The newest winter endurance activity in this recreation-minded town hasn’t involved skis or fat bikes. It has involved patience — more patience than some can muster — while waiting for service at the local post office.
Over the Christmas holidays and still stretching into this new year, Crested Buttians have had to endure standing in line for up to two hours to pick up or send parcels. For some, that meant Christmas presents never made it under the tree; they remained stacked in the back room of an overworked and understaffed post office or had been “returned to sender” as the holiday came and went.
While the entire U.S. Postal Service struggles to keep up with budget deficits, workforce shortages, a falling interest in snail mail and a huge increase in online shopping, this historic mining town has felt that nationwide pain like a giant, localized headache. It put a damper on the Christmas holiday.
The popularity of Amazon shopping, in particular, has contributed to the bottleneck. Scads of Amazon boxes are dumped at the post office for “last-mile delivery” under a contract agreement between Amazon and the Postal Service. In the case of Crested Butte, “last-mile delivery” actually means postal patron pickup.