Delays due to Covid 19
Due to the volume of customers contacting us concerning packages finally arriving or not yet delivered, we have set up this page to hopefully answer all questions. Also for those who have not yet ordered who may need this information.
We did not become aware of how bad the delays were until later in December and we have been updating this page and referencing this page on our shopping cart and other informational pages since then in an effort to be as transparent as possible.
Important - Priority mail ships first within our company and within USPS, (they have priority over ground/first class) when they are caught up ground/first class ships. USPS is still overwhelmed with priority mail so ground/first class is still weeks behind.
SHIPPING FEES: Sorry, shipping fees are not refundable when delays are due to commonplace shipping delays. Commonplace meaning it's not unique to a single package - it's widespread and not unique to us either. Right now it is still bad enough that USPS still has a banner on their website warning of the delays. UPS has even stopped guaranteeing (money back guarantee) overnight & 2nd day air deliveries due to covid-19 causing regional and local delays. Typically ONLY Express mail, overnight & 2nd day air packages have money back shipping time guarantees (part of why it's so expensive - you are also paying for transit time insurance). We do not offer those guaranteed services and USPS, UPS, Fedex stopped guaranteeing those services last year due to Covid-19 affects and have not yet returned to guaranteeing them.
See our shipping information page for details.
EXTREME DELAYS NOTICED AT THE BELOW DISTRIBUTION CENTERS: (Truck containers are backed up for 2 weeks or more just waiting to be processed. The tracking will not be updated until the package is processed - employees shortages due to multiple Covid-19 outbreaks over the last 4 weeks are the primary cause). The below distribution centers service a wide area - sorting packages to ship to smaller sorting facilities on the East Coast region.
BALTIMORE MD DISTRIBUTION CENTER
RICHMOND VA DISTRIBUTION CENTER
HARRISBURG PA DISTRIBUTION CENTER
We have received the most calls from customers in New Jersey, Eastern PA, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
We have updated our website due to what we know now. We understand there are a lot of very upset customers as we did not know at the time we shipped there were major delays taking place due to Covid-19. This affects hundreds of thousands of shipments from Arizona, whether Walmart or the small home business. It's not unique to our customers nor our region.
1/6/21 UPDATE - USPS in Arizona, along with many other states/regions, is still overwhelmed due to major Covid-19 outbreaks first inside their sorting facilities and then their doc workers. These have not been single short-term events, but repeated events causing employee shortages for weeks. Our local drivers are short once again due to another outbreak leading to multiple employees out stick. We are very sorry the combination of illnesses causing employee shortages and huge increases in the number of packages going thru shipping services as more people shop online has lead to these extreme delay.
UPS and FedEx stopped picking up from large retailers, USPS is not allowed to say no to them, as a result USPS is inundated to the point they are in gridlock in areas as Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania and California. Those are the areas where we are getting the most reports.
As USPS is still manually sorting in many areas, (machine workers out sick so office workers are manually sorting or more packages than sorting machines) many packages are not receiving scans while in transit. You may verify my statement by clicking on the below link. (LINK WILL OPEN IN A NEW TAB/WINDOW)
12/15/20 Article by the Washington Post
First, due to Covid-19 there has been a major increase in online purchases overwhelming all delivery services, such that even UPS & Fedex put limits on how many packages larger "big box" retailers may ship a day. That has never taken place like this in the past. All shipping services are already overwhelmed from so many people ordering online then add outbreaks of Covid-19 affecting sorting facilities then add at some time periods severe weather on the East Coast stopping cargo planes from moving back to other states. The results is gridlock which takes weeks to catch up.
Packages go thru multiple sorting locations in transit and in some cases, time periods, no locations on that route are affected, but a different route/time period may have multiple locations affected.
Your package may be at your local sorting facility on a truck container just waiting to be processed and that location may be days behind. Until it is processed it will not be scanned again for updates to be uploaded to the USPS website.
Scanner issues: There were also scan issues. Our local USPS location was not aware a scanner was malfunctioning until they started receiving complaints from companies like ours. We provide a barcode representing up to 200 packages and if the scanner does not process it correctly on that same day, it can not re-scanned on a future date. So it looks like the packages were never picked up when they were.
Lack of scans: Many packages are bypassing scans and are actually in route to your local facility. There are currently more packages than scanners/people to scan available and same with sorting machines. A significant quantity are being manually sorted so they can continue moving thru the USPS system. We have seen many with no scans delivered across the country the next day. Lack of a scan does not mean it's still in Arizona, it may reach your local post office even tomorrow.
Partial Shut Downs: In late November our local facility and the main Phoenix sorting facility started multiple periods of major employee shortages due to covid-19 outbreaks. Our local drivers are once again (as of 1/6/21) very short due to multiple employees out sick with covid-19 at this time. The Phoenix facility has partially shut down multiple times, sometimes inside workers and sometimes dock workers. Every state/region has been going thru the same issues and each time packages become more delayed. The amount of people ordering online is overwhelming, but then add employee shortages and partial facility shut downs - its a disaster. First class/ground packages are the most affected as they are processed last.
Acceptance scan: When the note online says "Acceptance" it means the Phoenix sorting/distribution facility (or Tucson) opened the container (full or partial semi-truck container load) sent to Phoenix from Prescott Valley, it does not mean that's when Prescott Valley sent it to Phoenix as they ship all packages received from businesses & customers to Phoenix the same day. Phoenix still has truckloads at their location not opened yet. The next scan is it having been processed thru their sorting/scanning machines. They have forwarded some to Tucson when Tucson is less backed up then Phoenix. (Note: You can verify that as Phoenix is 1 1/2 hours away, Tucson 4 hours away, the 1 to 1 1/2 hours difference between Acceptance at Prescott Valley & Phoenix is actually the the time it takes to unload a full truckload that's been sitting there and for the packages to be received into the facility).
Neighbor received package but I have not: Every day USPS/UPS etc fills cargo planes going to each sorting facility around the country. First on the airplane are express packages/priority mail etc. IF, and a big IF, there is room left, they fill the remainder with first class packages/ground mail packages. All other ground/first class are loaded onto trucks. So your neighbor may have been one of the lucky ones to go on the cargo plane while yours is being transported by ground transportation/truck. That can easily be 7 days or more difference in transit times depending on the path and if it goes thru multiple distribution centers, each by truck.
On the opposite end, when USPS has been the most overwhelmed and snow storms stopped the flow of aircrafts, while Expedited shipments are loaded onto cargo planes first, when there are more expedited packages than aircraft, some expedited packages must ship by truck. They are processed first at the next sorting facility. Unfortunately, that also means ground/first class packages are held up until trucks become available to transport them.
Snow Storms: Please remember, while snow storms may have been on the opposite side of the U.S., they still affect transit times. Airplanes & trucks can not return after dropping off packages. An Airplane stuck in the Northeast for a day can not return to Phoenix to pick up packages headed for California and trying to catch up to just one plane load behind is a lot, when it's hundreds of flights, it causes a backlog which takes days. During the holidays cargo planes & trucks are already operating at or beyond capacity and all cargo planes are being used, so there is not backup transportation.
UPS, FedEx & USPS all have issues in certain areas affected by outbreaks at their sorting facilities. USPS in Arizona, Georgia, Alabama. UPS in the Northeast and Dakotas. FedEx has more widespread delays than any USPS & UPS combined by reports we have received. It took us a week to get our next day shipping boxes from FedEx shipped from California to Arizona. Everyone is affected differently depending on their location.
We have been using USPS for over 15 years with occasional short-term issues due to weather related events, but absolutely nothing like this.
Please know we are doing our best to be as transparent as possible with update we have received. We have had family members bedridden and hospitalized locally due to Covid-19 in the past 2 week so we know how real it is. We, a family operated business, have been socially distancing from other family members for a month to make sure our company is not affected. Working here are my Mom, her 2 sisters and myself. It's difficult but needed.
We wish we could speed up transit times however, that is even out of the delivery service controls when an outbreak takes place.
We are very sorry our customers are experiencing these delays and we know saying all retailers in our area, in Arizona in general are affected by this and also receiving tons of calls and emails may not be what you want to hear, however, it is the case as it is that widespread.
We hope for a speedy recovery to those affected by the illness (in and outside of the delivery services) and more speedy transit times as a result.
Christmas in Prescott