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Due to shipping delays, an unexpectedly large number of people this Christmas were forced to do dumb stuff like interact with family members instead of playing with their cool new gifts. Both UPS and FedEx acknowledged that more packages than expected did not meet their anticipated Christmas Eve delivery date.

UPS told The New York Times that their delays were due to a truncated shopping season, more e-commerce than previous years, and ice storms in the northeast. The company declined to give specific statistics on exactly how large the backlog was or what percentage of customers were affected, but they characterized it as a small proportion. FedEx was apparently also experiencing delays, but said that some customers might have been able to pick up their packages at the company's distribution centers.

At least one retailer, Amazon, has announced that customers who did not receive their packages before the holiday will not be charged for shipping and be eligible for a gift card. ("Would shipping drones have had this problem?" Jeff Bezos probably asked while arching one eyebrow very high and smirking.) It's worth noting that UPS typically suspends their ground shipping money-back guarantee during the holiday season.

It's really a massive catastrophe. Probably the worst thing to ever happen. While you enjoy your new iPad or boxed trilogy of Hunger Games novels, please remember those who do not (yet) have, and must settle for the company of their family, who loves them, as if that's even worth anything.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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