Ask the Expert: The UPS Store Owner

By Tom Francella
UPS Store Owner

Tom Francella is a local UPS store owner! During the holidays, we all have questions about shipping, timelines and best shipping options. He was able to answer all our questions with great clarity so that we are prepared for the holiday season!

How long have you been at The UPS Store?

25 years.

If I want to make sure my package makes it to my relatives in time for Christmas, when is the LAST day I should send it out?

We anticipate that Monday, December 14, will be the busiest shipping day this year for Christmas packages. Some key shipping dates for UPS, as an example, are:

In previous years, these would be the last dates to have something guaranteed by Christmas, but this year, due to COVID-19, all carriers have lifted their guaranteed delivery dates. It is important to remember that a lot more people will be shopping online this year and many who would typically travel to see friends and relatives during the holidays will have to stay home and ship their gifts rather than hand-deliver them. Due to these novel situations, we are anticipating the volume of packages in the shipping system to be tremendously higher this year than normal, so we are urging our customers to plan ahead and ship out their gifts as early as possible.

Why is the cost of stamps continuing to rise?

Most carriers have annual rate increases, and this year we’ve seen an increased demand for mailing and shipping services. As with other carriers, it is important for the Post Office to adjust their stamp prices accordingly with the costs of gas, labor, maintenance, etc.

What is the most bizarre thing you have ever seen mailed?

We have seen a wide variety of unusual items for shipment over the years, including 200-year-old family bibles and very “abstract” art pieces. But, the most interesting thing we have ever shipped, I’d say, was a 12-foot taxidermy alligator being shipped by the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife to a museum in the northeast.

Is there any reason I should be worried about my mail carrying COVID-19 into my house?

To my knowledge, at this time, I am not aware of anybody contracting COVID-19 from handling mail or packages. All I can say is that we strongly encourage people to practice proper hygiene and safety recommendations provided by the CDC, such as washing hands regularly.

When I insure a package, what exactly am I insuring it for?

Each carrier has different requirements and limitations for what they offer. At The UPS Store, we offer “Declared Value Coverage” for an additional cost. If an item is lost or damaged, The UPS Store can reimburse the value of the item if packed properly and proof of value is provided (i.e. receipt, sales price, etc.).

When The UPS Store handles both the packing and shipping of items, those packages qualify for our “Pack & Ship Guarantee”, which entitles the shipper to reimbursement of packing, shipping and declared value if the package is lost or damaged.

I need to mail medical supplies to my kid at college, is that allowed?

The type of medical supplies may make a difference on how and when they can be shipped. Prescription medications can be shipped to the patient in most cases, but if the medication is a liquid or in a pressurized dispenser, it may have restrictions on how it must be shipped or packaged. Check with your carrier of choice to see what their requirements or restrictions might be.


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