Where's My Happy New Year Sock Set Order? A December 2020 Nightmare ... Be Warned ... A Long and Whiny Rant
Posted on December 30 2020
Shipping small packages in December 2020 during a combined Christmas and Covid 19 season has been especially challenging. In addition to the increased shipping volume due to Covid 19 pandemic, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is reportedly short staffed due to employees having Covid 19 or in quarantine due to exposure to Covid 19. It has been reported that the US postal services volume is up 40% over the same time in 2019. On top of that, the northeastern US experienced a Category 4 winter storm mid December, right in the middle of peak Christmas shipping. Packages that normally arrived within 3 days of shipping from our studio in Texas took weeks, if they've arrived at all yet.
So what did we do here at Amanda Hope Yarn to address the issues with the USPS? As soon as the December holiday season began, we assessed shipping options and chose to switch most packages that were one pound or more (4 skeins) to UPS, as soon as we noticed longer shipping times. This was at an increased, but not unsurmountable cost to us. That meant that we could no longer use the free Priority Mail boxes provided by the US postal service, so additional packaging was purchased. Several times a week someone had to drive into town with the packages to drop them off at a UPS official (or unofficial, in the case of Staples) acceptance/pickup point because the UPS shipping center is over 30 miles away. (The US post office will pick up packages for free from our location as long as at least one is Priority Mail and the pickup is scheduled online the night before. ) The additional trip for shipping packages was time consuming, but worthwhile, because we wanted our customers to get the most timely delivery as possible.
Why wasn't my Happy New Year's sock set shipped UPS you may ask? UPS pricing is very expensive for shipping small lightweight items to residential addresses. In some cases, almost triple the cost of shipping the same lightweight item with the US postal service. So a sock set that might cost $3.20 - $4.00 to ship by US mail would cost $9 - $10 to ship by UPS. Sock sets were priced with free US shipping with the assumption that they would be shipped by the US postal service.
The US postal service recommended December 18 as the last day to ship US first class (the way sock sets are shipped) to arrive by Christmas. Since we planned the sock sets to arrive by December 31, we shipped on December 19, trying to avoid at least some of the holiday shipping rush. Unfortunately, as of today, 40% of the sock sets haven't been delivered yet by the USPS according to the tracking on the USPS website. All of them are in the northeastern part of the United States, with the exception of one order in Missouri.
Why can't you help me get my order by December 31?. Believe me, if there was anything we could do to get your sock set to you in time we would do it. Amanda Hope Yarn has access to exactly the same tracking information as the customer, nothing more. The first time a package stopped tracking in December 2019, Wendy waited in line at the post office to speak personally about a package that had not been delivered in just over 3 weeks and had stopped tracking. (There is no telephone help line you can call for missing packages.) The postal clerk said that he could not do anything, but most likely it would arrive, just late. He was correct. It arrived a week later. In our five years of business, the US post office has delivered every package that was shipped, albeit some later than expected. Despite this year being unprecedented, we are hoping that the streak stays intact.
We are receiving several emails every day from frustrated customers and we feel your pain. Please stay patient and remember how lucky we are that yarn isn't perishable, we all are under extreme stress, and knitting is supposed to be enjoyable! If your package is received late, you may return it for a refund. (Your refund will not be processed until it is received by us.)
If you would like to start and inquiry on your order with the US post office, the US postal service has an option to do so here . Your Happy New Year Sock Set was shipped in a black 10" x 13" mailer with the ironic printing on the back side "This is what you've been waiting for " . It was shipped with the return address Amanda Hope Yarn, 3028 FM 698, Nacogdoches, TX. 75964. Your tracking number is in the email you received when your order was shipped on 12/19. We are still assessing the time frame as to when we will start with inquiries with the US post office here on our end.
Update: We've made a few sample inquiries at the website mentioned above and the reply is courteous, but basically, that they're delivering the packages as fast as they can. And also, many Happy New Year Sock Sets were delivered yesterday and are out for delivery today (12/31). New York (both the City and Long Island), Maryland, and Ohio are still "frozen." Stay Tuned...Wendy