The Daily Gamecock


USC Mail Center struggles with influx of ordered books

Long lines of impatient students have occupied the Student Mail Center this month, anxiously awaiting personal mail and packages from online bookstores.

The post office — located in the Russell House basement — has received 7,125 packages from UPS this January and has expanded its hours for package pickup this week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. due to increased demand.

Post office employees are currently working 12- to 14-hour shifts, including weekends, to accommodate the high volume of mail intake.  The office should be back on schedule this week, according to Barry Meyers, the director of USC’s postal service.

“To say we’re busy is an understatement,” said Meyers. “A lot of students are frustrated, and there’s always some anxiety that goes with getting your mail, but we’re really trying to reduce it.

First-year public relations student Jessica Rowe had difficulty receiving her textbooks for upcoming classes.

“My packages were delivered Saturday to North Carolina,” Rowe said. “I had to go to the book people to find out where they were; the post office didn’t even help me.”

According to Meyers, January is the center’s “Black Friday,” the supposed busiest shopping day of the year, and the closings have not made the situation easier.

“There’s usually more mail coming in the spring term, and there’s been a huge increase in online book rentals,” said Meyers. “We’ve had to play catch-up for a couple of days.”

The Mail Center has also opened up employment to students to alleviate the influx of packages coming in each day.

“They’re some of our best employees,” Meyers said. “The mail room is kind of like basketball — it’s so busy.”

Second-year student Patricia Dowbiggin said she did not receive her books by the first day of class but did not mind the wait.

“I waited for about 30 minutes in line to get my books, but the mail people were really friendly,” Dowbiggin said. “I know things are slow right now.”