What’s Going On With The Mail?
Things To Know When Ordering Online
Throughout these past eleven months, Colorado and the rest of the country have seen a great many changes made to the everyday lives of everyone who lives here. The Covid-19 crisis has forced us to adapt to a new reality and find new ways to get by.
One of the ways a great many of us have done so is by turning to e-commerce to purchase their needs. Shopping online was no longer simply more convenient than going to a store- it became a measurably safer option. This caused the popularity of ordering everything under the sun from Internet vendors to soar, in turn leading businesses to move their operations to an online home. You’re on the website of one of those businesses right now!
However, this transition to a more digital way of life hasn’t come without its issues. We’ve received enough concerned calls and emails about delayed mail that I decided to investigate, then share my findings and opinions with you all in a blog.
Worth mentioning: though this guide was written for the Silver Owl CBD Company’s supporters, the contents of this article can be applied to every single website you’re buying anything from these days. The challenges we’re facing are far from isolated to our business or our industry. This is a national and global situation. We hope this entry will shed some light on the problems you’re encountering and encourage an outpouring of compassion for our venerable mail carriers!
Our issues with delayed shipments started in March as Covid-19 cases began to skyrocket across the United States. At this point we were primarily selling our products to vendors and distributors; we launched our online CBD store in April as a response to the crisis. By May we were seeing roughly 10% of our packages delayed; by August, that was closer to 30%; and by December, more than 50% of all mail we sent out through any provider was experiencing significant delays- though this was especially true of our USPS mail. In February 2021, practically all the mail we send out to our customers is arriving late. This includes every piece from the small packs containing one jar of CBD Crystals to the pallets of products going to some of our partners.
This was just as frustrating for us as it was for everyone else. As a small business that doesn’t have much in the way of backing from banks and investors, we knew that we could potentially sustain measurable damage to our ability to survive in the marketplace as a result of issues outside of our sphere of influence. So we decided to turn the floor over to our customers and supporters for their advice.
In December 2020 we posited the question through our Instagram: should we continue to support the postal service, or start relying primarily on far more expensive services with slightly better chances of delivering mail on time? Of nearly three hundred answers, 87% were in favor of sticking with the postal service. When our online shop’s popularity spiked we began to ship out far more packages under 1lb, which can be very affordably shipped through USPS but don’t receive any concessions on pricing from the private sector. To ship a ten ounce package in 3-5 days would cost at least $12 or more through the next cheapest provider, a rate which is unreasonable for so many of us affected by the socio economic fallout of the global crisis.
We’ve always been a company made for CBD users, by CBD users, and we followed the will of our community when we made our decision. However, that doesn’t change the matter at hand: most, if not all, of the packages we sent out are being delayed, often significantly, in their arrival.
The Issues With The Mail
Many of us, myself included, thought that the shipping delays, lost or damaged packages, and misdeliveries would start to subside when 2020’s holiday season ended. Unfortunately, I realize now that this was an unrealistic expectation. Granted, I was missing information in my understanding of the situation- information which was kindly shared with me by our local postmaster.
He put things into perspective for me: the pandemic hit USPS and every other mail carrier in more ways than I’d originally imagined. As you might expect, personal and family illness and vulnerability paired with social distancing and workforce limitations to wreak havoc on their abilities to meet the demands of their typical workload. At the same time, a record number of Americans turned to buying and selling their goods online, multiplying the mail carriers’ workload a few dozen times over.
This required employees at every level of the chain of command at USPS and, presumably, other carriers like FedEx and UPS to hit the roads with deliveries, station themselves in their sorting and shipping departments, and support their teams on the ground in the thickest of the turmoil. Important operators and managers that normally handled everything from logistics to customer service suddenly needed to leave their desks and roll their sleeves up for the good of the country. They weren’t just essential- they were heroes.
Without getting too political, there was one more set of woes faced by USPS. It’s well-documented that in 2020, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended the operations of highly effective sorting machines during the height of the pandemic. We won’t get too into this- you can find an abundance of information about the outcomes and motives with a quick Google search- but you can probably imagine how this decision would detriment the postal service’s ability to rise to the challenges faced by our world.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, USPS and the other carriers out there are already working on solutions to their struggles to meet the increased flow of mail. According to our local postmaster, the postal service is currently working out the kinks in a new type of sorting machine that promises to provide a much faster means of getting our packages where they need to go. They’re also developing new staffing policies, which will only continue to increase their efficiency as staffing levels return to normal with the drop in Covid-19 cases.
If your package has not arrived on time- whether you suspect it’s been lost, delayed or even stolen from your doorstep or mailbox- you can trigger USPS’s search for your mail by filing requests and claims starting here. You’ll need your tracking number, which should have been emailed automatically to you upon the completion of your package’s assembly. If you have not received this automatic email, please contact us with your order number at email@example.com.
Additionally, there are a ton of ways we can all help push Covid-19 back and bring about a return to (slightly) less chaotic times. Please check out the CDC’s recommendations for ways you can do your part.
I want to be fully honest with you: the struggles we’ve faced to get packages out to their recipients on time as we work to build our employee-owned start-up business in the midst of a global crisis have frustrated me to no end. For a time there I was very upset with USPS. Such is the nature of ignorance: that which we don’t know often tests our patience more simply because of our lack of knowledge.
Now that I understand what the brave men and women at USPS, FedEx, UPS and the other carriers are going through- and what their families are going through with their loved ones on the front lines like that- I’ve become far more compassionate to their struggles and far more patient with their efforts. That’s one of the biggest reasons I’m writing an article about this: I don’t want any of you to get as worked up as I did over something that’s out of all of our hands. We can’t change what’s happened, but we can move forward together. We can change our minds and change our ways- sometimes all it takes is a little knowledge and understanding we didn’t have before, plus some support from your fellow Americans.
To that end, as the Director of the Silver Owl CBD Company I want you to know that my growing team and I are here for you. We’ll do everything we can to support you through these times and help our products get into the hands of the people they can benefit in as timely a manner as possible. We are not perfect, but we are dedicated. We can’t fix the problems we didn’t create, but we can sure as hell work harder everyday to get others through them. We learn, we grow, and we share everything we can with everyone we can reach.
Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll get each other through this first, then we’ll spread our wings together!