Holiday Shopping: Delivered

Stressed about holiday shopping already? Well do not worry because there is still plenty of time to get your online shopping gifts here on time. 

     FedEx, UPS and USPS just released their deadlines for orders to ensure that you will receive them by the holidays.  

     Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shipping costs are more turbulent than at any other time since World War II.  

     The Global Container Index, which measures container shipping costs, rose from $1,422 when the pandemic began, to $4,089 about a year into the pandemic.  

     Ever since the pandemic hit in February 2020, shipping delays have affected all parts of the world due to different lockdowns and social distancing protocols. This made it extremely difficult for companies to communicate with ports to get their products to the customers. 

     Along with port delays because of lockdowns, lack of crew is another top reason for shipping setbacks.  

     Many crewmen have stopped working and are in ports seeking repatriation because many of them come from countries that cannot now be reached due to airport closures. Due to these airport closures, some crews have been stuck at sea. 

     The same reason has also caused the desirability of the job to dwindle. The idea of being in real danger stuck ill at sea is scary to not only outside perspectives, but for anyone working at the ports. 

     Lastly, the lack of empty containers has made it difficult for vendors to be able to ship their products.  

     At the beginning of 2020, Chinese container manufacturers drilled down on production. Mistakenly, they thought this would not cause much of a difference, however the increase in demand alongside the change in shipping patterns left most containers stranded at ports.  

     In result of these setbacks, shipping companies have created a timeline for customers to place their orders, so that nobody is left without gifts this holiday season.  

     Lily Jancuska ’23 states, “I think the timeline they provided is extremely helpful for last minute shoppers like me. I work well with deadlines because I can put them in my planner which ensures I get things done on time.”  

     Last year in 2020, over one million packages did not reach their destination by Christmas, leaving consumers frustrated and confused as to where their packages were, and when they were going to be delivered.  

     Senior Savannah Johnson explains how annoying missing packages are, “I ordered my sister some toys from Target at the beginning of December positive they would arrive well before Christmas. When Christmas came, and they still had not arrived, I contacted customer support. I was told they would be arriving and day now but did not receive my package until early January.” 

     Not only are shipping delays prominent and causing lost packages, but theft from the front porch is at an all-time high. 

     Ms. Smith recalls how last year a package from Vineyard Vines was stolen right off her front porch.  

     “I was so confused when my package did not show up for weeks. So, I contacted Vineyard Vines and they were super understanding and sent me another package of my order at no extra charge,” said Ms. Smith. 

     Luckily, companies like Amazon are beginning to take pictures of the packages being dropped off to verify that they were delivered. This has been helpful for customers to determine that their package was stolen rather than lost in the mail.  

     Despite all the setbacks caused by Covid-19, vendors and shipping companies are determined to get all packages to their homes this holiday season. For all those last-minute shoppers, cutoff dates for orders have been set, so do not let them pass you by! 

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