Black Friday is getting closer and closer, and as much as everyone loves a good deal, the influx in people shopping online, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is something to be mindful of. If you remember the beginning of the pandemic, when nearly everyone went on an online shopping bender in a flurry of panic, you'll also remember the serious shipping delays and health concerns for those working in fulfillment and delivery centers. Now that it's almost time for holiday shopping, the question on everyone's mind is: Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?
“There’s a lot of news being reported about potential and expected holiday shipping delays,” Jon Gold, the vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said in a recent blog post for the organization. “We know the changes in consumer shopping behavior this year will certainly challenge the supply chain, but this is why retailers are ... encouraging consumers to start their holiday shopping now to avoid the stress of potential shipping delay issues.”
After some packages took months to ship and mounds of complaints were launched at the start of the pandemic, both FedEx and UPS are taking steps to try to curb further delays moving into Black Friday and the holiday season. "We are preparing for what promises to be an unprecedented peak by ramping up resources, increasing capacity and collaborating with customers," a spokesperson for FedEx said in a statement sent to Elite Daily. Though FedEx didn't provide any additional details about its approach to Black Friday and holiday shipping, UPS has already hired 39,000 new employees earlier in 2020. The company says it will also hire 100,000 additional seasonal employees to help deal with the influx.
"Our multi-year investments in additional air and ground capacity and technology, decades of experience flexing our network, and dedicated employee-drivers combine to make UPS well-equipped to handle the challenges of the pandemic and the holiday peak season," reads a UPS press release shared with Elite Daily.
Even with major shipping companies confident in the new measures and resources they've implemented, and with online shopping being a much safer alternative to in-person Black Friday and holiday shopping, it's crucial to be extremely conscientious of those handling your orders — postal workers, delivery workers, and those working in fulfillment centers — so as not to put them at greater risk as cases spike around the U.S. "I would certainly only order much needed products to reduce the impact on the system," Dr. Elizabeth McGraw, Ph.D., director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, told Elite Daily in April 2020.
You can do your part to avoid overwhelming shipping and fulfillment centers in a few different ways, outside of limited your orders to only the necessities. For example, you could bundle your orders to be delivered at the same time or stick to ordering from a minimal amount of places. You can ensure you select contactless delivery options when available to help limit the risk for delivery personnel. You could organize curbside pickup, where available and within reason. You could even make a pact with your loved ones to skip gifts this year, or save them for later.
Considering the pandemic has taken an enormous toll on small business, it's also a good idea to shop local when you can. And when it comes to mailing out your holiday goodies, send your gifts sooner rather than later. This Black Friday and holiday season are going to see more people than ever shopping online, so above all else, practice good judgment, patience, and kindness toward those helping your orders get where they need to be.