This year, Christmas fell on a Monday. That meant that retailers had one less shipping day to get their goods delivered to customers, and added pressure to already overwhelmed delivery services.
UPS had previously stated in early December that some package deliveries would be delayed because of the post-Thanksgiving eCommerce surge.
UPS was so strapped for workers that it had to call in accountants, marketers, and other office workers to help deliver packages at the last minute, even asking some to use their personal vehicles to drop off shipments, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To be fair, UPS has a ‘Ready Team’ program in place. The ‘Ready Teams’ are composed of volunteer office workers that step in a and help with the sorting of packages as needed. But the volume of eCommerce orders this holiday season far outstripped what UPS had even planned for.
UPS drivers, already overworked, had been asked to work 70 hours over eight days, instead of 60 hours over seven.
UPS had planned on bringing in additional 95,000 seasonal workers to deal with the crush, but the pool for help was tight: FedEx had planned on bringing in an additional 50,000 workers, while Amazon was planning on 120,000 seasonal workers.