The Hustle

Warehouse workers, truckers, postal staff: People who power our mail face major strain

In all phases of America’s shipping pipeline, frontline staffers are at risk.


March 26, 2020

If you’re stuck at home trying to ride out the pandemic, you’ve probably done some online shopping — maybe even for things that aren’t truly essential.

But before you open that cardboard box, think about the workers who brought the package to your door.

In all phases of America’s shipping pipeline, frontline staffers are at risk. Here’s a closer look at what they’re up against.

Phase 1: Your order starts at the warehouse

Amazon is one of the few places left standing for items you can’t get at your local grocery. The company is hiring like crazy, but cracks in the base o’ Bezos are starting to show:

The company is prioritizing shipments of essential goods, but even those might be hard to come by. A 12-pack of Amazon’s Presto paper towels is out of stock until the second week of April.

Phase 2: It’s on the truck

Crazy fluctuations in supply and demand have the trucking industry swerving to avoid danger. Drivers have lots to haul but little to bring back on the return trip:

Then there are the on-the-job struggles. Some truck stops are shutting down eateries and restrooms, and drivers are running low on sanitary supplies.

Phase 3: It’s out for delivery

Now your package is in the hands of a delivery driver or a postal worker. They’re all being hit hard:

Keep in mind: The Postal Service says there’s currently no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through the mail. So here’s a suggestion: Show the workers who deliver your packages and letters a little love.

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