As someone who not only runs a small eBay effort, but is also an online shopper I was preparing for Christmas about six weeks ago, and posturing between Canada Post Corporation and one of its labour partners, the Canadian Union Postal Workers, in October had me thinking “Here we go again.”
CPC and CUPW had been negotiating for some time, and the rotating strikes introduced by CUPW had some people suspecting the Christmas postal season might be a write off. Over the next few weeks, there was more nasty talk and the rotating strikes went on.
As an eBay seller, I kept getting notices from the company warning me of the job action (tell me something I don’t know) and warning me it could affect delivery (thanks for the deep insight, eBay). Even after the federal government legislated CUPW back to work, Canada Post said there was a “huge backlog” of mail and we all better be prepared.
As it happens, during or after the job action I didn’t see any effect on my operation or shipping times at all. For example, I sold one item to another ebayer within Canada on Nov. 16 and I packed and shipped the item with tracking number and insurance early Nov. 18. Ebay has a fairly serious 100 per cent guarantee that if an item doesn’t arrive by the predicted delivery date, the buyer gets a full refund. So I wondered if I should get the refund ready. The item shipped to a place called Kikino, Alberta (a Metis settlement near Smoky Lake) and eBay predicted a delivery date of Dec. 17. That’s at least four weeks, maybe longer. Not good.
Anyway, as it turns out the tracking number was useless with no updates past Dec. 2; however, I received positive feedback on the transaction around that date, so the item must have been delivered by then. Which was about 10 days in total, a bit longer than usual but nothing ridiculous.
As a buyer, I didn’t see much effect either. I bought a family Christmas gift from the United States through eBay Nov. 26, about a month before Christmas. A friend of mine suggested I waited too long and it would probably be late. As it turns out USPS had the item to the eBay global shipping centre within a week, around Dec. 3 (I don’t have room here to explain this service, but basically it’s eBay shipping items themselves). I’m not a fan of the GSS, as I had one item “destroyed” (actual word used) at the Kentucky shipping centre in the summer of 2017, and the service itself is slow.
But as it happens, the item left the GSS on Dec. 5, cleared customs Dec. 6 (one day, if you can believe it) and Canada Post delivered it Dec. 10. The estimated delivery date was Dec. 17. It was a week early!
Pretty damn awesome delivery, if I do say so myself. Thanks postal workers, you guys and gals are doing great work.
As it turns out, on Dec 14 Canada Post sort of backpedalled a bit, claiming the backlog was not quite as bad, probably because the mail volume is lower this year.
A little pat on the back for the carriers and staff would have been nice, though.
Stu Salkeld is editor of The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.