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Some Columbus Postal Branches Close For An Hour At Mid-day

Customers at one Columbus post office are finding themselves out of luck at lunch time. The postal service says low mail volume and declining client le have forced it to close the Clintonville Post Office between 12 noon and 1 p.m. Two other postal branches are now closing for an hour in the middle of the day. And there are more closings on the way.

Customers who stopped at the Clintonville post office during the noon hour Wednesday first tried the door, which was locked. Then they peered through the window into the darkened lobby.

"Is it closed for lunch?" asked Judy Neff.

Neff had maneuvered through orange barrels on High Street only to find the post office closed. She called it "disconcerting."

Jennifer Harrison was a bit more annoyed.

"I'm here mailing a package to my grandson for his ninth birthday and I would like to get this package in the mail, I'm going to have to go a long way out of my way to do it right now and so that makes me a little distressed," Harrison said. "Stamp rates keep going up. The post office needs to be open when they say they'll be open." The new hours, says a Columbus postal spokeswoman were posted thirty days in advance. Clintonville began closing from 12 to 1 in January. Hilltop began closing from 1:30 to 2:30 in February. And Linden began closing from 1 until 2 p.m. in March. The curtailed hours are in response to the decline in mail volume and a decline in customers during certain times of the day says postal spokeswoman Kathy Lucas.

"The Clintonville office for instance, it does a tremendous amount of business in the morning, it does almost no business between 12 and one o'clock - or very little," Lucas said. "And then after one o'clock it's busy the rest of the day until closing time and that's at 4:30."

Lucas says she anticipates more post office branches will close for an hour as the system goes through what she calls one of the biggest organizational transitions in postal service history. But to the dozen customers who tried to do conduct business in Clintonville, closing during their lunch hour isn't the way to go. Customer Casey Lunn:

"I would expect that I could come to the post office during normal business hours and it would be open," Lunn says. "I'm on my lunch hour and I need to mail something and now I'll have to go elsewhere and be quick about it because I have to get back to my work."

There was good news for some postal patrons. There's a postal service drop box right outside the door.