UPS and Amazon Rush to Fix Holiday Package Fiasco

Whether you're a stuck-at-your-desk analyst who ordered Seamless for Christmas, or you're cool enough on the corporate ladder to be cruising down the Aspen slopes with your email away message on, it's been a slow holiday week on Wall Street -- but the Dow  still managed to jump up 122 points Thursday to capture the 50th record high of 2013.

1. UPS struggles to ship record gift volume 
It's thanks to the last-minute shoppers that United Parcel Service  finds itself the scrooge that ruined Christmas for many American families. Last-minute delivery orders for Christmas presents were so insanely high this year that many packages were not delivered by Christmas day, as UPS promised. The official number of affected packages is unclear, but you can see for yourself the victims of this holiday tragedy on Twitter: #UPSfail.

It's actually positive news for UPS. Online orders made on the last weekend before Christmas jumped 37% from last year. The more addicted we are with online shopping, the better the business outlook for Brown to deliver our goods. UPS stock crept up 0.2% Thursday. 

UPS promised that you could order packages at 11PM Monday evening and, somehow, Santa would intercept it and place it under the tree for Christmas day Wednesday. They missed the precious Dec. 25th deadline for many packages, but they're scrambling to make good, and get gifts delivered ASAP. It's like Santa said, the best Christmas parties are the after parties.

2. Amazon responds to late deliveries with gift cards
UPS may have screwed up, but Amazon was a major part of this Christmas shipping fiasco. The online seller of everything,  made quick moves Thursday to fix the potential PR lump of coal it was delivered by UPS. It offered to refund shipping costs for those customers who didn't get packages on time. And for good measure, it threw them a $20 gift card. Amazon stock climbed 1.3% Thursday on the classy Christmas move.

It was a perfect storm that led to the glut of package shipments and delays for UPS and FedEx. Retailers offered big discounts this past weekend, creating a stampede of orders. Severe winter weather didn't help, either. 

If you're wondering how your presents stack up to America's, see Amazon's top selling gifts from this holiday season.

3. Weekly Jobless Claims falls leading up to Holidays
The number of the day is 338,000. That's the total number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits over the last week -- it represents a drop of 42,000 claims since last Thursday to the lowest newly unemployed workers in a month.
Why the big drop? It's not just Santa shipping part-time elves with fast hands up to the North Pole. Weekly jobless claims have been all over the place -- they rose big the previous week -- because December is a volatile holiday month. Delivery and retail businesses add more labor, while school workers have time off.

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The article UPS and Amazon Rush to Fix Holiday Package Fiasco originally appeared on

Fool contributors Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and United Parcel Service. The Motley Fool owns shares of Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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