Late packages are the norm during the high-demand holiday season, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for historic delays.
Nationwide and locally, complaints abound regarding late gifts, mail, paper subscriptions and even prescriptions.
“My biggest issue with the post office is the length of time it takes letters to get here,” Murphys resident Maureen Love-Allen Elliot told the Enterprise. “I had one recently, postmarked in Sacramento, that took 20 days to arrive in my Murphys PO Box, and that is not unusual.”
Mike Dittman, of Valley Springs, says that his medication deliveries through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have all been delayed this month, causing potentially dangerous circumstances.
“My prescriptions from the VA come through USPS, and this month they have all come two to seven days later than the estimated date,” Dittman said. “I was without my normal daily blood pressure medication for three days.”
Dittman and others have reported FedEx deliveries have been even less reliable.
“They have been horrible,” Dittman said. “Delivering packages to the top of the driveway and then marking ‘left at door.’ Then when I called to file a complaint I was told that for my convenience they only accept complaints from the shipper, not the receiver.”
Some locals have stated that Amazon is the only service not experiencing delays, while most other carriers are.
“All carriers are delaying packages,” Turlock business owner Beth Mendoza said. “As a shipper I’ve had so many packages delayed and have had so many issues with customers of mine who ordered 3 to 7 day shipping and didn’t get their packages for two weeks to over a month.”
Both the USPS and FedEx have issued public statements blaming the pandemic for the holiday delays.
“The U.S. Postal Service, along with the entire shipping sector, continues to face air and trucking capacity challenges caused by a historic volume of mail and other goods being shipped. This challenge has been compounded by temporary employee shortages in some of our 31,000 facilities due to COVID-19 spikes,” a USPS statement reads. “The Postal Service’s 644,000 employees continue to work diligently to address issues and remain focused on delivering the Holidays and beyond for the nation. Amid the historic volume, the Postal Service continues to flex its network, including making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver a historic volume of mail and packages this holiday season.”
Regional USPS spokesperson Meiko Patton declined to comment on how long it might take for delayed packages and mail to arrive locally, instead citing the USPS statement. All local inquiries from the Enterprise regarding the delays have been forwarded to the regional office in Sacramento.
“Our entire team is working around the clock this week to address the historic volume. And as an organization dedicated to public service, we accept all volume presented to us which is adding to our challenges,” the statement reads.
FedEx has also issued a statement: “The COVID-19 pandemic has created record-breaking shipment volumes. As more people shop online to avoid crowds in stores, those numbers have grown even more. This has created shipping volumes that are taxing logistics networks nationwide, which may cause delays.”