INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Problems with packages in the mail are popping up across Indiana, and the Postal Service said it’s trying to keep up, but the volume of packages is larger than ever before.
News 8 has received dozens of reports of shipped orders only showing “in transit” when tracked. People told News 8 that not only is it impacting holiday gifts, but it’s also caused business owners to lose money.
Gregory Jones, president of the Indianapolis area Local 130 Postal Workers Union, said during the holiday season that post offices would see upwards of 500,000 pieces of mail on the busiest day. Now, that number is being reached and exceeded nearly every day.
“It actually looks like a big warehouse with little room to move,” Jones explained when describing what distribution centers and warehouses are dealing with.
Secretary-treasurer Donald Packwood agreed and said it’s not just the Postal Service having issues right now.
“UPS has got the extra, and FedEx has got the extra with the vaccinations coming out,” said Packwood.
Lillian Newman, owner of Fragrant Blossom Soaps and Candles in Sharpsville, feels their pain.
“Postal workers are also victims. I hear that they are skipping their lunches and working extra hours. Could we have planned ahead? We knew this was coming,” said Newman.
However, the delays have meant lost revenue for her business.
“She ordered a large amount of soaps. I think it was like 60 bars of soap for her store and when Pam wants an order, she gets an order,” Newman explained.
This time, Pam Osborne, who owns Juxtapose in Elkhart, didn’t get her order.
“She actually took it to the post office a day or two earlier than she had anticipated, having it, and then you know, I was expecting it,” said Osborne, who buys Newman’s soaps to sell in her store.
The two have done business together for years and have never had issues shipping items. The backup in packages caused Osborne to miss out on two weekends of business, and Newman had to make a backup order, which cost her money in materials.
The Postal Service sent News 8 this statement:
“In an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic record of mail and package volume this holiday season, the Postal Service encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards as soon as possible.
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.
While every year the Postal Service carefully plans for peak holiday season, a historic record of holiday volume compounded by a temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, and capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail are leading to temporary delays. These challenges are being felt by shippers across the board.
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.
The Postal Service leadership team, the unions and management associations are all working in close collaboration to address issues and concerns as they arise as we focus on delivering the Holidays for the nation.”
They also said they are working to hire more help, even now.