Getting It There Safe and On Time
The arrival of the holiday shopping season also means the arrival of the holiday shipping season. Whether it's a new iPad or just grandma's fruitcake, making sure your delivery arrives safely is a priority for shipping companies like UPS, FedEx, plus the U.S. Postal Service. An increasing problem in recent years is thieves stealing packages right off of doorsteps. That's led to warnings from police and those in the shipping business, like Jorge Cantu, who owns Houston Postnet shop 185. He says you should never have deliveries left outside your home. "If you know your driver really well...you can give them your phone number and make arrangements to be around when they make deliveries." Another option is to avoid having items sent to your home. "For a small fee, you can come and have your packages delivered here (at a postal store,)" Cantu says. "But it's always best to try and have somebody at home, especially during the evenings."
Packing is also essential, depending on what you're sending. Cantu does not advise sending baked goods through standard mail. "We always recommend you pack it in dry ice and ship it overnight, or just not ship perishables at all." He says that's especially true in Texas, where the temperatures are often still warm this time of year, leading to spoiled or stale items. When it comes to more expensive cargo, it's important to pack properly. "If you've got some breakable items, two inches of padding all the way around is always a good idea," Cantu says. "You really don't want your item inside to touch the corners or the top or bottom of the box." He also recommends a lot of bubble wrap and packing foam. "The box really should bounce when it lands on the ground."
Getting your package there safely is only part of the equation, getting it there on time is the other. Cantu says Christimas falling on a Tuesday this year will allow an extra weekday of shipping for most people. Still, he advises all standard mail packages be sent out by December 14th to ensure arrival by Christmas. The longer you wait and the closer it gets to Christmas, the more expensive your options will get.
Check out TSA's guidelines for traveling with food and gifts here.