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Here's why the mail is taking so long and your packages might be late

Published on December 23, 2020 9:11 PM
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by Nisa Khan Detroit Free Press

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Robyn Sawyers was scanning a list of thousands of Christmas letters from U.S. Postal Service's yearly Operation Santa, where people can read letters sent from low-income children and fulfill their holiday wishes.

A 3-year-old girl from Kentucky's letter seeking Barbie dolls, the same kind as her daughter's, caught her eye. But when Sawyer went to ship the new dolls, even before the USPS' recommended deadline, she was told there was no way it would get to the girl before Christmas.

USPS is facing a historic volume of mail, which is swamping the postal service and other carriers as the pandemic drives people to shop online. According to the Washington Post, almost 19,000 of the agency's 644,000 workers are under quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus. The shipping of the COVID-19 vaccine also may be impacting the speed of holiday deliveries.

And while some private carriers are turning away packages, USPS wrote in a statement to the Detroit Free Press that it is accepting "all volume" presented to them, which adds to their challenge of delivering during the holidays.

"I know she'll get them eventually," Sawyer said, adding she was unsure why she had to pay a mail fee and two-day shipping. "But I feel really bad to think that she's going to be there and maybe not get anything when they had assured us several times that if we met by the 19th they would get there."

Items her husband ordered for their small lawn business earlier this month also have not arrived.

"It's just not going to happen for a lot of little kids that otherwise might not get anything else for Christmas," Sawyers said. "I don't know what's going on with the Postal Service, but it just seems pretty unprecedented as far as experiences I've had."

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