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The Perfect Storm For A USPS Nightmare: Explosive Ecommerce Sales, Decreased Holiday Travel And More

A United States Postal Service (USPS) worker sorts through mail as snow falls in Denver, Colorado on September 8, 2020.
A United States Postal Service (USPS) worker sorts through mail as snow falls in Denver, Colorado on September 8, 2020.
ELI IMADALI/AFP via Getty Images

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Postal Service employees are reporting nationwide mail and package backlogs as they try to weather the peak holiday shipping season. This year has created the perfect storm for delays, according to a recent piece in the Washington Post. 

E-commerce sales have exploded over the last year as shoppers order their goods from home. Add that to the fact that many people are nixing holiday travel plans and instead opting to ship gifts to family or loved ones. Add that to the fact that, just like other industries, the postal service has experienced a surge in sick employees. All this and more is contributing to a backlog in postal mail and shipping. At this point, there’s no guarantee your shipments will arrive by Christmas. Some analysts now wonder whether the unprecedented challenges USPS is experiencing will remain well beyond the holidays. Today on AirTalk, we discuss what’s at stake. Do you have questions? Call 866-893-5722. 

USPS declined to be interviewed for this segment, but sent AirTalk this statement from Chief Retail and Delivery Officer Kristin Seaver: 

“We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays. We also thank our 644,000 employees who are working tirelessly throughout these unique conditions to ensure the delivery of holiday gifts and greetings. We continue to flex our network including making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver a historic volume of mail and packages this holiday season.”


Hannah Denham, business reporter for The Washington Post whose latest piece is “USPS ‘gridlocked’ as historic crush of holiday packages sparks delays;” she tweets @hannah_denham1