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We shipped a package from Houston to Seattle. Here's how long it took

The postal service already has one hard deadline of Dec. 17. That's the day people must get a letter in the mail if they want it delivered by Christmas.

SEATTLE — The United States Postal Service (USPS) launched a permanent program ahead of the holiday shopping season that slows down some mail services. The goal is to save the USPS money and make up some losses.

KING 5 put the service changes to the test with help from our sister station KHOU and got two very different results.

On October 1, KING 5 sent a package to reporter Tiffany Craig at KHOU in Houston, Texas. Craig also sent a package to the KING 5 studios in Seattle.

The packages were sent on the same day the USPS started its new program, which slows down deliveries for an estimated 30% of its volume. That means packages traveling longer distances could take up to five days.

For our experiment, Craig got our package four days after it was shipped from Seattle. As for her shipment, it took 25 days to reach the KING 5 studios.

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Tracking records show the package was delivered to Seattle and then back to Houston. At one point, the package traveled to New York before making its way back to Seattle.

The tracking history said the package was returned to the sender because of an incorrect address. However, the package never actually made it back to Craig and the KING 5 address on the box was correct.

The USPS said what happened to Craig's shipment is rare and added when it comes to the fast-approaching holiday season, most consumers shouldn't notice a significant change in delivery times because of the new program.

Spokesperson Ernie Swanson said the USPS is working to hire more than 40,000 workers for the holidays. He said people shouldn't expect any holiday shipping slowdowns out of the ordinary.

The USPS already has one hard deadline, December 17, that people must get a letter in the mail if they want it delivered by Christmas, which means packages should be in the mail well before then.

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