Did you know that many of the companies out there, including the big ones that you do business with are turning to alternative shipping solutions to save money on shipping? Yes, and that might turn out to be a very bad thing for you, the consumer, especially at this time of year as holiday shopping hits its frenzied peak.
You probably are aware that United Parcel Service or UPS takes about 7 days to get a package from coast to coast. Of course, with what they call "delivery exceptions" it can take longer. But for small packages, retailers are now using a service called UPS Mail Innovations or UPS MI in which the original package is shipped through UPS and moved about the country, then at some point is handed over to the US Postal Service for the final legs of delivery. The catch? Ten days or more between NY and CA on one delivery. 13 days on a shipment from Chicago weighing about 6 ounces where the seller, Dyson Vacuums charged $6.95 and could have Priority Mailed it for less than $5.00 and still made two dollars on packaging in the envelope. Imagine 13 days without a vacuum if you didn't have a spare. And they never said it would be going by UPS Mail Inovations, just UPS!
Problem here is that the shipper electronically manifests the shipping company who may not pick up for a day and it doesn't get shipped for a day. Then even as it moves from terminal to terminal, it changes hands several times more. Then the shipping company manifests the post office before giving them the package and finally hands it over. Then the package is on its way again with several stops in the interim before being delivered.
Think FedEx is any better? Think again! We loved FedEx Ground for heavier shipments as they were always faster than UPS with 5 day coast to coast times and for home delivery, they delivered on Saturday. But wait, FedEx came up with FedEx Smart Post where it now takes 10 days in some cases to get an article from outside of Phoenix, Arizona to San Diego, less than 400 miles away. Same type of deal as with the UPS mail , it moves through the FedEx Ground system and then gets handed off to the Postal Service down the line. But one wrong move and then nobody has any idea what happened to your package. Mine disappeared in Phoenix for days and neither the shipper nor FedEx could tell me anything about where it was except it was still there somewhere. Big freaking help!
There are others too, but those are the big two. My daughter became frustrated with one called Streamlite Delivery where they promise 5 business day delivery, but not to her door!
Amazon.com has taken to similar shipping on its free shipping deals with economy shipping. Yet, for some reason, Amazon does it right. Whether the shipper is afraid to lose Amazon as a client, thus moves their mail post-haste or whatever, the items actually have been delivered quickly. But, then again, maybe that's just an anomaly as this is the beginning of the holiday season, and the items are starting to move at the start. We'll see as the season progresses.
The caveat here is to ask before you choose the free or reduced shipping, or any other shipping this holiday season. Even at QVC.com and on the air purchases, you have a choice. If you click "best way" they will ship UPS or US mail at their prerogative, but you usually have the choice on smaller items to click down to have them use US Mail at the same price and it will arrive faster with less chance of damage.
The problem is so many shippers won't tell you who they actually use. They say your order will ship UPS but it will ship UPS Mail Innovations for one hellishly long ride. Or, their ads will say they use FedEx so you think you're getting FedEx. Well, you are, sort of. But it's a bastardization of the mail and FedEx Ground that may leave you scrambling for a last minute replacement present when the one you bought doesn't show up. Try telling your wife/fiancee/significant other it was UPS or FedEx fault on Christmas!
Finally kudos are in order to the Busted Knuckle Garage because after a package went awry from them, I called Warren, the owner, and he now posts on his web site that they do ship FedEx Smart Post for Free Ground Shipping on orders over $99, and it may delay your receipt of shipments. If you would like another way to ship, please inquire when ordering. A real stand up company who does right by their clients through informing them of choices. That's all the consumer asks...let us know what to expect and when to expect it. Busted Knuckle Garage...a 5 Star Company. I don't usually do plugs for anyone but these are really stand up folks: http://www.bustedknucklegarage.com/