From exhaust pipes to vacuum cleaners, mail carriers have their hands full

Longtime mail carrier Annette Cromp says she's delivering as many parcels as she does during the Christmas rush. Canada Post says high volumes and new pandemic procedures mean customers should expect delays.

London mail carrier Annette Cromp says she's delivering three times the usual number of parcels

Annette Cromp has worked for Canada Post for nearly 17 years. (Submitted by Annette Cromp)

Annette Cromp walks down Regent Street in London, parcels and letters in her arms, and bluetooth headphones in her ears while she chats with London Morning's Rebecca Zandbergen over the phone.

Cromp, who has been with Canada Post for nearly 17 years, recently moved to this route in Old North about a year ago.

"I absolutely love it," she said.

But the job is busier these days. Cromp slides open the door to her mail truck and takes a look inside.

"As I look in the back of my truck, I currently have a Bissell vacuum sitting in here, a steam mop. Lots of stuff from Amazon. Anything goes at this point." 

In fact, Cromp said she's delivering three times the usual number of parcels these days.

"When I hear news reports say that we are at Christmas volumes, that is correct, if not worse," said Cromp.

"It's absolutely insane. I normally, on my specific route, at this time of the year, have about 16 parcels a day. I'm looking at 40 to 50 a day."

Annette Cromp snapped this photo of the back of her truck on May 13, 2020. (Submitted by Annette Cromp)

"We have delivered bumpers before. I delivered an exhaust pipe, two weeks ago, to a customer. I normally don't deliver bikes, but I've been delivering bicycles from Toys R Us to one of my customers, because no one can get out to get stuff."

Knock, Drop and Go

In a recent news release, Canada Post advised customers across the country to expect delays with their parcel deliveries.

"The heavy incoming parcel volumes, combined with the important safety measures we've implemented in our processing facilities, mean it is taking longer to process."

The company doesn't require signatures for parcels anymore. The new approach is called 'Knock, Drop and Go.'

"We basically ring the doorbell, knock on the door — which I prefer to knock on the door because then I'm not touching everything that everybody else has touched potentially," explained Cromp.

Ever wonder what it's like to deliver letters and parcels during the COVID-19 crisis? Canada Post mail carrier Annette Cromp joined London Morning from her route in north London. 7:35

Cromp, who is working overtime in an effort to keep up with demand, admitted some of her customers get frustrated when their parcels don't arrive on time.

"I've had customers kind of chase me down the street unfortunately to ask where their parcels are."

"It can be stressful listening to the negativity that we unfortunately hear.. We can only deliver the product that we're given," Cromp said.

"We just come to work everyday. We try to stay as positive as we can. We reassure our customers that we're doing the best that we can, and at this point that's all we can do. But it can be stressful and it can be tiring."

About the Author

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 15 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.