Lakewood Chocolatier Not Accepting Orders The Postal Service Can't Deliver
Fear’s Confections in Lakewood has delivered more chocolates and sweets in 2020 than it has in the entire last decade.
That’s how deeply the pandemic is impacting delivery orders, with people staying at home and mailing gifts rather than exchanging them in person, said owner Cassandra Fear.
With Christmas around the corner, delivery orders have ramped up even more, with her local mail carrier picking up about 65 packages a day over the last week. She said she gave him a “big box of chocolates” as a thank you.
But now Fear is unable to accept delivery orders until after the new year, out of concern that she can’t ensure the orders will be fulfilled and delivered in a reasonable time because of postal service delays.
Friends who also own small businesses have been sharing stories of customers demanding refunds because a package hasn’t arrived, “even though the stuff is in the mail," the chocolatier said.
“They took the time and made it and everything. And small businesses can't afford to just give everybody their money back while they're still in the mail,” Fear said. “But seeing my friends processing these refunds and stuff like that, I was like, I got to shut it down. And I'm sure I've missed out on a ton of orders because I've had people contacting me, and I'm like, we can't for so many reasons and it really stinks.”
Cassandra Fear said her mail carrier has picked up, on average, 65 boxes a day this week from Fear's Confections in Lakewood, as part of the Christmas rush. [Cassandra Fear]
COVID-19 has also reduced Fear’s staffing levels, impacting her ability to quickly fulfill orders. As for the postal service delivery backlog being felt across the country, Fear has experienced it herself.
“I shipped a package to Florida Nov. 24. And [the customer] reached out a few days ago and still hadn't gotten it,” Fear said. “And I do two-day priority on everything. So people usually get their stuff in a maximum of three days. So if it's been weeks, it's bad.”
The last time Fear went to the Lakewood Post Office, the line was out the door and the “massive” parking lot was so full, she had to "wait to even park.” The business owner has seen the images of “trucks just sitting there” at the Cleveland postal distribution center and other images of “buckets and buckets of packages and stuff sitting unsorted at the Postal Service.”
“It's terrifying, really,” Fear said.
Particularly because she ships perishable items like chocolate all over the country, Fear said she needs to be able to count on packages being delivered before “it turns into a puddle itself.”
Despite losing delivery orders because of her self-imposed ban on last-minute shipping this year, Fear said she is focused on the revenue Fear’s Confections has generated from fulfilling the many orders that have already been placed.