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With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will once again be relying on the good people at the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and all the other shipping carriers to get our letters and packages to our loved ones just in time for Christmas.

These folks generally do an excellent job delivering all of our gifts to our out-of-town family members and friends year round. But occasionally things will happen. I'm mean it's a part of life right?

To give you an example, UPS delivers nearly 16 million packages every single day. That is some serious volume. When you're talking about that kind of volume, a few packages are bound to get trashed and lost from time to time. It's inevitable! 

However, according to a former UPS worker, there are a few secrets you can employ to ensure your gifts arrive on time, and hopefully in one piece this Christmas shipping season.

  1. First of all, don't bother writing "fragile" on the box. It won't make a bit of difference. Each handler loads about 250 packages an hour. They aren't going to notice the ones labeled "fragile." The secret according to the former worker is disguising your box as a gift. The one time handlers WILL take special care of a package is if it looks like someone put special effort into making it look good. So wrap it, add a bow and make it look nice.
  2. Don't reuse boxes without first removing every old sticker. The scanners scan the first barcode they encounter. So if there's an old shipping label on the box, there's a good chance your package could end up getting lost.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, follow the carriers shipping instructions perfectly. If your package is destroyed or lost, you might be able to get reimbursed. But you MUST follow all of their instructions. Use a new box if possible, don't over pack it, use wide packing tape and waterproof the contents inside the package.

Here's to hoping all your gifts this holiday season arrive on time, in perfect condition and don't end up looking like Ace Ventura Pet Detective delivered them.