UPS, FedEx Ruined Some Christmases

Companies apologize after getting swamped by online rush

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 26, 2013 7:28 AM CST | Updated Dec 26, 2013 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – When it comes to delivering gifts, UPS and FedEx were lousy excuses for Santa this year. Both carriers suffered widespread delays that left many customers leaving IOUs under the tree, NBC News reports. Both companies explained that they'd simply underestimated the flood of online shopping orders coming their way—online sales over Thanksgiving weekend spiked 14.5% this year, the New York Times reports—and had been hampered by bad weather. "We give our apologies to our customers," a FedEx customer support supervisor said, calling the delays "extraordinary."

  • The AP spoke with customers whose gifts didn't arrive in time for Christmas in 11 states, stretching from Georgia to California. "The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network," UPS said in a statement.
  • The last time that happened, in 2004, UPS pulled in workers and delivered some gifts on Christmas Day. This time, it let drivers stay home. "It wasn't a decision that we came to lightly," a spokesperson tells CNN. However, she said there was an "afternoon sort" on Christmas, so that the remaining packages can go out "bright and early" today.
  • Amazon and Walmart have both apologized, promising to refund shipping charges and give gift cards to affected customers. Amazon stressed, however, that its fulfillment centers had done their jobs on time.
  • Customers are irate. "UPS is the Grinch of Christmas," said one Twitter user. "Unless you have a time machine, you can't fix this." Another woman says she called customer service four times, but was disconnected. "The fact that my mom didn't get her pajamas isn't going to scar anyone for life," one woman said. "But when kids don't get their presents from Santa, it breaks my heart."
  • Ironically, Bloomberg Businessweek released an issue this week with a cover asking, "Can UPS Save Christmas?" and an admiring profile inside of Scott "Mr. Peak" Abell, whose entire job is coordinating the carrier's Christmas rush.

In this Dec. 16, 2013 file photo, package handler Chris Addison arranges packages before loading a delivery truck at a FedEx sorting facility in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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