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Mark C.

Xmas shipping -what can go wrong

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I have a UPS story thats going on right now with some pots I shipped to Texas on December 6th.

I stop shipping in early December as UPS as is all other shippers just to hard on stuff in last weeks before x-mas.This has been my policy for years. I have a pile of boxes that I will ship out on the 26th of Dec.  and its been growing since the 10th.. Meanwhile I shipped about 6-10 boxes out late Nov up until Dec 9th. One was to Texas and its a friends xmas gift of three chop stick bowls/w sticks to her sister. They where supposed to get there on Dec 14th. They never showed so I tracked it in my UPS account. It looks like it went all over Texas and is stuck in a small UPS facility now.The last scan was 5 days ago.I knew only a human at UPS could help. I put on the phone headset and dialed they up and was on hold for 35 minutes . This just another issue why xmas  shipping is to be avoided. Finally a human. after another 15 minutes-the outcome was the tracking number does not work for anyone but my UPS account-they could not find the number in their system or track it.I (while on phone) in my account  I had the package re-delivered ) if it ever gets scanned again. They said wait two more days and call back(ya right)I have wasr=ted enough time on these pots already-easier to ship a new batch on my nickle.

Now the other boxes I shipped out (6-10) are all fine and made it. This one is lost in a whole other country called Texas. 

My guess is I will ship more bowls out to her after x-mas unless this box is found and delivered  before then

I have said for years avoid the last minute rush of Christmas shipping and this is another reason why. 

My customers appreciate that I wait and send them after as they get there and in one piece.

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In October of 2017 I sent a pot to South Africa. It never got to the recipient and arrived back here this summer. I had thought mailing in October was safe.

Meanwhile my daughter has books and binders in storage in San Francisco and wanted them sent now to where she lives 1000 miles away. I said not at Christmas time!

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On an even better followup-this customer (also a friend) just told me that one of these chop stick bowls was going to Japan and one was going to France and one was staying in Texas.So in the end all was well with the shipment and some of the pots are moving across the pond. 

I just will again try to stick to my do not ship beyond the 1st week in December rule.

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Yeah that's wise, when I had my aquarium business I would have a big sale before Thanksgiving and after that would only ship to the west coast.  When shipping live animals, an inch long and 50 dollars each, it's just not worth it.  Id eat the entire cost as USPS doesn't insure live animals.  If people placed orders during December I'd let them know that they wouldn't ship til after New year's.  Most people were fine with that, they'd rather be sure they'll get their things.  All the temporary door runners are just so careless during the holidays, had to deal with a lot of broken glass which is also not covered by usps insurance.

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The handful of packages I shipped this year all arrived in one piece, and I think I only had one order get hung up in customs for a couple of days. I only ship mugs, or things of a similar size that can be safely packed in one of 2 sizes of boxes that I keep on hand. Everything is tightly packed in packing peanuts, 2" of cushioning on all sides, because your pack job is your only insurance if you're shipping across borders. If a package changes hands from Canada post to USPS, each one will blame the other for any damages and neither will pay out.  

Everyone I've dealt with so far has understood shipping cut off times for the holidays. 

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I feel the need to write something in defense of UPS during the holiday season. Those guys/gals are working at double speed, 24/7, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had a monster online sale this year, and had to ship out 25 boxes, small medium and large. They were picked up at 8pm on a Thursday night, and by Friday morning many of them were already out for delivery. Including one in Raleigh, NC, which is two states away. This was a regular Ground shipment, it didn’t fly, it was on the road all night. I had several boxes headed for the Boston area, and one to the Chicago area, and they were delivered on Saturday. Feats of logistics. I had boxes going as far as Arizona and California. They were all delivered at least 2.5 weeks ago, and I had no reports of lost or broken pots. 

I don’t want folks to get the impression that these are a bunch of lummoxes who don’t care. They are overworked during this season for sure, and sometimes they make mistakes. But my experience with them this year was successful, and exceeded my expectations.

And I second what Callie said, good packing is the best insurance. That’s up to you, not UPS. And I will note that even though I had a few dinner plates left after my Open Studio, I chose not to sell them online because flat things are the most likely to break, in my experience. Again, that’s a choice for me to make, not UPS’s responsibility. 

Edited by GEP

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Mea don't get me wrong I love UPS. I have the greatest driver. He even gave me his personal cell #. He's top notch. I just hang a flag out and he picks up.It could not be sweeter. Where I live in a rural environment UPS works best -Fedex has a huge turnover of drivers and UPOS has had the same drivers for long periods. I have had great relationships with all my drivers over the decades.I even gave one a sit on top kayak for his kids about a decade ago.

Its just during the xmas season with all the extra helpers that things get dicy.

I shipped out 3 large boxes on the 26th with zero issues.I seem to ship about 50-70 boxes most years with only this one issue. Thats a good record.

I have shipped many a dinnerware set with zero issues-shipped a 8 piece  dinner set to New Jersey in 2017 -flawless.

Packing well is the key .I have a large box  of pots on back porch as I type this going out today to a shop for resale

Edited by Mark C.

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I know you have praised UPS many times on this forum. Those of us who have shipped enough pots know that UPS is overall trustworthy and their customer service is excellent. And I know that mistakes happen sometimes, moreso around the holidays because they are handling much higher volumes then. Just wanted to add a positive story, so the thread wouldn’t be only bad stories. Wouldn’t want somebody who is new to shipping pots to think that UPS should be avoided. And I’m not sure it’s necessary to avoid shipping in December. I only do online sales in December, and it works for me. 

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We are opposites on the UPS  as I only avoid them in December.But I focus on Christmas local sales that month-either retail at my booth (two weeks) and supply 8-9 outlets that do a banner xmas season so I;'m constantly suppling them that month. I do ship with UPS all other months.My driver today kidded with me that he comes enough to have  a house key. I do ship a lot.I do have a dry mud room  entry where he drops stuff in and takes out . But its slow season now and it should taper off .

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