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Try these shipping alternatives so your gifts arrive on time

The deadline to get gifts under the tree is quickly approaching. If you're still shopping, you may need to explore some alternative delivery options.

SAN ANTONIO — Do you know the old saying about the post office?

“That 'postal carrier out in the snow or rain or sleet delivering your mail, no matter what,' is really iconic and why Americans trust the Postal Service and that trust is being threatened,” said Kevin Yoder, a former Kansas congressman who is now the executive director of Keep US Posted campaign to bring reliability and affordability to the postal service. “To intentionally delay the mail while raising rates at a historic rate, it threatens the future of the Postal Service. Customers get frustrated.”

You have probably already experienced a shipping delay or two. Do you need that gift delivered and you don't want to risk shipping it? Here are some alternatives:

  1. Order online and do curbside pickup at a store near you.

“You actually place your order online or by phone, and then you yourself drive to pick it up at the store,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet. “You are taking on more of the work yourself, but it lets you skip ahead of the line in terms of avoiding those big delays we're seeing with transportation. Find an item that is available in a store that’s within driving distance to you and actually buy it. It’s set aside for you and has your name on it. No one else can grab it. Then you can take your time and go pick it up. It’s really a way to guarantee that you’re getting what you want.”

 2. Or have it delivered, but not by a mail service.

Instacart is getting into the delivery game outside of groceries and booze, so you can take advantage of Instacart with certain retailers,” said Trae Bodge, a smart saving expert.

You can also use Amazon’s new instant gift feature if you are a Prime member.

“You get a notification that, you know, someone gave you this particular shirt and it has your name on it and it shows the thought you put into the gift,” said Kristin McGrath of RetailMeNot.com. “Then they can opt to have that shipped or exchanged for a different item or just get a gift card. Even if it doesn’t arrive before the holidays, I say, that still counts.”

 3. Plus, you can email a digital gift.

“If you’d rather you subscribe someone to a streaming service or an audiobook service, there’s this great gift and you don’t have to worry about anything being shipped,” said McGrath.

Know if you pay more for speedy shipping like express or overnight your package still may not arrive on time.

“The probability of that shipment being delayed doesn’t necessarily change,” said Sriram Sridhar of LateShipment.com who studies mail delays. “In fact, for some premium shipping options like overnight or two-day deliveries, those delay rates are higher.”

He said his research found this mail delivery service has the best on-time rates if you are shipping a gift:

“This holiday season, I would say UPS stand a much, much better chance of providing better on-time performance compared to FedEx.”

Your best bet if you do ship, is to send from merchants closest to the gift receiver such as from the same state or city.

If you have a question for Eyewitness Wants To Know, email us at EWTK@KENS5.com or call us as (210) 377-8647.

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