UPS, the guys in brown, are on everyone’s naughty list, it seems. UPS made news they didn’t want when millions of packages went undelivered for Christmas.
I was caught up in the fiasco. My daughter was receiving an iPad Mini for Christmas and I was getting it through a vendor who promised to ship it to me in time for Christmas. They shipped it UPS on December 17th, with an anticipated delivery date of December 24th. But on Christmas Eve I found myself wrapping a note telling her of the gift that had yet to arrive, for reasons inexplicable to me at the time and disappointing to her on Christmas morning.
UPS apologized all over the place. They claimed their distribution network was overloaded and there just were not enough trucks and guys-in-brown to get it all delivered in time. In a statement, the company explained that “the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed.”
That wasn’t good enough for late shoppers.
“Thanks for totally screwing us AND lying about it all day,” Mo Husseini posted on Twitter. He was responding to a UPS tweet in which the company vowed “every effort to get packages to their destination.”
On the company’s Facebook page, Melissa Gilbreath wrote that she ordered her sons’ gifts on December 9, but the packages have sat in Fort Worth, Texas, since December 18. “I realize it is not about the gifts but that is part of Christmas,” she wrote.
But who is really at fault here? UPS — or the online retailers who promised Christmas delivery?
The 2013 season was set up for such a disaster. A late-Thanksgiving coupled with a slow economy meant that many folks were not paid — or shopping — until Friday, December 20th.
Walmart, Amazon, Target and other retailers marketed Christmas sales through-out the weekend promising delivery before Christmas, thinking there was time for UPS to get it done before the holiday on Wednesday. Under such conditions it never dawned on anyone that there was a ceiling to the amount of things that could be shipped and received.
This event came after Amazon famously made news by announcing they were exploring the use of drones in future deliveries of products ordered through Amazon. Think about that. You order a movie via Amazon and a little robot escapes the Amazon warehouse, takes flight and makes a bee-line for your house.
Amazon’s Santa-like capabilities would allow them to bypass shipping companies all together and use the delivery portion of their business model as a profit center.
Wow. Can you imagine what the skies are going to look like on the 23rd and 24th of December if this ever becomes a reality?
For the average Christmas shopper none of this makes much sense or much of a difference. Most still head out to the stores at the last minute and take their chances with what is left. That may perhaps never be a tradition that changes with some people.
But for those who thought they could take retailers at their word learned a valuable lesson this Christmas season. They sometimes don’t deliver — even when you really, really need it.
The shipping companies are not to blame. After all, there is only so much room on one of those brown trucks.
My daughter’s iPad arrived December 26th — when the shine was off the jingle bell.
She got it late with an apology from me. But I got nothing from the parties involved that made this happen.
I won’t forget it.