The holidays are stressful enough for small businesses and entrepreneurs. But if they can’t rely on their delivery services, not just to provide their customers with goods but also to receive supplies, the holidays are even more difficult. As Christmas rapidly approaches, small business owners and entrepreneurs in the Houston area and throughout the United States have been stymied by shipping delays from both the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Federal Express (FedEx).
USPS receives typical complaints
USPS gets a lot of blame this time of year. Packages are delayed, lost, mis-delivered – the list does go on. For small business owners and entrepreneurs in Houston, particularly in Galveston County, mail of all kinds has not made it to its destination when expected. This is frustrating for both the package and mail recipients and the shippers, who often have to deal with angry calls and emails. USPS isn’t immune from customer wrath; while it has disabled visitor posts on its Facebook page, it still receives a good amount of irate comments underneath official USPS posts.
But USPS is trying – even if it seems like the organization isn’t. In an email, McKinney Boyd, Communications Program Specialist said, “We apologize to any customers who have experienced mail service issues and remind customers to contact their local Post Office if they have concerns or questions. We have hired additional staff at post offices in the Galveston County area for this holiday season. Postmasters in Galveston County are currently establishing additional parcel deliveries in the early mornings and evenings, to ensure holiday packages are received.”
Some of its Facebook comments reflect this effort in other parts of the country, as customers do understand that delays are not always the fault of USPS. “I do a lot of online shopping and find that the final delivery by post office is 100% efficient. Sometimes they are not the original shipper. Sometimes it is Amazon (for delivery on Sunday), by UPS, or even by regular Federal Express,” wrote Paula Emerson.
FedEx reaches new levels of disservice
Meanwhile, FedEx has seen its Facebook fill up with angry comments from irate customers. FedEx has a policy of banning customers who post too many remarks expressing frustration, with or without foul language, so the number of angry customers could actually be higher. The most poignant comment came from a woman whose veterinary medicine vendor had shipped via FedEx. The delivery truck arrived late at night, after 11 p.m., when she went to bed. She was not able to give her pet the medicine that was supposed to be delivered. Her pet passed away. To date, FedEx has not responded to her. For the veterinary medicine vendor, this has to be embarrassing and heartwrenching.
Customers are begging businesses to use another carrier. “If you run a business and ship to residences, I ask you please DO NOT USE FEDEX. They are always mixing up deliveries!” wrote Rick Horvath.
Make no mistake, small business owners and entrepreneurs are posting their frustration. “I want to personally thank you for [losing] an entire pallet of product I needed to complete a $20k order on time…Thank you for putting my stress level right at a 9/10 this morning. Who doesn’t like to start their day like that???,” Will Aerni wrote.
Others noticed that FedEx is removing Facebook posts, like Kenny Conyers. He also wrote that FedEx is sitting on packages and angering his customers. “This sorry company is going to put my business OUT OF BUSINESS. … FedEx Ground employees are SO sorely trained to understand a STOP SHIPMENT and RETURN TO SENDER means. This because you sit on shipments for days at a time in a depot and if the addressee calls you state ‘We don’t know where it is’ when you know … it is sitting in a container on the yard for a couple days because your company doesn’t properly prepare for the holiday season. So said customer gets PO’ed at us, demands a full refund because of FedEx’s sorry ‘service’,” he wrote.
Others have noted that FedEx delivery drivers aren’t actually making deliveries, costing their businesses money. Ryan DeGruy wrote, “I understand you all are busy (since you all had no heads up that it gets busy this time of the year), but how … does this happen 3 business days in a row. This is absolutely ridiculous! Some of us aren’t just waiting for Christmas presents or whatever to be delivered, but we are trying to run a small business that ultimately you are causing to lose lots of money since you all can’t get your act together.”
FedEx has not responded to these customers, nor did it respond to a request for comment on this article, which was submitted via its Media Requests form.