"Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night
Shall Stay These Couriers From The Swift Completion Of Their Appointed Rounds."
by Skip Cohen
It's going to be tough for today's Sunday Morning Reflections to not sound like a rant. But I'll do my best to at least be relevant. The topic is the USPS, and I wonder if the quote above, known as the Postman's Oath, is still valid.
Yesterday I went to the mailbox, and there was a holiday card from our good buddies Mark and Tony in Cleveland, mailed on December 23. The good news is in two parts - first, I got it. Second, it was the stimulus for a call to them to wish them a happy new year and find out what they've been up to. However, 5 1/2 weeks travel time for a card from Cleveland to Florida?
I bought Sheila something for the holidays and ordered it online around December 1. From December 15 to January 12, the tracking information showed the expected 12/15 delivery date and simply said, arriving late. The company I ordered from was doing their best and about to issue a refund when it finally arrived.
One of the hats I wear is CMO for Platypod. I'm very proud of our fulfillment department because they haven't missed a day since the pandemic started. Also, orders in by early afternoon almost always ship the same day - but then the mystery begins. And 2-3 weeks after that correspondence from our customers starts, as people inquire about their orders.
So, here's my point, and it's one we all need to remember. I know the pandemic has turned shipping upside down. Tracking information is rarely right because it's not being updated regularly. And if you're outside the US, carriers are limited by the availability of flights. For example, in the early days of the pandemic, I was told there had been a 75% reduction in flights to Australia.
One side of me understands the challenges the USPS, FedEx, and other carriers have had to deal with. Let's face it - this wasn't a year that thousands of people were going to be waiting outside Walmart for the Midnight Madness sale on Black Friday! But the other side of me can't help but feel these carriers completely underestimated the pandemic's impact on consumer buying patterns this past season.
As I asked the postmaster at my local post office in mid-January, what was going on, he looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "I've got packages I'm still waiting for!" And if you Google USPS delays, you can take your pick from dozens of articles and videos talking about the backlog, which, based on my card from Cleveland yesterday, they're still dealing with.
And that brings me right to the bottom line. It's not the fault of your mail carrier, Fedex or UPS driver or the companies you've ordered from - Don't shoot the messenger!
Wishing everybody a Sunday loaded with plenty of on-time deliveries of memory-making moments. While the pandemic has created an excess of time, don't waste it on things that don't really matter. Let those people most important in your life know they're on your mind with a phone call, text, IM or email - just don't send a card.
Happy Sunday - or Monday if you're on the other side of the world!
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