Chances are this holiday season, you will likely be sending or receiving a package of some sort.
Travel restrictions combined with a desire to avoid crowded places have many people turning to online shopping and shipping services, rather than shopping malls.
Using Thanksgiving as an indicator, The Mail Room in Manchester is expecting what they say will be a “crazy” month in the shipping business. As people avoided large holiday gatherings, shipments last week included some unexpected items.
“Homemade macaroni and cheese. Spanish rice. It was funny,” said store owner Natasha Pilowsky.
The coming holidays could offer much of the same and more, as people avoid shopping malls. Alan Menasian operates an eBay business and has already noticed a difference.
“The volume has increased online and it happened right away as soon as things went into lockdown,” he said.
From Christmas cards to holiday gifts, December is always a busy month for mailings and this year could be more hectic than ever.
“We are expecting a higher volume than last year but that’s because people are home more, they’re shopping online more, and they’re getting used to it,” said Amy Gibbs, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service.
People we spoke with Friday seem to agree.
“Probably safer by just ordering online,” said Jim Dellaghelfa, explaining he will do at least 75% of his shopping online.
Mabel Arnold said she’s already started shipping items to her grandchildren and is planning to avoid in-person shopping.
“Right now, I’m more scared of COVID than I was before,” she said.
Among the top online destinations for shoppers is Amazon. To prepare for the surge, Amazon said it has added new transportation capacity and has hired 100,000 seasonal employees. They have not announced shipping deadlines, but major shipping companies have.
Dec. 15 is the last day for UPS Ground and FedEx Ground. Dec. 18 is the deadline for first-class mail from the post office. Still, all warn there's no guarantee shipments will be on time for Christmas.
At the Mail Room, they say to pay attention to those deadlines and if you’re planning to ship internationally, do not wait another day.
“Right now. Right now, is what I’m telling my customers. Get it in so we can get it out,” said Pilowsky.
As packages are delivered, it is also important to protect yourself from theft. The Connecticut State Police have recommendations on their Facebook page, including having packages delivered to a destination where and when you know someone is there to accept.