ANGRY customers trying to collect parcels say they were turned away from Stafford's postal depot as huge queues caused chaos.
Residents said they stood waiting for almost an hour on Saturday as staff at the Royal Mail depot in Newport Road struggled to cope with demand.
It is thought Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day on December 2, may have caused a huge surge in mail and contributed to the delays.
One resident Ron Plant, who lives in the town, said he spent 40 minutes waiting outside as the queue stretched out of the building.
He said: "Clearly this was Cyber Monday catching the Royal Mail totally ill-equipped or prepared for the more than expected high volume of parcels, with no contingency plans in place, to hit the RM delivery system. Will we get a repeat over the next weekends before Christmas?
"There were upset families, with crying children in the back of their cars.
"My heart goes out to all the Royal Mail employees at this most busy time of the year. I do so hope that delivery systems and methods available to the Royal Mail will be on a level playing field with their rival companies by this time next year."
Royal Mail spokesperson Val Bodden said: "We apologise to customers if they experienced difficulties in collecting their items from Stafford delivery office on Saturday. If we identify any issues, we do all we can to resolve them as quickly as possible."
She said Christmas was the busiest time of the year for Royal Mail and 21,000 temporary workers had been recruited to help.
Royal Mail would leave items with a neighbour if no-one was at home during the day and opening hours were being extended at around 1,400 delivery offices to make it more convenient for people to collect items. She said the busiest offices were open 6.30am-7.30pm on weekdays and 6.30am-5.30pm on Saturdays.
Customers have the option of collecting their item from either their local delivery office or from Post Office branches.