And most stores and shippers are recommending that the last day you can safely order or ship items and know they will get there on or before December 24 is Monday, December 16, 2013.
Regardless of why you may not be able to meet the Monday deadline, we have a tip that we share with lots of when it’s just not possible to get it there by the special day. Yes, it’s most important for Christmas, but it works for birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and other special occasions.
Not only will you be able to avoid looking like a Scrooge, you’ll also be able to give what you really want to give without paying ridiculously high expedited shipping fees.
Maybe you’ve been busy with work and / or the kids. Maybe the item you know is perfect for someone on your gift is on back-order. Maybe you really are a Bad Santa but a Bad Santa usually wouldn’t send a gift, and most people understand this.
For whatever reason you didn’t order or buy your gifts in time and you are panicked about getting them there by December 24 or earlier.
First, Relax: You MAY Have An Extra Couple of Days (Maybe)
Depending on the store and where the item is being shipped from and to, you may have until Tuesday or Wednesday before you really need to panic. Call the store and find out. Don’t suggest expedited shipping, and if they suggest doing it make sure you ask for a specific — not an “Estimated” cost. Because it will be very high.
And even if they say “You’re probably okay” for some items as late after the 18th, don’t believe them. There are no guarantees after Wednesday. Be careful: even if it is only going 200 miles few honest people can promise guarantee this because:
- Warehouses are extra busy and orders often take an extra day or so to get out
- Shippers are the busiest the right now than any other time of the year
- It’s Winter: FedEx, UPSP, UPS and other shippers are just getting over the backlog from ice and snow storms over the past week.
Sure: you often can pay expedited shipping costs if the store will let you or FAA rules allow it. But lots of gifts can’t be sent by plane.
Those gifts that can be shipped overnight or second day delivery mean you are paying a lot more. Envelopes are one thing, boxes are completely bigger and the bigger the box or the heavier, the more it will cost. Especially oversized boxes that cost, any day, 2 to 3 times as much as smaller packages.
Expedited shipping costs of packages are often equal to or greater than the gift itself cost.
Don’t Pay Expedited Shipping Unless It’s REALLY Crucial
If we can (and many things can’t be shipped by airplane), we will do what the customer wants but we have to charge a LOT of money for this.
Every Christmas, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and lot of times people either can’t find the right gift of the special day sneaks up on them before they know it.
And every holiday we ask people if the world or their relationship will end if the gift gets there a bit late as long as a card and/or phone call saying it’s on it’s way would be just as good. And most people say, “I really think it would. Thanks!” (Maybe the other people were raised by Norma Bates, Joan Crawford or the Great Santini.)
If you like, you can email them a picture of the image on Christmas or let it be a surprise. At the very least, it is polite to make a phone call and tell them that you found something you think they’ll really love but it can’t get there in time.
By doing this, you can explain that the gift can’t get there on time but they you didn’t forget about them. On the bright side: they know you cared enough to buy something good enough to wait for and they have something to look forward to other than taking down the Christmas tree.
Exceptions: if it is someone who may be spending the holiday alone or may not have much time left, that’s a different story.
We’re just saying most of the time people do appreciate a thoughtful gift even if it’s a bit late and you remember to call on the holiday. The $50 to $100 bucks for expedited shipping could go towards a much nicer gift most of the time.
Warning: NEVER Fib About the Contents of Packages – You Could Kill People
And that is Not An Exaggeration. It’s a rule that was put into effect not because of terrorists and not to make your life difficult.
If you are sending a package on your own, there is a good reason the shipper asks what’s in the box. Please don’t lie because there is a very good reason for them asking you this. Some products, especially those with batteries and especially particular types of batteries are not safe to be flown in a cargo hold.
- If you do lie and you are very lucky, nothing will happen.
- If you’re a bit unlucky, the battery probably will leak and the product will be ruined and so will the product warranty.
- If you’re unlucky, you may get a huge fine and/or federal criminal charges against you.
- If you’re very unlucky or tell a whopper of a lie, the plane could crash and people could die.
Batteries, Especially Lithium Ion Batteries, Should Not be Shipped by Air
Most types of batteries often explode or leak when in an unpressurized cargo hold. Sure, you bring your cell phone or laptop with you into the cabin. But not the cargo hold. (Most people are smart enough not to put phones, laptops or cameras into luggage because they can get stolen. But sometimes, they aren’t stolen: they are confiscated for good reason.)
If you are working with a store that knows what they are doing, they will refuse to ship most electronics by expedited shipping. Expedited shipping usually means the item must go on a plane.
Since many electronics (including including solar lights) use Lithium Ion batteries, they can’t be shipped via airplanes and they can’t go into some other types of cargo holds, such as rail without a hazardous materials surcharge.
There is a world-wide ban on placing lithium ion batteries in cargo holds. While great batteries, Li-Ions don’t react well to extreme atmospheric pressure.
Lithium-ion batteries are in everything from laptop computers, to portable phones to solar lights. And it is very safe to take these things with you on a plane because they are usually right with you in the cabin where the pressure is monitored.If it is a little battery, the Li-Ion could very well leak and ruin the product. Or, it could explode and start a fire. Big batteries can take down airplanes. They have in the past and that’s why there is a ban.
Cargo aircraft and cargo holds of most airplanes, however, often aren’t pressurized. In the past, airplanes have crashed when lithium ion and other batteries were stored in the cargo hold and lots of people were killed. That’s why there is a World-Wide ban against shipping these items by air.
Don’t Be a Grinch
Don’t be a Grinch and send no gift at all. On the other hand, expedited shipping is one time that having a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge in you can save you a ton of money.
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