For the hardworking employees of FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT Express, etc., there is no such thing as a holiday vacation. While many US families take several days to weeks away from the office/school to build gingerbread houses, go skiing, and put up the Christmas tree, delivery men and women strap on their winter boots and head to the trucks.
There seems to be a sort of luxury to holiday gift shopping the 21st Century - we simply search what we're looking for, click 'purchase', and wait for the item to arrive at our doorstep in 5 to 7 business days. If we're really in a pinch, we can opt for "express shipping" which delivers your package THE VERY NEXT DAY for an extra fee. However, because of these conveniences and advancements in modern-day society, deliverymen are suffering during the holiday season. In 2017, UPS drivers had been asked "to work 70 hours over an eight-day period" just to keep up with the rapid influx of packages and letters. Shockingly, this increase in overtime could not cover the number of parcels needing to be delivered (even with the extra employees they hire during the holidays), so office workers were required to do some delivery.
UPS spokesman Steve Gaut said "several hundred" office employees have been assigned to various operations roles, from sorting packages to assisting drivers as seasonal helpers, over the last few weeks.
Accountants, marketing assistants, and custodial staff were left to use their personal vehicles to deliver packages, often being asked to "change clothes and go to a local site that day or the next day" for fear of being recognized. Additionally, to compensate for a large number of packages on daily routes, UPS drivers had no choice but to work during their break-times. This forced many employees to drive hungry, exhausted, and in pain from a lack of bathroom breaks. Some employees even admitted to carrying empty water bottles in the trucks so that they could relieve themselves without having to venture off route and decrease productivity. One FedEx employee described his daily tasks as exhausting in quoting, "My body is completely destroyed. I am so afraid of getting injured and not being able to work."
Trust me, I know that online shopping is a gift sent from the gods - it's often cheaper, easier, and quicker than going to the mall. It also provides an abundance of job opportunities across America, employing 374,000 workers in just UPS alone. Thus, I am not encouraging you to cut back on your holiday purchases, but instead, show a little respect and kindness towards your local delivery person. They have families and presents and decorations to worry about, too. But most importantly, they're human. Whether your parcel arrives a day late, your delivery comes slightly damaged, or the item you had ordered wasn't what you expected it to be, do not take your frustration out on the drivers. Perhaps, spread some holiday cheer by keeping your rabid dog inside when the truck pulls in front of your house (lol), greeting your deliveryman with a smile, or by offering some treats to get them through their day.