It has been widely reported that many people did not get their Christmas presents delivered on time by UPS and FedEx. How did this happen?
"The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast," a UPS spokeswoman said.
Before all of my Teamster brothers and sister come down on me, let me say that I do not blame any of the drivers or people who process the packages, I am blaming the company for making promises they could not keep.
Both UPS and FedEx are world renowned for their overnight package delivery. They revolutionized the overnight package delivery with a huge fleet of airplanes and midnight processing in central US locations. However this did not help them avoid all of these late deliveries.
The blame does not fall solely on UPS or FedEx, much of the blame falls on online retailers who promised delivery by Christmas.
"During the last shopping weekend before Christmas, Web sales jumped 37% from the year before, according to IBM Digital Analytics."
Online retailers pushed the limits of what UPS and FedEx could do on a normal day and quickly overwhelmed them during the Christmas rush.
"Although weather, Web glitches and late deliveries from manufacturers played a part in late deliveries, the sheer unanticipated volume of holiday buying this year may have been the biggest problem, retail analysts said."
All of these things created a perfect storm that nobody could recover from. That is except for the US Postal Service.
"The government-run competitor was swamped with parcels just like UPS and FedEx were, with holiday package volume 19 percent higher than the same period late year. But there were no widespread complaints about tardy deliveries by USPS." (BusinessWeek)
The USPS service handled all of the same extra packages as UPS and FedEx and they did it without being late. In fact the USPS delivered over 75,000 packages on Christmas day!
The postal service did it all in spite of reductions in personnel and cuts to funding. The trumped up claim that the USPS is going bankrupt is just a ploy by lobbyists and government officials like Rep Darrell Issa, to turn the US Postal Service into UPS.
Without the pre-funding obligation the USPS would have made over $600 million dollars last year alone. While FedEx and UPS did make higher profits, the USPS is not issuing refunds to thousands of costumers for late deliveries.
One of the key money saving ideas that Congress and the Postmaster General tossed out is to end Saturday delivery. The irony is that during this holiday season the USPS actually delivered seven days a week throughout December.
When it comes to getting your package there when they say it will get there, I will trust the 238-year-old postal service.
Matt Murray is editor of NH Labor News, where this article originally appeared.
Photo: via NH Labor News