The United States Postal Service has quickly become so unreliable that even the U.S. government now appears to be bypassing them.
As a result, some of the most important packages ever delivered WON’T be going through the post office.
And it’s not Christmas presents.
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The earliest doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna are being sent via UPS and FedEx… and not a single drop of that precious serum will be handled by USPS, at least for now.
The feds haven’t officially said why they’ve rejected the nation’s flagship carrier.
But one look at the reality of the situation on the ground shows the likely reason: They just can’t handle it.
“We’re really gridlocked all over the place,” an unnamed USPS transportation manager in Ohio told The Washington Post. “It’s bad. I’ve never seen it like this before.”
UPS and FedEx have had to handle the same surge in demand amid the pandemic while also juggling the massive logistical challenge of shipping out vaccines that require specific conditions and temperature controls.
But they have a few advantages over USPS: They’re both far more efficient overall… and both have the ability to turn down orders and refuse to ship to certain areas.
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USPS by law has to ship just about every piece of mail, to anywhere in the country (except, of course, for anything illegal or dangerous).
“[W]e don’t have the luxury of turning people down,” the USPS manager told the Post. “They’re sitting on so much mail right now that it’s almost one day at a time in these facilities.”
Indeed, visitors to the USPS website are greeted by a message splashed across a red banner warning of the “unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19.”
The agency is even dropping cards into mailboxes not with holiday greetings… but warnings of delays.
Helpless gift-givers have been venting their frustrations at the agency on social media, with many telling the same story.
A package shipped by a loved one or ordered online is shown as scanned and “accepted” into the USPS system.
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Then, the trail quickly runs cold.
The system shows no movement and no updates for days and in some cases weeks at a time.
The package I'm expecting hasn't moved from its origin in Indianapolis from December fifth to now, December seventeenth. When will it get to its SECOND stop? When will it arrive here? There isn't even an arrival estimate ever since the original four day estimate was missed!
— Ran Fast (@RanFast2) December 17, 2020
I’m just an online seller wondering why I have multiple packages stuck in transit & no scans for 2-3 weeks. You put out a schedule showing deadlines when to ship for Xmas delivery when the parcels are going nowhere right now.
— Moneca Neary (@Moneca_Neary) December 9, 2020
can you please scan my packages that have been sitting in one of your Philly-area warehouses for 3 weeks so my customers won't think i'm scamming them? thanks!
— Alexandra Jones (@arockjonestown) December 9, 2020
The problem isn’t just the surge in the mail for the holidays amid the pandemic, which has led to record demand for the delivery of everything from books to food to toilet paper all year long.
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It’s not limited to the workplace rules amid the pandemic, which have slowed things down for nearly every business and restricted operations with busy rooms full of employees in close contact
And it’s not just the notorious inefficiencies at the post office, which can cripple service at any given time. (This is, after all, an agency that just announced a $9 billion loss for the year despite a $2 billion increase in sales.)
It’s that they’ve been hit especially hard by the coronavirus itself.
The Government Executive website says about 7,000 workers are currently sick with the COVID-19 infection, and another 14,000 are in quarantine due to potential exposure to the virus.
“We continue to see high rates of absenteeism in hot spots around the country,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told employees last week, according to the website. “This has an impact on local and national service performance and it adds stress throughout the workforce.”
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But it hasn’t just stressed the workforce.
It’s stressed families trying to get their presents amid the pandemic – and more than a few have had to get creative in explaining to children why Christmas gifts didn’t arrive with Santa this year.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert.