Flourish Forum

Sharing and Caring Exchanges => Open/Active Exchanges => Topic started by: Erica McPhee on November 11, 2019, 12:44:51 PM

Title: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on November 11, 2019, 12:44:51 PM
The 2019 Holiday Exchange sign ups are now closed! This is our last exchange of the year. Please remember a few things before signing up:

1. We have members from all over the world and many different religions so Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and many others' celebrations will be represented, expected, and welcomed.

2. If you did not complete a past exchange you signed up for, you cannot participate.

3. If you will be busy and cannot meet your obligation, please do not sign up. It is not OK to think, "Life happens" and not fulfill your obligation. It is OK if circumstances require you to send your exchanges late, however, you will still not be able to participate in an exchange until yours are sent.

4.  You must be a registered, activated member and you must have made at least one post, introductory or otherwise, in order to participate.

Sign Up Deadline: Friday, November 22, 2019

Postmark Deadline: Friday, December 13, 2019


As always, the following guidelines apply:

1. Calligraphy should be used on both your exchange insert (if there is one) and envelope.
2. You will send a card to every member on your list (typically 7-9 members).
3. Must be related to the theme.
4. All skill levels welcome!
5. If you end up not being able to participate, please contact me ASAP. If you don't send your cards after the list has gone out, you will not be able to participate in the next exchange.
6. You must sign up before the deadline. No late sign ups.

Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: passionforwriting on November 11, 2019, 03:06:32 PM
Yaaayyy!! So excited for this one!!   :) :)
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: waterconfidence on November 11, 2019, 09:00:54 PM
Thank you Erica for organizing this exchange.  Youíre the best!
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Joel on November 12, 2019, 02:29:27 AM
Missed this so much! Hello Erica! Thank you so much for this!
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on November 12, 2019, 10:02:40 AM
Thanks @waterconfidence  and @passionforwriting

Welcome back @Joel ! We've missed you, too! I hope you are well my friend!  :-*
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Starlee on November 15, 2019, 08:55:34 AM
Was so disappointed to have missed the Halloween exchange. No WAY was I missing this one too!
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on November 23, 2019, 09:11:37 PM
The lists have gone out! Please contact me ASAP if you think you signed up and you did not receive an email. I have still been having trouble emailing to yahoo especially.

Also, please check your list right away to be sure your address is correct. I double checked all of the lists this time so hopefully there aren't any issues.  ;D

Have fun!  :-*
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Sandy_Odom on December 13, 2019, 09:44:25 PM

Did I sign up for this exchange?  I canít find anything in my emails, junk mail, or trash.

Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on December 14, 2019, 11:25:22 AM
Hi @Sandy_Odom ,
No, I do not have any sign up form for you or list.  :-\
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Sandy_Odom on December 14, 2019, 01:30:14 PM
Thank goodness!  I was afraid I'd signed up and then forgot about it.  Sorry I missed the signup, guess I was real busy at the time.  Merry Christmas to all.
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Heather Brock on January 11, 2020, 02:11:05 AM
Itís been discovered - after having major delivery issues with my holiday cards this year - many of my re-sends still have not arrived to their destination. I hate my local post office at Christmas time
 On top of that I attempted red envelopes which apparently is hard for the reader to scan. So, I tried again on silver. Well. Here we sit.

If you were on list 3, I will get a new envelope out to all of you just in case they have not made it to you either. Iím sorry if it never arrived.  :-[

Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Bianca M on January 11, 2020, 03:23:16 PM
@Heather Brock that stinks!!!  You have gone through way more trouble than you should have, and someone at your post office is being quite rude.  :(

Delivery seems to have taken a very long time for this mailing, considering the post mark dates vs. received dates on some of the envelopes from list 3.  I hope all of mine made it to their destinations!
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 12, 2020, 09:52:49 AM
I have a secret theory the post office tossed aside envelopes needing to be hand-scanned in lieu of being so busy. Or perhaps they were just so busy this season they couldn't get things delivered in a timely manner. This year in particular has been the worst I have ever seen.

I had more lost envelopes and more delayed than I ever have. I send about 200 cards (including calligraphy and personal) and this year there were so many that never made it or took weeks - yes weeks domestically - to be delivered.

I also received the majority of my cards after Christmas and many after New Years. So this past week was the most I received the whole season. And some were sent late but the majority were sent before Christmas.  :(
Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: jeanwilson on January 13, 2020, 09:07:53 AM
My son started with the post office in September and just finished his first holiday season.
Here is what I have learned.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a tremendous amount of overtime work.
New people work 60- 80 hours per week - usually over 7 days.
They only get a day off, if they have put in 80 hours in 6 days - which is 13 hours per day - and he did hit that bar a couple times.
If he had a couple 16 hour days, early in the week, then on day 5 and day 6 - he'd get off after 9 or 10 hours - as they do not have anyone working more than 80 hours in a week.

So, with your newest people working so many hours -- that might contribute to some of the problems in December.
The more experienced people are putting in a lot of overtime, too.
They can't hire temps to help in Dec because it takes too long to learn the system.
They try their best to perform their services to the same level during Dec - as the rest of the year, but the sheer volume is mind-numbing.

Amazon has also made a huge difference in the load. It's a whole new segment of work that has been growing.
The PO has had to adapt - and it must be challenging to calculate exactly how many packages will be showing up from Amazon.
The PO delivers packages (not mail) on Sundays - and my son recently showed up, expecting that his crew would handle the normal 1,500 packages that they are staffed for on Sunday and there were 3,000 packages. They were out until 10 PM. And this was in January. How is the PO supposed to know how many items people are going to order on a day to day basis? And you know - we are all expecting that overnight or 2-day service and we get really annoyed when things are late - so it is tempting to blame the guy in the truck.

Amazon says they plan to start doing their own delivering. It will be very interesting to see if they can replicate the service that the PO has been providing. I wonder if they really understand how complicated it is to establish a network of people who really want to race around meeting deadlines for minimum wage.

I asked my son if they ever hold mail over for the following day and my son looked at me like I was nuts. His response was something like, "Yeah, right. If we leave anything for the following day, it just guarantees that the following day will be unmanageable." Yes, they do have an occasional light day -- but it's less than once a week. Maybe a couple light days per month.

Anything that cannot be read by a scanner has to be handled by a person - and those people are also consumed by the December tsunami.
So yes -- if the scanner can't read it - it will take longer. It is probably hard to know if any of the workers go rogue and just dump mail in a corner somewhere - for days on end. My son assures me that they do not do that at his station. They are eager to get everything out the door - and on it's way. But, it could pile up somewhere else along the line.

Over the years, I have noticed that mail sent to smaller cities and towns arrives more promptly than mail going to large urban areas. And - yes - there are things that simply disappear. But, most of it shows up eventually.

Handling mail does not look that complicated from the outside - and we all wonder why they can't perform a simple task of reading the address and putting it in the right mailbox -- but now that I know what it is like on the other side -- I realize that they have all kinds of issues - and they are actually trying really hard. They have many rules that are strictly enforced. They are vigilant about watching that every scanned package is accounted for. If they get back to the station and they forgot to scan a package, they have to go back out and find the package and scan it. No exceptions. The scanners have settings to record exactly when the package was scanned -- so the carrier can't just scan all the packages at once and then deliver them along the route. So there is a whole level of watching the packages that surprised me. Of course, they can't do that with all the envelopes. However -- they do some spot checking. I've seen my carrier scanning each piece of mail that he puts in my box.

My son has confirmed that there are some wonderful people who are devoted to doing a good job.
And then there are inept people who are giving it a try and probably won't last.
And there are old people who are simply worn out and waiting to retire who can be a little hardened.
It is a system that has to adapt to changes (like Amazon) and they are trying ---

Personally, I am no longer addressing envelopes where the address is difficult to read. I make the address very clear, using beautiful block printing.
My son told me that they are told to only look at the address - and ignore the names --- so, I put all my fun into the name -- but I keep the address very clear.

My son feels like some customers are sympathetic and reasonable in their dealings with him - and other customers are angry before the conversation even starts. He was a communication major in college and spent 10 years in the restaurant world, so he has a lot of experience at service. He takes it in stride when someone needs to vent about something. I've enjoyed learning about the PO - and it will be interesting to see if he sticks with it. They do have all kinds of jobs besides delivering.

Most of us have bonded with a mailman at some point - my favorite will always be *Dave* -- and since he has retired, I've been ornery about the different people who have been on our route. But, I'm going to be nicer to them - because I realize that being appreciated might help them through their day.

And finally -- I am going to start sending my holiday mailing in November. It won't make a difference -- but, I can't bear to add to the load - plus - it might insure that my mail doesn't get lost.

Title: Re: Holiday Hellos 2019
Post by: Erica McPhee on January 14, 2020, 11:52:11 AM
That is SO insightful Jean! Thank you for sharing. So yes - it sounds so unmanageable. I will also make note to send my personal cards in November. I have cut way back on shipping packages during the holidays. I only sent one box this year. And I only placed two Amazon orders. In previous years I have ordered box after box - and was disgusted with all the wasteful cardboard I packaged up for recycling afterward. I shopped local this year for almost everything.

I will also be mindful of that in terms of exchange envelopes I send as well.  ;D