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UPS Overload Leaves Miffed Customers Short of Presents, Meals

If your gifts didn't arrive on time to place under the tree this year, United Parcel Service might be to blame. The nation's largest package carrier failed to deliver all packages to consumers by Christmas Eve, deflating the holiday spirit for some irate customers.

In a statement, UPS said it simply could not keep up with last-minute shipments as "the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network."

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The company spokeswoman called it "a perfect storm" of problems, blaming the delays on the normal surge in deliveries this time of year, the compressed shopping season, and the growth of e-commerce that increased demand for shipping right before the holiday. An ice storm that backed up air travel in Dallas also didn't help matters.

Although UPS said only a small percentage of packages didn't make it to their destinations on time, consumers are not pleased. They took to social media, creating a series of hashtags including #UPSdelays and #UPSfail.

@JeremyEich You didn't deliver mine and now my 10 year old doesn't get his present. #upsfail

- The Mac (@themacinator) December 25, 2013

Thanks @UPS for ruining Xmas. Does a promised delivery date not mean anything to you? #upsfail

- Tejas Mehta (@tpmehta) December 25, 2013

@UPS. @UPSHelp @UPS_News sadly the clock has struck midnight and you failed to deliver my package by 12/24. #UPSFail

- Laura London (@laurallondon) December 25, 2013

Some said they would be without presents this year and even their Christmas dinner.

@CoreySNews My Christmas ham from Honeybaked didn't make it due to #upsfail. Looks like we're having sushi tonight.

— Andrea Novick (@Andrea_Novick) December 25, 2013

Online retail giant Amazon.com was forced to apologize to customers and in some cases offered refunds on shipping and gift certificates for future purchases.

The UPS statement said there would be no deliveries today but that employees are on the job, working to ensure packages are ready to go out the door the moment drivers arrive in the morning.

Peak shipping season is not over until after the Christmas returns are in, so UPS will likely wait until January to do a postmortem and figure why projections missed the mark, a spokeswoman said. In the meantime, she said, UPS is "focused on delivering on our holiday and service commitments."

UPS might consider upping its staffing and capacity projections for next year. Statistics show on that holiday e-shopping is on the rise. More than half of consumers now do at least some of their holiday shopping on line, according to a recent National Retail Federation survey.

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