The reason holiday packages are arriving late

Can we commiserate about package delays? Of the Christmas gifts I mailed at the post office using Priority Mail, only one made in the promised time. The others took longer — one by more than a week. No doubt you and your friends and relatives are talking about the delays, too.

The U.S. Postal Service said it is doing the best it can, under trying circumstances.

It asks for patience, saying they are experiencing “unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19.”

The USPS knew this was coming and did warn customers to mail packages early. It said a historic record of holiday volume compounded by a temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, and capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail are leading to temporary delays. These challenges are being felt by shippers across the board, according to USPS.

The Postal Service said its leadership team, the unions and management associations are all working in close collaboration to address issues and concerns as they arise, so to focus on delivering the holidays for the nation.

The USPS is not only facing a historic crush of holiday packages because so many people are mailing gifts this year, since they can’t give them in person — but also because FedEx and UPS have routed some of their increased orders through the already overwhelmed postal service.

Once you drop off those boxed-up presents, about the only control you have is to track the package you took to the post office or to a UPS or FedEx facility.

There’s a tracking number on the receipt. You’ll have the option of getting text or email notifications, including notices of where your package is, its tracking history … and be informed when it finally does arrive. You may learn that your package is ‘stuck in transit.’ That’s one you’ll just have to wait out.

If you still haven’t sent your gifts, the Postal Service says mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.

Sandy Kozel

Sandy Kozel is an anchor at WTOP. She came to WTOP after a long career as an anchor/correspondent with the Associated Press. She also worked in local radio in the Cleveland area — and in Buffalo, where she was an award-winning anchor and reporter with WGR Radio and entertainment reporter at WGRZ-TV.

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