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Opinion
Brooke Sutherland

Give UPS a Pass for Christmas Package Pileups

The delivery company is doing what it can to meet unprecedented e-commerce demand even as it gears up to ship Covid-19 vaccines. You can wait on that gift.

If you needed another reminder to get your holiday shopping done early, this is it.

If you needed another reminder to get your holiday shopping done early, this is it.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Is the Christmas gift you ordered online delayed? Too bad; you’ll just have to live with it.

United Parcel Service Inc. told its drivers to stop picking up packages this week from certain retailers who had exceeded their volume agreements as the logistics company works to keep its network from being overwhelmed, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. A UPS spokesman told the Journal that the company will pick up surplus packages once more capacity becomes available. This may mean that orders of Nike Inc. shoes, L.L. Bean Inc. coats and Macy’s Inc. sweaters placed over the Black Friday period will show up a few days later than expected. In normal times, such pileups would be a catastrophe for logistics companies, which have faced immense pressure to keep up with retailers' increasingly aggressive promises on fast delivery. But there's nothing normal about 2020.