If your Christmas presents have been slow to arrive, that huge pile of packages can explain the delay.
It turns out that thousands of gifts are buried in piles of mailbags in sorting offices.
A picture posted on Twitter showed the huge pile of Royal Mail sacks in Bristol.
A second showed that sorting offices are so flooded that employees have to stack items outdoors, which creates the risk of packages being damaged or even stolen by rain.
Union bosses report similar scenes across the country, calling the chaos of Christmas deliveries a "nightmare" after companies complained that packages took up to a month to arrive.
A massive shift to online shopping means there are an estimated 200 million more packages in the postal and courier systems this year. Online orders are expected to rise more than 50 percent as festive internet shopping overtakes main drag for the first time.
The Royal Mail has hired 33,000 temporary workers to meet demand.
There is a danger that a shortage of online supermarket delivery places could result in dozens of Christmas dinner plans going up in smoke.
If your Christmas presents have been slow to arrive, that huge pile of packages can explain the delay. A picture posted on Twitter showed the huge pile of Royal Mail sacks in Bristol (pictured)
Shoppers desperately scroll through slot times, but find they are fully booked or won't be arriving until after December 25th.
Asda, Sainsbury & # 39; s and Morrisons confirmed to MailOnline that they were grappling with high demand for deliveries in a festive rush.
In the meantime, delays with Christmas gifts threaten to ruin Christmas for families and businesses.
Many customers have complained about late items, while John Lewis, Boots and HMV blamed Royal Mail for delivery delays. Terry Pullinger of the Communication Workers Union said, “We couldn't possibly have predicted this level of packets and packets, it seems to be increasing every day.
"This, together with the precautions being taken to ensure the safety of key workers due to Covid, and the increasing spread of Covid, complicates what is already a strategic nightmare."
Ian Trehearne, Gloucestershire branch secretary, said the sorting offices had been "flooded" and had been "under control" since April without easing.
It turns out that thousands of gifts are buried in piles of mailbags in sorting offices. The Royal Mail sorting office in Manchester is pictured
The sorting offices are so flooded that employees have to stack items outside, which creates the risk of packages being damaged by rain or even stolen. A site is pictured in Essex
Text on the sack mountain picture released by a CWU official read: “Our members at Royal Mail are facing an unprecedented workload. They are doing absolutely anything to keep the country connected. & # 39; It added, "Pandemic + Christmas + Record Traffic."
Companies urged Royal Mail to make delivery times more transparent so they can give customers more realistic expectations. One said he had received "threatening" messages from people angry that their order had not arrived, The Telegraph reports.
A government source told the publication that ministers were "concerned" with the backlog but were unable to intervene due to Royal Mail's status as a private company.
A spokesman for Ofcom, the postal regulator, said customers should take complaints with retailers.
Meanwhile, the last-minute shot for supermarket products also appears to have caused delivery issues – which infuriated a Tesco customer when her delivery arrived without a turkey.
Experts said the coronavirus caused a "seismic shift" in retail that is increasingly migrating online.
But as Christmas approaches, they warned that supermarkets are running at full capacity and that stores are buckling with demand for supplies.
Kath Hedley, 76, of Sudbury, Suffolk, who used online delivery during the lockdown, said for the past three weeks she was trying to book a slot for Christmas week.
"They always show up as unavailable," she said. "So we have to go shopping again."
Trucks are lining up on the A20 to get to the port of Dover today as companies face long delivery times
There is a danger that a shortage of online supermarket delivery places could result in dozens of Christmas dinner plans going up in smoke. The struggle for food appears to have resulted in shortages – which infuriated one Tesco customer when her delivery arrived without a turkey
Your frustration will resonate with people isolating themselves and now wondering how to get groceries and others who avoid public places before meeting relatives in the Christmas chill.
When Tesco customer Jennifer posted a photo of her order, she raged on Twitter: "I just received my online shipment (last available slot before Christmas) and a product was not available without a suitable replacement."
& # 39; Just the turkey !!! Really?! Couldn't you send an alternative turkey on December 17th? In addition, disappointed. & # 39;
Others complained that they couldn't even book a time for their order to be delivered.
The Communication Workers Union asked the postal workers for sympathy, saying that serving the public was central to their work. However, asking them to "show them some love" by writing positive comments did not bring the comfort and joy they had hoped for.
One person wrote: & # 39; Not the best photo. I would not be happy if my package was one of them. Might show how busy it is, but what idiots thought it was a good idea to stack bags like this? & # 39; A second just said, "Go on, you lazy."
Shoppers desperately scroll through slot times, but find they are fully booked or won't be arriving until after December 25th. An Asda in London is fully booked for deliveries
However, one grateful Twitter user wrote: “I have two different posties, both always polite and cheerful.
"They are the backbone of a church at any time of year, especially now this Christmas and in a pandemic."
A postman's wife added, “My husband has been a postman for 28 years. He started at 2 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. every day for the past month to sort and deliver the backlog of parcels / letters. & # 39;
Royal Mail has hired 33,000 seasonal workers, but industry experts say that is still not enough to meet demand, and many retailers have brought their last order dates forward as a result.
In a statement, Royal Mail said, "Despite our best efforts, extensive planning and significant investment in additional resources, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery times than our usual service standards."
Several small retailers said their packages were delayed by up to four weeks.
Tory Fox-Hill, founder of Fox and Moon, a Leeds-based stationery company, said hundreds of packages sent over the Black Friday weekend had not yet been delivered.
'Royal Mail says there is an unprecedented amount of mail and there are slight delays. But obviously there aren't any slight delays, it's three to four weeks, ”she told The Telegraph.
Martyn James of the Resolver on Consumer Complaints said Saturday is realistically the last day shoppers order online and hope to get their gifts on time.
People used social media to express their frustration at not being able to complete a booking
In a letter posted on Instagram, The Slabb, a chocolate shop in Leamington Spa, said it "couldn't understand" why Royal Mail urged the public to expect only "minor delays" when the reality in its experience is different.
The letter read: "We, the small business owners, are being sent, let's say" colorful "messages that are insulted and threatened."
Richard Lim, executive director of Retail Economics, said the pandemic had fundamentally changed the way the nation shops.
He told MailOnline: & # 39; The effects of Covid-19 have changed seismically as customers shop online.
"What is interesting about food is that it seems to be the part of the (retail) sector that has seen a permanent shift."
He said that unlike other retail stores that had to regain a foothold in opening their stores after the lockdown, the change in grocery shopping behavior has been "sticky" and online delivery usage has not declined since the restrictions were eased .
However, he cautioned that supermarkets "are capacity limited and it will take years to change delivery services" such as storage and online infrastructure.
Boris Johnson eased coronavirus restrictions allowing three households in England to mingle between December 23rd and 27th.
The temporary easing of the curbs has brought family gatherings back on the menu – along with traditional Christmas dinners.
As a result, online delivery slots have been set up and many have been unable to book an order that arrives on time.
Ryan Peach tweeted Tesco saying, "There are no delivery spots available and I need to isolate if options are available."
Karen from Tesco replied, 'Hi Ryan. I am sorry that you are having trouble getting a slot. I'm afraid that since these are fully booked I cannot assign you a slot or make a slot available for you. & # 39;
Mr. Peach was deeply unimpressed: “This is a shame. You would think if you can't leave the house, Tesco could organize a slot! & # 39;
Another person wrote, “I have to go to Asda and my goodness, I'm worried it will be busy and not social distancing. But I need food and there are no delivery places online. & # 39;
Another said sarcastically, "Well done Sainsbury & # 39; s – not a single slot will be available until December 28th. You're fucking useless!"
Tom Ironside, Director of Business and Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers are working as hard as they can to meet the huge increase in demand for online delivery requests this Christmas.
"The ongoing pandemic is putting tremendous pressure on delivery across the country, but as always, companies will do whatever they can to fix issues as soon as they are made aware."
A Sainsbury spokesperson said: “We saw unprecedented demand for our home delivery service in the run up to Christmas.
"This year, more than ever, we are encouraging communities to support one another during the festive season by sharing supplies and purchases for others where they can."
An Asda spokesman confirmed to MailOnline that there are only a few delivery places and that Wednesday is the acceptance deadline for a booking, as the trucks are not dispatched on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: & # 39; There are limited slots available online at Morrisons.com at the moment.
“There are other ways to shop at Morrisons this Christmas including Click & Collect, Amazon or Deliveroo, as well as grocery boxes delivered straight to your door or doorstep deliveries where an order is placed over the phone and over the next day Your local business is delivered. & # 39;
A Tesco spokesperson said, “We are working hard to ensure high availability for all of our Festive Food to Order products, including turkeys.
& # 39; This range will be available from December 20th as it is fresh products. We're sorry to hear that Jennifer did not receive the frozen turkey she ordered and we are working to resolve this for her. & # 39;
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