Making gifts spab. And gifts sent from far away in a package are usually particularly interesting and exciting. Because they are exotic or unusual, or even just from a loved one who lives far away.
For the letter carriers and parcel deliverers, the so-called "quiet" time is the most important time before christmas, however, one thing above all: stressful. "For us the stress starts already at the end of november. Then the number of packages increases", manfred pauli (55), who is not disturbed by the jumbled delivery men, all of whom are scurrying about with their parcels, letters and packages at the delivery center in the industriestrabe in kronach.
40 years of service
Pauli has been in the service of deutsche post for 40 years. He knows the hustle and bustle. Three delivery team leaders are superior to the other deliverers. He himself is one of them. "We start at six o'clock in the morning", explains pauli. Then first of all letters, cards, newspapers and other small things are sorted. 40 people work at the delivery base in kronach, sorting the mail so that it can be easily distributed. In the meantime, the delivery men each grab a liver sandwich. To strengthen. And on the side it goes on. Because every minute pays.
Around half past seven o'clock the big yellow lorries come along. They bring parcels en masse. The packages are pushed through the aisles with a forklift and rough carts. First into the entrance area of the delivery point, where number codes hang from the ceiling. These codes indicate the delivery areas. And then they are sorted more finely. Deliverers line up with their parcel trucks around a conveyor belt. Speed is the order of the day. "That's mine, that's mine", shouts one. And already he packs the package and takes it home.
The delivery people know each of the streets in their area. Sorting is almost automatic.
The mail order business increased
At half past eight, another car arrives from neumarkt. Sometimes, if it snows or if the traffic does not allow it, the second delivery is also later. And other parcels come to kronach from nohra and kitzingen – depending on where the sender is located. "Mail order business has increased enormously. There's a lot going on this year, says pauli and does not let himself be infected by the general hectic rush. Because it's busy every morning. That's normal.
And while the parcel deliverers load the packages into the coarse yellow trucks for distribution, wolfgang beyer (39) mingles with them. Beyer keeps an eye on people like markus baier-lipp. But the parcel expert doesn't let that throw him off his game. "I can do 16 districts", baier-lipp shows himself to be a multi-talent. And that means: he knows the roads, the routes and can be deployed in 16 districts. For the christmas season he is a blessing of course. Baier-lipp sorts out some huge packages. They are only loaded onto the trolley later because they are so bulky.
Special feature in france
Wolfgang beyer, looking at all this, confirms that everything is going according to plan. The thing with the bulky parcels is a peculiarity in france, he confirms. Beyer, on the other hand, is responsible for quality assurance and works directly at the postal branch office. He checks that everything goes smoothly. The delivery times have to be right. The packages must be handled with care and of course shipped to the recipient without damage. Sometimes beyer takes a look inside the trucks. The parcels are also neatly loaded and sorted into the boxes? He is not only responsible for kronach and the surrounding area, but also for lichtenfels, burgkunstadt, staffelstein, breitengubbach.
With the words "there is a prime package" the QA manager fishes an amazon package out of the flood of shipments. "Prime customers pay 29 euros per year and are guaranteed delivery on the next day. There is no minimum order value and the like", beyer explains the concept. It is a service for the orderers that amazon has worked out with the post office. For the delivery people, this means "ordered today, delivered tomorrow"-mentality naturally even more stressful. But there have to be constant changes. After just a few months, it's clear that the post office is on the right track. More than 97.5 percent of prime parcels actually reach the recipient the next day.
"Sometimes we even have rates that are above 98 percent. That's good", beyer finds. "Well, lately we even deliver the complete meal plan", it slips out manfred pauli. He alludes to a pilot project that the post office is currently testing in urban centers. The post office is trying it out with grocers, between 6 and 8 p.M. Or. Delivering food ordered in advance just in time between 8 p.M. And 10 p.M. "But this is surely only a concept for the big cities. Because you need at least 34 customers per hour", explains beyer, who is already curious to see whether the pilot project will catch on. Free home delivery is a practical matter for working people, at any rate. But that's all pie in the sky, back to the pre-christmas routine.
The rush lasts longer
This year, the christmas rush lasts a little longer than usual. The post office delivers even on sunday, 23. December, still packages out. And also on 24. December until 3 p.M. In the afternoon. Because finally also the last christmas packages are to be delivered still before the celebration.
In the meantime, stefan eber is driving through the area with his forklift truck, taking new packages out of the trucks again. It seems as if the sorting phase never stops. "People will send anything – even flowers", meanwhile, manfred pauli points to a package that has air holes in it and clearly contains a bunch of flowers. Some packages are wrapped for christmas. But these are few. The majority bears the inscriptions of the major shipping companies: amazon, zalando, buttinette.
The deliverers, however, do not even notice the large number of parcels. They have long since stopped worrying about what might be inside the parcels. They just pack their bags and try to get away from the delivery base as quickly as possible. "We have fixed time frames. The customers know at what time we arrive. You can't come in at half past eight one day and then at twelve the next," explains sunkel, explains pauli.
He remembers the route
The first to have his delivery vehicle ready that day is stefan sunkel, a so-called verstarker. "I take some of the workload off the colleagues", explains stefan sunkel. "I also have really few packages today, he says. He has loaded just 60 parcels into his car – they are distributed in kups. But how does the driver actually know where to stop?? "I remember the addresses. That's not hard at all. If there are less than 100 parcels, it's easy anyway, but if there are more, you have to concentrate", sunkel declares and starts dusting.
He also has letters and cards with him. The mail is ready to hand next to him on the passenger seat. Stefan sunkel is a delivery man with body and soul. Because most people are happy when the mail arrives. "Just yesterday I got a nice surprise", he says and tells about a woman who gave him a bag with homemade cookies and handicrafts. The gifts for the post office's nimble christmas elves tend to decrease, all deliverers agree. But there are still nice people who have a bottle of wine or some other small gift for the delivery people.
And not all deliverers are on the road with the car. In kronach, a number of delivery staff are on the move with yellow bicycles. But they have nothing to do with the parcels. They are only responsible for the normal post and the parcels are then driven out by special parcel cars in the city of kronach. By the way, postal workers also like to use the services of their colleagues in their private lives. "I ordered my wife an ipad. This must come with the mail in the next few days", QS manager wolfgang beyer is also still waiting for a very important christmas present and is already looking forward to his trusted delivery person ringing his doorbell.