BOSTON (CBS) – UPS and FedEx have a PR problem. And they’re not alone.

Many packages guaranteed to arrive by Christmas were not delivered and we are still not exactly sure when they will be. Even after weeks of hype about irresistible deals online. We were told e-tailers had retailers on the ropes.

It’s become the great irony of this holiday shopping season – the very system that was supposed to change the game, make our lives easier and put Mom and Pop out of business, failed. At least for some.

Keep in mind that tens of millions of packages were processed and delivered on time.

But that’s little consolation if your child came downstairs to find nothing under the tree.

And the more you look into what went wrong the more you understand how many layers there are.

UPS and FedEx are blaming the weather and a last minute rush that created a backlog of orders. Which we might accept if the online stores and carriers didn’t go out of their way to guarantee last minute shipping.

Apparently more people bought into the hype than they expected.

And by the way, it’s not just UPS and FedEx. The shipping companies also point to Amazon and the other online retailers and their wholesalers and other third-party venders who manage their own supply chains. A lot of moving parts. And when one of them breaks you now know what happens.

This won’t stop us from shopping online. Far from. Sales next Christmas will probably be even higher. The stores are already offering reimbursements and discounts to make good.

But after this experience, Amazon’s idea of delivering packages by drone sounds a lot more practical.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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