In the wake of a far-less-than-super Saturday in stores, postal employees are feeling the increasing crush of the Christmas delivery season.
The prevailing theme of behavior during the coronavirus pandemic – Americans turning to online shopping in record numbers – is among the chief reasons for the backlog at post offices around the nation.
Mix in the COVID-19 restrictions, job cuts and workers exercising their rights under relaxed pandemic leave policies, and it seems many packages have no shot at making it home for Christmas.
The Saturday before Christmas, usually a massive in-person, elbow-to-elbow gathering of customers, saw decreases of up to 40% as the virus continued to wreak havoc, according to shopper data.
“Super Saturday weekend was perceived to be the beginning of a return to brick-and-mortar due to concerns over online shipping cutoffs,” Brian Field, senior director of Sensormatic’s global retail consulting practice, said in a Wall Street Journal story. “However, many consumers elected to stay home.”
Sensormatic still expects brick-and-mortar stores to be busy Wednesday through Friday.
Among the hard-hit areas is Philadelphia, where, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer story, packages continue to pile up inside processing facilities.
“Don’t be using the post office right now, because we can’t deliver the mail,” Laurence Love, an assistant clerk at the Philadelphia Processing and Delivery Center, told the newspaper.
Facilities across the region are so full of packages, there is barely enough room to walk, employees in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and South Jersey said.
On top of that, similarly beleaguered carriers such as UPS and FedEx cut off delivery service for some retailers, which has directed even more packages through an already-overwhelmed U.S. Postal Service.