This year has been a wild year for everybody, but perhaps no organization has had as up-and-down of a time as the US Postal Service. 2020 brought changes in leadership to the organization, and not to mention a global pandemic in which Americans began relying on eCommerce more than ever before. Now, due to historic package volume and caps from other carriers on retail shipments, USPS is currently facing the worst backlog in its history. Millions of packages sit in sorting centers at the time of this article being published, and with only two days to go until Christmas 2020, many gifts simply won’t arrive in time for the holiday.
Millions of Gifts Will Arrive After Christmas, Closer to End of 2020
This holiday season, every major shipping carrier is straining its network to push as many packages through as possible. Still, none are feeling the weight as heavily as the Postal Service is. In early December, UPS and FedEx began placing caps on packages from retailers, knowing their networks were reaching the critical point of oversupply. As a result, USPS is receiving 6 million extra packages a day that the agency simply doesn’t have room for. The problem is, USPS can’t turn down shipments the same way UPS and FedEx can, since it’s still somewhat a government agency (though it receives no federal funding)—and now, USPS facilities across the country are completely gridlocked.
Shippers of all sizes have seen the effects of this gridlock over the past few weeks. Some packages go several days at a time without a tracking status update; some packages appear that USPS never scanned them in at all. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that shippers can do about these packages except to wait for them to show up, and the bottom line is this: millions of these gifts still in USPS facilities will arrive after Christmas, and closer to the end of 2020.
Have a Gift Arriving Late? Here’s What You Can Do
If you’re keeping an eye on a gift that seems to be delayed in a shipping carrier’s network, it’s important to remember that it isn’t the end of the world. All is not lost! In case you’d like to explore some other options, we’ve listed out a few different things you can try below.
Consider Alternate Delivery Methods
Believe it or not, there are other companies outside of the major carriers that are making deliveries happen for retailers during the 2020 Christmas season. Macy’s and Bloomingdales have partnered with food-delivery service DoorDash to deliver orders directly to shoppers. Other stores such as Sephora and Dick’s Sporting Goods have entered into similar arrangements with InstaCart. Retailers in your area are getting creative to make their shoppers happy, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the new trends instead of praying for a package to show up.
Pick It Up Yourself
If the gift you’ve got your eye on is in your area, you can always pick it up yourself. Even with the rising COVID-19 surge, many retailers are still open in the days leading up to Christmas. If you do go outside, just be sure to keep safety in the forefront of your mind. Wear a mask, keep more than 6 feet apart from others, and wash your hands!
Remember: every single retailer has also pivoted to curbside pickup due to the pandemic. Now, with packages tied up, it may be time to embrace that at your local mall or retail outlet.
Try Other Gift Options (Like a Gift Card)
If all else fails, there’s always an easy route you can take: spring for a gift card. Pretty much every major retailer allows you to purchase digital gift cards for their eCommerce storefronts…Amazon included, obviously. The best part? Digital gift cards make it to your recipient right away, as long as you provide an email address. Give the gift of options, and you’ll have looked like a smart gift-giver all along.