MODESTO — Its a Christmas tradition for Modesto resident Judi Berlinski to buy matching gifts for friends and family.
One year, it was a cookbook with matching aprons. This year, it was a dozen pajamas with matching tops featuring caricatures of San Francisco 49ers with coordinated plaid bottoms in different colors and designs, intended for the dozen people she expected for Christmas Eve.
The online retailer promised to deliver the pajamas by 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve. UPS delivered four tops and nothing else by the deadline. Berlinski said she cant get through to the retailer, and UPS tracking system is no help.
The tracking information kept flipping back and forth, Berlinski said. It kept saying (the delivery) was pending, pending, and then said delivered for about two minutes before switching back to pending again. I dont know if their system is goofy.
Berlinski is just one of the holiday shoppers across the country who feel as though they got a lump of coal for Christmas because UPS and FedEx were late with deliveries or have not made them yet.
The shipping giants still were playing Santa a day after Christmas and scrambling to deliver packages that missed their Wednesday delivery deadlines. The shippers blamed their tardiness on heavy holiday shipping volume and bad weather in some parts of the country. There also was a surge in last-minute shopping, especially with online retailers, which caught UPS and FedEx off guard.
UPS understands the importance of your holiday shipments, United Parcel Service said in a statement Wednesday. UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume. The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas, so some shipments were delayed.
The company, which did not respond to requests for comment Thursday morning, did not make pickups or deliveries Christmas Day. UPS did not disclose how many packages were delayed.
FedEx said some customers would be able to pick up delayed packages at FedEx Express centers. FedEx said the company experienced no major service disruptions in the week before Christmas despite heavy volume. Every single package is important to us, and we will continue to work directly with customers to address any isolated incidents.
Carl Skaggs wrote on The Bees Facebook page that he waited at a FedEx center for several hours, then received only half of his packages. He had to go back the next morning to get the rest of his delivery. He was one of dozens of local residents who posted on The Bees Facebook page about their frustrations in not getting gifts in time.
But some posters took the delays in stride.
These UPS and FedEx employees work 60-plus hours a week! wrote Melissa Curiel. Give them a break! During the busiest time of year, I know full well that ordering something a week before Christmas and winter weather conditions increases the chances of my packages not arriving on time. Not receiving a package would suck, but not enough to ruin Christmas!
Berlinski said that while it was disappointing not to have the 12 sets of pajamas in some cases, they were the only gifts the adults would receive she and her family and friends still had a great Christmas.
The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and Bee staff writer Kevin Valine contributed to this report.