA Rufus Graham II (left) loves his job!

Miami Priority Mail Express Workers: 'We Like to Move It, Move It!'

Photos: Mirtha Uriarte, Miami Customer Relations Coordinator

Priority Mail Express trailer arrives 101% full!  Miami Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC) Mail Handlers Roderick Perriman, Jr., Gavaris Swanson (aka Santa’s Elf) and Ariel Lantigue, Norland Branch Letter Carrier Ken Williams, and Flagler Station City Carrier Assistant Quiency Bey unload packages for sortation in the Priority Mail Express Operation.
December 23, 2014 was the last day for customers to ship their gifts for arrival by Christmas Day. Proud to be part of U.S. Postal Service's holiday success are L to R Miami P&DC Mail Handlers Gavaris Swanson (aka Santa’s Elf), Rashad Williams III, and Ariel Lantigua.
Witness the hustle and bustle of the holiday season at the Miami Processing & Distribution Center’s Priority Mail Express Operation. December 23, 2014 was the busiest day for our Distribution Clerks; City Carrier Assistants; Letter Carriers; Mail Handlers; Managers, In-Plant Support; Supervisors, Distribution Operations; Manager, Transportation Networks; and Support Staff all coming together to ensure the success of “our season.”
City Carrier Assistants Sean Gaspard (left) and Marious Bethel (right) organize all the Priority Mail Express packages for the Blue Lagoon Branch. 

West Palm Beach Holiday Reflections

Story & Photos: Gale Jackson, West Palm Beach Customer Relations Coordinator

Customers at the West Palm Beach Main Post Office are all smiles as South Florida District Staff and local management team up to assist holiday mailers on Monday, December 15, better known as "the busiest mailing day of the year."

Manager, Customer Services Pablo Estupinan and Business Development Specialist Kimberly Person cheerfully assisted customers on line and at the Self Service Kiosk (SSK).  Lobby Assistants Stephen Cooper and Toni Trenga demonstrated the holiday spirit and helped customers on line for package pickups. 

“Our customers are serious about meeting the December 15 mailing deadline for Standard Post, but what we are seeing here today is Priority Mail being the service of choice by our holiday mailers,” said Postmaster Richard Fermo.

Business Development Specialist Kimberly Person assists grateful customer at the Self Service Kiosk (SSK).
Manager, Customer Services Pablo Estupinan helps customers with holiday packaging.

Post Office Building Dedications in Miami, Princeton in 2015

On December 19, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law, H.R. 2678 (P.L. 113-213) designating the building located at 10360 SW 186 Street, Miami, FL as the “Larcenia J. Bullard Post Office Building.” U.S. Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL) introduced this legislation into the House of Representatives on July 11, 2013. 

Also on December 19, the President signed into law, H.R. 5030 (P.L. 113-225) designating the building located at 13500 SW 250 Street, Princeton, FL as the “Corporal Christian A. Guzman Rivera Post Office Building.” U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced this legislation into the House of Representatives on July 8, 2014.

Santa Letters Still Coming In ...

Christmas has come and gone, but the Miami Processing and Distribution Center continues to receive hundreds of colorful cards and letters addressed to Santa.

Manual Distribution Clerk Reginald Knight says that holiday greetings come in from all around the world.

“We receive multiple trays daily --- even after the holidays,” said Knight. 

Photos: Trays and trays of Christmas greetings await Manual Distribution Clerk Reginald Knight who doubles as one of Santa's elves during the holiday season.
Photos: Mirtha Uriarte, Miami Customer Relations Coordinator

Monday, December 29, 2014

Customer Now Singing a Happy Tune

Letter Carrier Albert Soto 
Story & Photo: Mirtha Uriarte, Miami Customer Relations Coordinator

Customer Susan Ryan mailed a paperback autobiography of Latin singer, Jose Jose, to a very close friend of his wife on November 13. The friend was having the autobiography signed by the singer and mailed back to Ryan. But the situation had a sour note ... something was off key.

Ryan became anxious when days passed and the package had not reached its destination. When she tracked the package on the USPS Track and Confirm website, she noticed it was looping between the Royal Palm Processing & Distribution Center and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch (Zone 33147). An addressing error sent the package to the unintended destination rather than the Father Felix Varela Branch (Zone 33174). Ryan reached out to Miami Postmaster’s Office for assistance.

Miami Postmaster’s Administrative Assistant Estrella Noguera realized the package had the incorrect ZIP Code on it. She contacted Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch Manager, Customer Services Lena Madison who captured the package and then hand delivered it to A/Supervisor, Customer Service Support Gale Williams who in turn, hand delivered the package to the Father Felix Varela Branch. 

Letter Carrier Albert Soto provided same-day delivery and noted that the customer was singing a happy tune.

The Gift of the Magi

The U.S. Postal Service issued the Christmas Magi Limited Edition Forever stamps to commemorate one of the most beloved stories of the holiday season. 

The stamp celebrates the biblical story of three visitors from the east who came bearing gifts for Jesus. The stamp art depicts the Magi atop camels near the summit of a small hill. Guiding them is a large, dazzling star. In the west, Three Kings Day is celebrated January 6. In many cultures, this is the day for exchanging gifts, rather than Christmas Day.

The colors in the sky range from rose, near the horizon, darkening to a rich purple at the top, suggesting that the travelers are moving through the desert at dawn. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp, which was illustrated by Nancy Stahl.

Working together, Breeding, of Charlottesville, VA, and Stahl, of New York City, created an image that illustrates the traditional tale of the Magi. The three figures sit atop bedecked and harnessed camels, guided by a large, dazzling star in the sky. Stahl first sketched her design in pencil on tracing paper. After scanning the sketch, she added color digitally and gave the artwork a softer, airbrushed look.

The 'Return' of the Ugly Sweater

Did you receive yet another ugly sweater for the holidays this year?

Holiday returns — an annual rite for millions of gift receivers — are easy with the U.S. Postal Service. The improved shipping products and services from the Postal Service offer the easiest, most stress-free solution for returning gifts after the holidays.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes take the added hassle out of trying to determine the cost of shipping, with low flat-rate prices. Customers can pack their items in Priority Mail packaging available free at Post Offices. Or, they can order free Priority Mail packing supplies through and the Postal Service will deliver them — also free of charge.

Merchants can choose from several Return Services such as Priority Mail Returns, First-Class Package Returns, Ground Returns, Merchandise Returns, Bulk Parcel Returns, Business Reply Mail Parcels, Parcel Return and International Merchandise returns. Business customers will appreciate the convenience and value of USPS Returns by choosing from several innovative and streamlined services sure to give the company and its customers the most efficient returns possible. 

Customers also save money on all Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping products when using Click-N-Ship to print postage for returns. And when the package is ready for shipping, they can go to to schedule free package pickups from the home or office.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Coping with the Holiday Blues

For most people, the holiday season is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends.

But for some people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety.

You may know of a postal employee who is recovering from a lengthy illness, grieving a family member, or missing a military spouse. Or maybe an employee who has unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and too many commitments --- all stress factors that may escalate this time of year. Poorly-managed holiday stress can lead to headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia.

Setting realistic goals and expectations, reaching out to friends, sharing tasks with family members, finding inexpensive ways to enjoy your time, and helping others are all ways to help beat holiday stress.

Individuals who may need a little extra emotional support to get through the holidays are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Professional counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call 800-EAP-4-YOU (800-327-4968) or visit For deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals, TTY assistance is available at 877-492-7341.

District Manager Thanks Employees, Extends Holiday Greetings to All

Last holiday season, USPS outperformed its primary competitors, who, as reported by the news media, were delivering a backlog of holiday packages many days, and even weeks, after the holidays had passed.  In South Florida, NBC 6 praised USPS and its employees for delivering on time and suggested that postal competitors could take a lesson from us!  Nationwide, USPS gained a lot of positive attention --- especially from our large corporate customers --- for last year’s outstanding performance.

This year, I am proud to share that we have well surpassed the high standard we set last year. We’re experiencing a 20 percent increase in package volume. Our ability to deliver on the core promise of timely, affordable --- and now trackable --- delivery has attracted customers to our business during the holiday season.

As the Postmaster General has said in our holiday commercial: "Football has a season. Baseball has a season. And this is OUR season." I couldn't agree with him more.  We've had record levels of customers conducting business in our retail lobbies. Recent enhancements to Priority Mail, including free insurance, improved tracking, and date-specified delivery are popular with our customers. Nationwide millions of customers skipped the trip to the Post Office for the convenience of online shipping. They especially like our Click-N-Ship to print shipping labels, order free mailing boxes, purchase postage, and request free package pick up. 

Have you noticed more positive media coverage for the USPS this season? South Florida media representatives were invited to "behind-the-scenes" tours of mail processing operations at the Miami International Service Center and at the Miami Processing and Distribution Center. Several media outlets reported from our retail lobbies.  They also promoted our seven-day-a-week delivery --- some television stations followed our carriers delivering the holidays to their business and residential customers. Holiday operations are featured in this edition; I also encourage you to visit the South Florida Postal Blog at for additional coverage.

Yes, this is “our season.” This isn’t just the busiest time of the year --- it’s our best time of the year. Our customers count on us to deliver their holiday letters, cards, and gifts and cards as we have for the past 239 years.

Thank you for all that you're doing to bring the holidays to our customers. May the holiday spirit remain alive as we continue to work together into the New Year.  And may you and your family spend quality time together this season.

South Florida Retail Hours for Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve

South Florida Post Offices will be open Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24, and New Year’s Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 31. Most Post Offices will shorten retail lobby hours and close earlier than usual on these dates. Regular mail delivery will be unaffected by the change.

Revised hours will be posted at each South Florida Post Office.  Signage providing information on the nearest alternate access location where postal products and services can be obtained will be posted at locations closing early on these dates.  Customers can also find information on their Post Office’s operating hours by visiting  under “Find USPS Locations.”

Commercial customers are asked to check with their Business Mail Entry Units for specific information regarding holiday hours of operation.

Blue collection boxes in South Florida with final collection times before 12 p.m. will not be affected by these changes. However, collection boxes with final collection times scheduled after that may be collected early. Therefore, mail should be deposited into these mailboxes by 12 p.m. for early pickup on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Customers requiring postal services later on those days are encouraged to contact their local Post Office. Customers also may call 1.800.ASK.USPS for additional information.

South Florida Post Offices will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Only Priority Mail Express will be delivered on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

All Post Offices will be open and regular mail delivery will resume Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Royal Palm P&DC Employees Bring Home the Holidays for Customers

Royal Palm P&DC employees below represent all of the dedicated postal workers who are bringing the holidays to their customers.
Tour 3 Distribution Clerk Anthony Smith ensures all packages are processed in a timely manner in the Small Parcel & Bundle Sorter (SPBS) Operation.
Tour 3 Mail Handlers Suzette Ramrattan (left) and Griselda LaTorre (right) work in the Automated Package Processing System (APPS) Operation.
Tour 3 Mail Handler/Tow Motor Driver Rodney Carswell unloads sacks.
Tour 3 Mail Handler Robert Arroyo in the Manual Cells Operation.

Tour 3 Mail Handler Talyia Nelson in the Small Parcel and Bundle System (SPBS) Operation. 
Vanessa Spivey (left) and Natasha James (right) are Tour 3 Mail Handlers in the Small Parcel & Bundle System (SPBS) Operation.
Terry Tribble is a Tour 3 Mail Handler in the Scan Where You Band (SWYB) Operation.
Tour 3 Mail Handler Alexis J. Lowe processes Priority Mail in the Small Parcel & Bundle System (SPBS) Operation. Manager, Distribution Operations Sam Ezem is in the background. 
Photos: Debra J. Fetterly

Friday, December 19, 2014

If You're Still Shopping on Dec. 20 ... 'Yule' Need Priority Mail Shipping

If you’re shipping gifts this holiday, there are more reasons than ever to choose Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes from the U.S. Postal Service.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Pricing
Flat Rate boxes make shipping simple. For just one flat rate, if it fits it ships!

Priority Mail Option Domestic Price
  • Priority Mail: Small box $5.95
  • Priority Mail: Medium box $12.65
  • Priority Mail: Large box $17.90
  • Priority Mail Express $44.95
Enhanced Features
These features make Priority Mail shipping a great holiday value:
  • Free Insurance — Most packages now qualify for free insurance up to $50 — for the same Priority Mail rates.
  • Improved Tracking — Now it’s easy to see where your package is from pickup, confirmed final delivery and many points in between.
  • Expected Delivery — Based on where your domestic Priority Mail package is shipping from and headed to, you’ll know whether to expect 1-, 2-, or 3-day specified delivery.
Priority Mail Express
It’s still our fastest domestic product available with money-back guarantee and overnight delivery to most U.S. locations and up to $100 of insurance coverage included. For Priority Mail Express pricing, visit

Priority Mail International
Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International offer affordable and fast delivery to more than 180 countries. For International pricing, visit

Limited exceptions apply. Weight restriction for all products is 70 pounds.
Service commitment based on drop-off time.
Some restrictions apply.
Visit for more details.

Holiday help:
  • With Priority Mail you can send your gifts without leaving your home! Visit to order boxes, print a shipping label and schedule a Package Pickup. Want to deliver some extra cheer?
  • Pick up a festive holiday Priority Mail box exclusively from your local Post Office™. Supplies are limited, so be sure to visit soon.
  • With Priority Mail you can send your gifts without leaving your home!

'Here Comes the Friendly Mailman'

Jesus Ramos
Letter Carrier Jesus Ramos has been delivering mail in Miami Beach, FL, for 23 of his 29 years in the Postal Service.  He has delivered via Long Life Vehicle (LLV) and bicycle. Ramos, one of 11 Miami Beach carrier cyclists, prefers the bicycle as he’s not challenged to find vehicle parking along his route.

Today a Miami Herald photographer followed on foot as Ramos began his bike route, delivering to hotels and cafes along Ocean Drive, a major thoroughfare in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach.

Ramos loves his job, and his customers love him. Greetings of “Here comes the Friendly Mailman” are heard as he makes his rounds delivering holiday letters, cards, and packages from café to café and hotel to hotel in the 1200 block of Ocean Drive. In addition to picking up additional mail from relay boxes, this time of year, Ramos has to make a few trips to and from the Miami Beach Main Post Office at 1300 Washington Avenue to reload his canvas pouch with mail. Ramos told the Herald photographer that he welcomes the extra workload and also emphasized the importance of scanning.

“I am a postal ambassador who provides outstanding service to all of my customers,” said Ramos.
 Miami Beach Letter Carrier Jesus Ramos always remembers to scan.

Herald Photographer Walt Michot (left) follows Miami Beach Letter Carrier Jesus Ramos (right) on his delivery route.

Photos: Debra J. Fetterly

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Splurge Urge = Package Surge

USPS will deliver more mail this week than at any other time during the holiday season — and packages are a big part of the equation.
On Dec. 14, the next-to-last Sunday before Christmas, USPS delivered 4.6 million packages, almost three times the number delivered one year earlier. On Dec. 15, the Postal Service delivered 26.8 million packages — a record that could fall later this week. USPS expects to deliver between 450 million and 470 million packages during the holidays, up about 12 percent from a year ago. The busiest package delivery day is expected to be Thursday, Dec. 18.

Miami Carrier: Isuzu Reach 'Delivers'

The Isuzu Reach was built to put fuel economy, reduced emissions, convenience, practicality, productivity and reliability into a vehicle fleet. It's being piloted in Miami during the holiday season, and Doral Letter Carrier Milaina Cruz (Route 72074) says it delivers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'NOC, NOC' Who's There?

NOC employees monitor during the holiday season.

Making sure the mail moves smoothly is a big job — especially during the peak holiday season.
At the Network Operations Center (NOC), the Postal Service’s mission control-style hub in Washington, DC, employees work 24/7 tracking the mail.
The Postal Service expects to deliver 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages during the holidays — or roughly 5,270 mailpieces every second between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
To keep track of it all, the NOC employees rely on large monitors that show live maps of trailers and trucks carrying mail and packages. Air transportation is monitored too.
Most of the day-to-day work consists of gathering data for multiple daily telecoms with area and field offices to mitigate delays.
The employees also try to predict problems before they happen by keeping a close eye on the weather and how it could affect parts of the nation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miami P&DC Employees Tell Media 'This is OUR Season!'

Several television media outlets toured the Miami Processing and Distribution Center on Monday, December 15, the busiest mailing day of the year. Reporters and videographers were wide-eyed as they toured the dock, canceling, and automated operations. Media also said it clearly was evident that our employees were geared up for "their season." 
A/Senior Plant Manager Rufus Graham (right) made a good impression on NBC 6 Videographer Frank Pacheco (left) who was fascinated with his explanation of how the barcode sorts mail on the Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS). 
Mail Processor Elizabeth Santos displayed her holiday spirit with reindeer headgear. Santos happily represented all the employees who were geared up for "our season."
Miami Postmaster Enrique Suarez (left) and WLTV Univision 23 Videographer Alexander Correa pose for the still camera after an interview in the retail lobby of the Miami General Mail Facility (GMF) Finance Unit. Correa was impressed with Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping --- the affordable pricing and the free boxes!

Photos: Debra J. Fetterly

Blogging Your Holiday Memories

The Postal Posts corporate blog invites employees to submit stories on one of these topics: 
What’s your favorite part of being a Postal Service employee during the holidays, or your most memorable holiday experience as an employee? 
How can customers become their letter carrier’s favorite home during the cold, busy winter months?
What winter-weather preparedness tips can you share with customers?
Each off-the-clock submission should be between 300-500 words. Stories are due Friday, Dec. 19. A signed release must be completed and included with each submission. Employees can download the release form on LiteBlue. Visit the monthly employee blog post submissions page for additional guidelines.