Originally published on NBC CT
By Caitlin Burchill
It’s the busiest time for shipping during the gift giving season and Mother Nature is expected to cause some problems, thanks to a major nor'easter.
“We’ve been doing this 240 years and December, January, February it normally snows, so we’ve actually been preparing for this holiday season for months,” said USPS Strategic Communications Specialist Amy Gibbs.
With package deliveries during the pandemic sky high, the United States Postal Service has been urging people to send their presents early.
“We’ve enhanced our tracking, we’ve added transportation, we’ve extended retail hours, and we’ve certainly added more boots on the ground, so what’s a little snow?,” said Gibbs.
As the storm approaches, they’re asking us to help their carriers by clearing our walkways and mailboxes.
“Safety first. That’s the bottom line. We’re trying to get the holidays delivered on time, but not at the expense of our employees,” she said.
FedEx and UPS tell NBC Connecticut safety is their top priority too, as they monitor the storm and have contingency plans in place.
FedEx reminds customers to keep tabs on their delivery alerts too.
Local small business owners we spoke to are trying to get ahead of the storm.
They say this just adds to the craziness of 2020.
“Sometimes with shipping orders customers think that I’m holding their orders hostage, but I’m really not. It’s out of my hands. I wish I could ship it to Texas or drop it at your door step, but I live in a whole different state,” said Shian Earlington of Hartford, a 19-year-old who operates “Bling’d by Kaila” while she studies biochemistry at Capital Community College.
Earlington says she waited at the post office for 45 minutes at one point this week.
Both she and Davina Ismail of New Britain, members of Shop Black CT, will be working overtime Wednesday to get ahead of the incoming storm.
“In terms of the amount of shipping that we do, we have very few issues and we really do have great customers who are very understanding. Just COVID shipping in general and now we have COVID and holiday shipping issues,” said Ismail.
Ismail’s premium coffee and tea “Ini Sips,” a small family, veteran, and black owned biz, pivoted from a cozy community cafe to online sales at the start of the pandemic.
Despite the challenges, Earlington and Ismail are making the best of it.
They hope their customers do too.
Both planned to work overtime before the snow falls, as lines backed up at shipping centers to beat the incoming storm.
“it may get there after Christmas, but I think everybody just likes getting gifts. This year, with the way the year has been, even with delays I think people are going to be very happy,” she said.