Shipping, Part 2
Updated: Sep 11
Basically as soon as I wrote that last blog entry and reopened my Etsy shop, the news came out that the USPS mail delays are nationwide because of cutbacks from the new postmaster general. Let's not get into the politics of it, but I do want to say that this is a HUGE problem for anyone who's self-employed in a business that relies on shipping anything. Two years ago, most of my work was digital; I rarely made any physical items for anyone that I didn't know personally. Now around 50% of my income comes from physical items and hardly any of it is local anymore, which means a lot of shipping. USPS is by far the cheapest and most accessible option, which helps me offer free shipping on all orders without having to raise my prices. Using the USPS to ship a $4 vinyl decal with the USPS costs $0.55; acrylic keychains, jewelry, bodysuits, and T-shirts cost $3; coffee mugs, the heaviest items I sell, cost $5. Those items would cost $8 to $20 to ship through the UPS. I'm one of those people who starts checking the mailbox for a package the day after I've made the order, so I try really hard to get everyone's items shipped out on time. Almost everything is made to order, disinfected, packaged, then dropped off inside the post office (but now I drop them off at a distribution center), but once I've dropped your packages into the drop box, I don't have any control over them being delayed or lost. There are people online saying that USPS employees are being instructed to stop sorting mail earlier and that they aren't given any overtime hours. Of course people are frustrated that their packages are arriving two weeks late, if they ever even arrive at all. Thankfully I haven't gotten any negative reviews because of the delays yet, but I feel like it's inevitable at this point and I can't even say I'd blame a customer at all for doing it. Please be extra patient when you're ordering from small businesses online right now. This might be the only source of income for some of them, and negative reviews can be pretty damaging. If you order something that the seller ships through the USPS but it's lost or delayed, please file a report with them too! I'm sure they're doing the best that they can do too under these crazy circumstances but I've had a couple of items that the recipients or I filed claims for that ended up actually being found, so it might actually help a bit. You can click here to report missing mail to the USPS.