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UPS Holiday

Tis’ the Season… To Return
Shipping a holiday gift

Tis’ the season to give – receive – and now return. The National Retail Federation estimates shoppers will return more than $46 billion in merchandise this year – that’s up almost 10 percent from two years ago.

Returns season is in full swing at UPS. Today consumers will return more than 500,000 packages!  It’s so many, we’re calling it National Returns Day. Just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we now have a self-proclaimed, unofficial holiday.

With the rise in online shopping this year more people are returning those gifts they couldn’t try on or touch before Christmas. The math is easy: more online shopping = more returns. Many retailers now offer free return shipping, making it even easier for consumers to swap wrong sizes and colors. Today’s deluge of returns will keep our drivers busy delivering just as many packages back to retailers on January 6, 2012.

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Ain’t They Sweet: How UPSers Sweeten the Holidays
UPS holiday cookies

UPSers from around the world recently were asked how they make the holidays sweeter. Here’s what some of them had to say.

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Signed Up For UPS My Choice? ‘Tis the Season to Upgrade to Premium Membership!
UPS My Choice

The holidays are the perfect season to upgrade to UPS My Choice Premium Membership! Available to customers across the United States, UPS My Choice helps avoid the disappointment and hassle of missing a home delivery by giving YOU control of how UPS will deliver those tasty gingerbread cookies from Aunt Sally the day before they arrive.

Premium Membership has it privileges…

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Last Minute Shipping Tips for the Holiday Procrastinator
The UPS Store

The holidays can be a whirlwind of gift buying and wrapping, decorating and eating. Before you have a meltdown, check out these last-minute packing and shipping tips and know that you can ship as late as Dec. 23 for delivery on Dec. 24. And remember, The UPS Store is open later during the holidays to take care of your last-minute packing and shipping needs.

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UPS #GreenHoliday Twitter Party: Being Green Can Be Easy During the Holidays
UPS box

Kermit the Frog famously sang that “It’s not easy being green.” However, the participants at our #GreenHoliday Twitter party could likely inspire Kermit to sing a new tune. Dozens of smart, practical ideas were shared … including a few from UPS Chief Sustainability Office (CSO) Scott Wicker.

Journalist Aman Singh (@amansinghCSR), joined by four fantastic panelists, kicked off the conversation. Scott Wicker shared insights about UPS’s environmental efforts, such as carbon neutral shipping. And The UPS Store offered practical guidance on how to choose eco-friendly materials for packing your shipments (hint: soy and starch-based packaging peanuts can decompose when exposed to moisture such as snow or humidity).

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Reporting Live from the Holiday Frontline: A Day in the Life of a UPS Driver Helper, part 3
DIAD V

During my short spell as a driver helper, the most invaluable resources have been the drivers, who have a reflexive knowledge of their routes that borders on clairvoyant. They can tell you not only where they will be in 30 minutes, but where all of the other nearby drivers will be, which customers will need extra time, less time, one push cart or multiple ones. If something throws a wrench into the flow of their day, they are already three steps ahead of the problem and are calling other drivers for support so nothing interrupts the deliveries and pickups. The second most valuable resource is their DIAD scanner, which they have been showing me how to use throughout the week.

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Reporting Live from the Holiday Frontlines: A Day in the Life of a UPS Driver Helper, part 2
UPS driver

My stint as a driver helper passed Wednesday last night. The pace has been rapid-fire as the cargo volume heats up closer and closer to the holidays. Deliveries number in the multiple hundreds and pickups from the major retailers at the end of the day are even more numerous. Throughout all of it, I have enjoyed the experience, despite a disagreement with a delivery cart yesterday that ripped the backside of my brown pants (more on that in another blog post.)

What has amused me the most is the constant interaction a UPS driver, or anyone in a UPS uniform like myself, receives from the general public. I’ve taken to calling them “pickup” lines. Most of them are pretty common – “What can brown do for you!”, “Whoa – HOW MANY boxes are you dropping off?!”, “Whoa – HOW MANY boxes do we have to pick up?!” (That last one was me, in case you didn’t notice.)

There are the unique encounters though that make the day entertaining, and here are my top three “pickup” lines from this week as a UPS driver helper.

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Love the Holidays but not Gift Returns? Join UPS for the #HolidayReturns Twitter Party on January 3
woman using laptop

Celebrating the holidays is a joyous event. Family, friends, food and gifts. Yet inevitably, returning gifts has become part of the routine during the holidays. In fact, January 3 is the top shipping day for holiday returns at UPS. Just as others created Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’re creating a day too that’s dedicated to returns – National Returns Day.

Let’s face it. Returning gifts can feel like a hassle … collecting gift receipts, driving around town, standing in line at the store. Holiday returns are daunting, but they don’t have to be. Read More »

‘Tis the Season to Deliver: UPSers Share their Most Memorable Customer Experiences
UPS delivery

Whether smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, Memorial Day weekend or any ordinary day during the year, UPS employees realize how the little things — perfectly executed — can have a huge impact.

All UPSers are directly responsible for the success of our deliveries and the satisfaction of our customers. Recently, we asked them about some of their most memorable customer experiences.

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Reporting Live from the Holiday Frontlines: A Day in the Life of a UPS Driver Helper
UPS Package Car

This year, for one week at the height of the holiday shipping season, I’ve left my office in public relations and become a UPS driver helper to lend a hand delivering a few of the millions of packages UPS will process leading up to December 25th. My first day was December 12th. The Friday before, I received my safety training and a few minutes learning how to use our DIAD package scanner. In the race to get the packages out, UPS hires driver helpers in droves and Atlanta is no exception. They tossed me a brown UPS pullover which isn’t quite long enough for my arms. I was reminded of stories my grandfather tells of being thrown a pair of boots that didn’t fit exactly right during boot camp in World War II. Yeah, it’s kinda like that, but once the day begins those concerns disappear.

I met the driver I would assist at a major shopping mall here in Atlanta. The first task was deliveries to some of the stores inside. Pretty straightforward. The driver would scan, I would stack. Then we’d roll ‘em over to the location. But very quickly, his vehicle was empty and it was 5 p.m. Don’t be fooled. No one was going home. That’s when a UPS driver’s day just gets started! Now it was time for pickups from the major retail stores. We navigated his brown UPS package van into the underworld of the shopping mall. Loading docks and narrow passages. Offloading the hand trucks and heading into the hallways behind the many stores. It reminded me of that scene in Terminator 2 when John Connor is in the back hallways of the mall running from that evil robot. Any minute I expected Schwarzenegger to burst through a doorway yelling, “Get down!” Yep – exactly like that. Read More »