Despite United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx drivers working 60 hour weeks, they were not able to deliver everyone’s Christmas gifts on time this year, and they got roundly blasted on social media sites.
UPS bore the brunt of the complaints. UPS issued statements that they were deluged by the massive volume of packages their customers wanted delivered this year in time for Christmas, and added that, in some cases, packages wouldn’t be delivered until after Christmas.
Customers like Barry Tesh, 52, of Jacksonville Florida, complained that though UPS employees made various excuses about why Christmas deliveries might be late, UPs still offered “next-day delivery” up until December 23. He stated that the offer of “guaranteed delivery was 80% of my decision to buy the gift.”
On Christmas Day, it was perhaps not surprising that FedEx and UPS didn’t respond to e-mails and phone calls requesting their comments on the problems they had delivering Christmas gifts by December 25.
Exactly how bad was the situation the overextended UPS and FexEx companies faced?
Veteran UPS driver Larry Ledet, 55, of Houston, said that UPS was so swamped with packages to be delivered, that they “ran out of trucks, they rented every U-Haul in the area, they brought in management from California.”
Every day, UPS delivers vast numbers of packages and documents — 16.3 million of them, on average, 2.3 million of which are delivered by air. Around the holidays, those numbers increase dramatically.
According to UPS spokeswoman Natalie Goodwin on Christmas Eve, she said that “a small percentage of shipments are delayed.”
This statement caused more anger from some people who didn’t receive their Christmas packages, than the actual delay, itself. As Mike Reynolds, 43, of Martinez, California, put it, for the UPS to say it was a “small percentage” to him “was insulting as a customer.”
He stated that his mother stayed at their home and “waited and waited and waited for packages to come in” but “it never happened.”
UPS could have asked their employees to work on Christmas, but chose not to, so that they could spend the holiday with their families and friends.
While some UPS customers are understanding, and think UPS made a good decision to let their employees have the day off to enjoy with their families, not receiving Christmas gifts on time ruined the Christmas plans of many families who relied on having what they ordered delivered in time for the holiday.
UPS workers have made every attempt to have the packages delivered for Christmas, and they have put in long hours to that end. Comments on Facebook have acknowledged their efforts to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas.
Rather than blaming the UPS deliverymen and women, people in social media have blamed the company. As Angela Lemond, 42, of Allen, Texas, put it, UPS “shouldn’t be promising something they can’t deliver.”
What has Amazon’s response been?
After UPS Inc. admitted the unprecedented volume of packages made it impossible for them to deliver everything by Christmas, Amazon responded by offering refunds on any shipping charges and also $20 gift cards.
Amazon said that their fulfillment centers, which take and process orders, processed their customers’ orders in time for them to be delivered. Amazon placed the blame on any delays in customers receiving their orders on UPS, and their messages to customers.
A service update at the UPS website said that the company “will resume normally scheduled service on December 26.”
UPS has a combined total of 101,000 delivery vehicles, including their brown trucks, tractor trailers, vans, and motorcycles. FedEx Corp. has a greater number of jet, but has only around 32,000 ground-based vehicles available to deliver mail.
In response to the expected holiday shipping demands, UPS hired 55,000 part-time employees, leased 23 additional planes, and basically created a second trucking fleet; but, even these efforts weren’t enough to meet the added seasonal demands.
Written by: Douglas Cobb