(Springfield, MO) -- Lines were long and tensions high as the U.S. Postal Service saw its busiest mailing day of the year.
The postal facility on W. Chestnut Expressway in Springfield wasn't immune to the chaos Monday, as people scrambled to get holiday gifts and cards in the mail in time for Christmas.
The USPS says it shipped out nearly three times its normal load today. Lines were backed up to the door at times.
"At first we were kind of shocked," said Katherine McPhail of Springfield.
Those who dared to enter were faced with a lengthy wait.
"I need two rows of stamps," said Ronald Dickens. "I had to wait about an hour to get them.
"This is the biggest day of the mail leaving the city," said Postmaster Bill Brayman amid the bustle.
The extreme volume left workers packaging and shipping nearly 700,000 letters and packages.
"It's a balancing act of trying to get the people in the right places at the right time, and trying to keep our customers happy as we can," added Brayman.
Some were prepared to deal with the lines.
"Today I'm visiting with my daughter," said Mary Sue Smith of Springfield. "Usually I'm just visiting in line."
"Just think about the people that I love," added Suzanne Bustos, also of Springfield.
Others used the down time to label their last-minute gifts.
"It doesn't bother me," added Smith. "I have lots of time."
If you have a package you want somewhere before Christmas, you still have tomorrow. After that, the postmaster says it gets a little dicey.
The USPS says Wednesday, December 21, is the last day for priority mail. Thursday is the last day for express mail.
More Deadlines Here: https://www.usps.com/holiday/welcome.htm
The postmaster reiterates some packing guidelines, such as never wrap the shipping box and make sure to always address the inside and outside of the package.