Sofi Madison’s Boston gift shop Olives & Grace has been struggling for the past few months. First came the pandemic, then constant shipping issues. “It’s exclusively a small-business business. We only work with emerging makers,” she explained. “We’re able to rely on USPS. That’s how we ship, exclusively.”

For the past several months, Madison’s shipments from vendors, all of which are other small businesses, have started coming in late, affecting the shop’s delicate supply chain. “Part of that is Covid,” she said. “Supplies are delayed.” Luckily, she said, her own shipments to customers haven’t suffered much, a rarity she attributes to her friendship with her local postal worker, Joe. “He’ll come by the shop first thing in the morning and make sure that we get our deliveries,” she said. “And he’ll swing by at the end of his shift to see if we need anything brought to the post office, because I’m seven months pregnant and he doesn’t want me having to go to the Postal Service to drop those off.”

But Madison is bracing for delays, especially heading into the holiday season. For months, the US Postal Service has had a backlog of packages and other mail due to a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and recent cost-cutting measures implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy, a Republican donor and ally of President Donald Trump, was appointed in May and has drastically changed the Postal Service in just a few months. He has cut overtime for postal workers, reduced the number of mail trucks, and taken sorting machines out of post offices, as reported by Recode. In August, DeJoy announced he’d put some of these new policies on hold until November after critics said they would likely affect the 2020 presidential election, a

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