Holiday Shipping TipsDory Otto
It’s crunch time when it comes to holiday shopping. While stores like Kohl’s will be open around the clock for the days before Christmas, many of us will be shopping online or shipping gifts. This process can be convenient, but it can also be costly. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help keep budget and anxiety under control.
The United States Postal Service expects to deliver up to 470 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve this year, and that would be 50 million more than last holiday season. FedEx and UPS also have forecasted record delivery volume. Incredible numbers.
With those incredible numbers, it is no surprise also comes a fair number of complaints. According to Consumer Reports’ shipping survey cost is the most common complaint. They did a little research to compare FedEx, UPS and USPS shipping rates. They mailed the same size package from and to the same location using the three shippers for ground, two-day, and overnight deliveries. In all cases the USPS was the least expensive.
One of the other common complaints was packages that went missing. It is sad, but not surprising that with countless packages delivered to doorsteps this time of year that there are thieves who see opportunity. The survey revealed that 4 out of 10 people had the Grinch-like experience of having a package stolen from their doorstep. There are a few suggestions to avoid the inconvenience and disgust of this experience. If you can, have your packages delivered where someone will be present when it arrives. If this isn’t an option consider adding insurance. FedEx, UPS, and USPS Priority Mail Express cover up to $100 automatically. If your package is worth more additional insurance is available with all companies.
A third complaint was breakage. Imagine that number of packages traveling about the country and it isn’t hard to believe that packages could be bumped and bruised along the way. Take the time to pack with care. Because weight is a determining factor in cost use bubble wrap and packing peanuts to protect breakables without adding to the cost.
Here is an interesting and useful table that includes shipping deadlines, costs, and shopping stats: http://colderice.com/your-ultimate-check-list-for-holiday-shopping-and-shipping/ It can be a handy reference in the days ahead. According to this, gift cards were the most popular gift purchased last year. Personally, I love to receive gift cards and buying them is certainly convenient too.
Happy shopping and shipping. Try to smile at the fellow shippers in line at the post office – it goes a long way in making the season bright!