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Suburban Grandmother Says Packages She Ships Overseas Are Taking A Month Just Get Out Of Chicago Area USPS Facilities

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) -- Some local postal problems are causing international frustrations.

CBS 2's Tim McNicholas spoke with a suburban grandmother who said her overseas shipments sometimes take more than a month just to leave Cook County.

Lenor Chemers used to visit her grandson and son in Beijing twice a year.

"With COVID, I'm not able to travel to be with them," Chemers said.

Even before COVID, she'd often send them gifts in the mail to stay connected - priority mail international. She said it used to take a week or two, but lately, they're not even leaving the US in that time.

"As a grandmother, I don't want to disappoint my kids - and this is very disappointing," Chemers said. "In fact, my son called, emailed last night and asked, 'What, what's with the package?'"

The most recent disappointment was a package Chemers sent May 18 - a first Holy Communion gift for her grandchild Avner.

The U.S. Postal Service typically scans the packages and updates the tracking at each stop. But the tracking info for the communion gift package lists no stops outside of Chicago - with the most recent update simply saying it is in transit to the next facility.

That was June 3.

"That's still sitting in Chicago," Chemers said. "The package is still sitting in Chicago because there is no scan beyond Chicago."

In the case of an earlier package she sent Dec. 1, each stop is listed from Naperville to Texas to Chinese Customs to Beijing. But even that package didn't leave Chicago until five weeks after she mailed it.

Beijing may be 6,000 miles from Naperville, but Chemers said the delays are happening right here.

"Once everything has gotten to China, it's been very quick," she said.

We've reported story after story of frustrated customers wondering why their mail wasn't moving.

USPS said they are still looking into Chemers' case, but in the past, they have repeatedly blamed delays on staffing challenges during the pandemic.

Postal expert Kevin Kosar of the American Enterprise Institute said Chicago is especially hard-hit by recent postal delays.

"There's a lot of mail sorting plants in that area," Kosar said. "So if anything goes wrong at any of those plants, it's going have ripple effects - first immediately in Chicago, and then the surrounding area."

When asked what message would be to the Postal Service, Chemers said, "Please get your act together."

As for Avner's First Holy Communion gift, the big day has already passed. But Chemers is still hoping the gift gets there someday.

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