What Went Wrong at UPS This Christmas
Last-minute online sales were bigger than expected
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2013 3:29 PM CST
In this Jan. 30, 2012 photo, UPS Store employee Candy Mojica weighs packages before shipping them.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – Just how did UPS manage to leave many would-be gift recipients empty-handed on Christmas? The company says it's too soon to know for sure. The Wall Street Journal, however, notes that there was a lot more last-minute online shopping this year than last. Online sales the weekend before Christmas soared 37% higher than in 2012—and on Dec. 23, online orders were 63% higher than last year, researchers say. The spike came as retailers pushed online shopping; plenty also offered bigger discounts on the Saturday before Christmas than they had on Black Friday, says an analyst.

The rush prompted retailers to turn ground-shipping orders to air-shipping ones, and UPS suffered a backup in its air service. Though it deals with more retail e-commerce than FedEx, it doesn't have as many planes (FedEx says it had "no major service disruptions," but reports pointed to delays). With planes overloaded, dozens of UPS workers were left with nothing to do, the Journal reports. Many packages ended up still in the company's Louisville hub as of Christmas morning, while others arrived at warehouses too late for delivery trucks to take them to homes. "It's easy to blame UPS, but it's the retailers that are pushing these next-day shipping offers in the final hours of the shopping season," notes an expert.

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Showing 3 of 109 comments
D Martin
Dec 29, 2013 6:33 PM CST
How about you try making that a life lesson for that child, that not everything is going to go their way in life and bingo here's your first one. Better yet why not start a new tradition of opening a gift on the 2nd day of Christmas, instead of raising a selfish, spoiled brat like you're doing.
squiggysmom1
Dec 29, 2013 1:12 PM CST
Try telling a child who still believes in Santa that they have no gifts because "Santa had a problem." Teaching a child a life lesson is not the responsibility of UPS; and this would be a cruel way to do it if it was their responsibility. Blaming last minute shopping for the delays is ridiculous. They wanted all the extra business they could rake in, so they ignored what logistics was telling them in order to grub up a few more million dollars. After all, THEY don't have to tell a crying child why she didn't get the ONE thing she asked Santa for.
THZebra
Dec 29, 2013 12:18 PM CST
The retailers were only offering what UPS and Federal Express said they could do. In some cases that was 2 or 3 day or overnight delivery. When UPS and FedEx discovered they were backed to the hilt they should have informed the merchants they were not able to accept more orders in certain areas. They, then, could have informed on-line shoppers and stopped promising "delivery before Christmas". All in all this was an inconvenience for many, but in the grand scheme of things it was just that, an inconvenience. It is NOT a tragedy. Little Sally didn't get her doll on time. Well, Santa has troubles too and kids need to learn disappointment sometimes happens in life. It's NOT the end of the world folks. I did experience something I had never seen before. I made a purchase from Amazon that was sent UPS with a delivery promise by Dec 24th. When the package got to my city (Terre Haute, IN) the UPS tracking showed it was turned over to the Post Office. I thought REALLY? Sure enough, abut 2 PM on Christmas Eve a mail truck pulled up and delivered my purchase. I guess UPS knew they were in trouble and asked the Post Office to help. I never saw anything about this being done on the news but I have no complaints about UPS or the Post Office in my case.