UPS Readies for Its Busiest Day of the Year

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- UPS expects to deliver 34 million packages globally on Monday, or 394 packages every second.

The company has invested $500 million to avoid last year's failure to deliver millions of packages in time for Christmas.

This year's projected record level for single day deliveries beats last year’s "peak day" deliveries of 31 million, according to a UPS spokesman.

The company delivers 17 million on an average day.

Here are some of the things that UPS has invested in:

1. Package Recipient Control

Customers can track the timing of packages using UPS MyChoice online or with a mobile app. They can also set up alternative delivery locations on both platforms, like a neighbor’s home or a UPS Store location. They can even get as specific as a "back door."

Registered MyChoice members can get a free text or email message the day before the package arrives. If the initial delivery time doesn’t work, there are options to reschedule or reroute the package for $5.

2. Workers Don't Have to Read Zip Codes

"Next Generation Sort Aisle" is UPS' system at three U.S. locations that scans packages quickly and flashes instructions to workers, so they don't have to memorize hundreds of ZIP Codes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Basically, we can automatically re-route package sort so that when the UPSer scans a package it tells them what chute to put it in," a UPS spokesman told ABC News Monday morning.

3. Reroute Packages in Bad Weather

Before UPS' latest technology was implemented, "a supervisor would have to walk the aisle and tell each of the approximately 50 workers in Atlanta separately -- and hope they would remember," the Wall Street Journal reported. Now, UPS' system reroutes packages at a "moment's notice."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Existing Home Sales Fall 6.1% in November

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fewer Americans were out shopping for homes last month.

The National Association of Realtors announced Monday sales of existing homes in the U.S. dropped 6.1 in November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.93 million.

"I think it has to do with the very unexpected cold front that hit the country in November and froze people in a little early and of course, we've got the holidays and sales are typically slow this time of year," says Kathy Fettke, CEO of Real Wealth Network.

While sales were down from October, they have risen 2.1 percent from November of 2013.

"I don't think it's a sign of a weakening trend," Fettke says of last month's numbers. "It's just a blip."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Where to Order Online Gifts in Time for Christmas

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ready or not, Christmas is just days away. The time to buy gifts online in time for Christmas Eve is drawing near, but there's still time to order with several retailers -- some of which offer free faster delivery.

UPS has invested $5 million to have a smoother delivery day on Monday, its busiest of the year. To receive gifts by Christmas eve, UPS customers must choose 2nd Day Air and ship Monday for delivery on Wednesday, Dec. 24. For customers willing to ship by Tuesday, you can have delivery on Wednesday, Dec. 24.

And while some of these retailers offer free next-day shipping, others will charge you as much as $25 for faster service. When worst comes to worst, many of these online retailers offer digital gift cards that you can email your loved ones.

Be ready for unexpected weather delays or delivery mishaps, just in case.

Here's where to shop:


Monday is the last day to order for Christmas with Amazon Prime's free Two-Day Shipping. On Tuesday, you can choose one-day shipping to get a gift in time for Christmas Eve. On Wednesday, pricier same-day delivery is available only in select cities.


Customers for this Boston-based menswear brand must order by 10 a.m. ET Tuesday and choose overnight shipping for Christmas Eve delivery.


Buy winter accessories, leather goods and cashmere staples at Everlane. Customers in New York City and San Francisco can even choose one-hour delivery service. Everlane will be extending their hours closer to the holidays, including delivery on Christmas Eve.


Get overnight shipping for $10 before noon ET on Tuesday. For an extra discount of 30 percent off full-price styles and extra 40 percent off winter sale styles in stores and online, use code "HOLIDAYTIME."


Order by 5 p.m. ET Monday with free next-day shipping to get your gifts by Dec. 24.

NRML.com custom earphones

Custom 3-D printed earphones are ordered, printed, shipped and delivered in 48 hours and gift cards are also available online. The headphones are customized by the user and ordered via a free mobile app. They are engineered and 3-D printed in New York City at the company's flagship for $199.


OTTE boutiques and collection is described as offering "understated luxury and modern design." Choose overnight delivery on Monday or Tuesday to arrive in time for Christmas.


OWEN is a 1,800-square foot boutique in New York City with over 50 established and emerging men’s and women’s wear designers. Owner Phillip Salem says, “Fashion to me is a preference, not a rule, so I focus on pieces that are modern, structured and detail oriented -- with a subtle flair for the dramatic.”

Choose overnight delivery on Monday or Tuesday to arrive in time for Christmas Day.


Free shipping on your $49 order, no promo code needed. Add $15 off your order of $75 or more if you enter promo code "holiday15" at Checkout.


Order by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday to get your gifts on or before Dec. 24 with next-day shipping.


Starbucks offers priority overnight (one business day) for as much as $25 or two business days for $15. Members receive an additional 10 percent off "End of Year Sale" items through Jan. 5 with code MSREXTRA in the U.S. only while supplies last.


It's too late for Target.com delivery in time for Christmas, but desperate shoppers may have the option of store pickup. On Christmas Eve, shoppers can place online orders for store pickup as late as 5 p.m. and have their items ready that day.


Order your kitchenware and gourmet food items by Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET for next-day shipping.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Ruble Makes Slight Recovery but Russian Economy Remains Fragile

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- The Russian ruble has bounced back a bit since last week's disaster, but can the rally last?

On Monday, Russian deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said yes, predicting that the ruble will continue rising.

But Alexei Kudrin, Russian President Vladimir Putin's long-standing and highly respected former finance minster, painted a much darker picture, predicting a depressing year ahead in Russia, complete with price inflation and falling standard of living.

Already, many Western products have hiked up prices or halted shipments while the ruble remains unstable. Apple's online store is back but with much higher prices. Many foreign car makers, however, are still holding off until they know where the ruble is going.

The big question now is: How will Russians will react?

In any other country, the government would take the fall. But Russia is different.

While some in Moscow are starting to blame Putin, many Russians outside the capital still see him as the only one who can save them.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Holiday Sales Will Likely Rise 4-5% from 2013, Analysts Say

Darren Hauck/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite a disappointing start to the holiday shopping rush, with sluggish sales on Black Friday, overall holiday sales are likely rise 4 to 5 percent compared to last year, according to analysts.

One likely reason for the boost: Lower gas prices, which have left consumers with more money in their pockets.

Consumer electronics chains and home improvement retailers, in particular, may benefit from the last minute shopping trips.

Teen retailers, however, may turn out to be this year's biggest losers. Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO stepped down this month, and two chains -- Delia’s and Deb Shops -- are going out of business.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Does Anyone Truly Take Time Off from Work Anymore?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you take time off from work for the holidays, do you really take time off? 

The data protection company Zix recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 full-time employees and found that of those who plan to take time off for the holiday, 57 percent said they intend to spend part of their holiday break working. Forty-nine percent said they’d work at least an hour a day, and one-third said they’d work at least two hours. Twelve percent said they plan to work more than six hours per day while “off.”

Observers note that working for just a little bit is understandable in this era of smartphones. The survey found that 80 percent of employees admit to responding to emails after work even when they’ve enlisted an out-of-office reply. 

And while keeping up with a constant stream of emails while you're off can be stressful, sifting through hundreds of unread messages when you return to work can be worse.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Car Rentals Soar During Christmastime

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Renting a car over the holidays?  Be prepared to spend big bucks.

A new study examined the car rental rates of 30 popular U.S. destinations over the period spanning December 23 to 27 and found sky-high holiday increases.  For example, in West Palm Beach, Florida, the daily rental rate for the cheapest available car is $133.  That’s a 600-percent increase over the regular, non-holiday rates in that town.

New York City has the highest Christmas season average daily rate -- $178 a day -- but that’s only a 177-percent increase over regular rates.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 U.S. destinations with the highest car rental rates during the Christmas season, along with a percentage-wise comparison to regular, non-holiday prices.

1. New York City, $178 (+177%)
2. West Palm Beach, $133 (+583%)
3. Honolulu, $106 (+278%)
4. Fort Myers, $98 (+302%)
5. Sarasota, $97 (+81%)
6. Portland, $89 (+155%)
7. Denver, $88 (+287%)
8. Baltimore, $85 (+76%)
9. Boston, $81 (+94%)
10. Philadelphia, $80 (+14%)

The survey was conducted by CheapCarRental.net.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


New Wristband Tells Your DVR to Record When You Doze Off

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Big news for couch potatoes who’ve fallen asleep in front of the TV and missed a show they wanted to watch.  

Virgin Media will begin a trial next year on KipstR, a new wearable device that will monitor your pulse and detect when you've fallen asleep.

The wristband will then mimic your TiVo remote control and tell it to pause the current show and begin recording it for later viewing.

The device was designed by two British teens, ages 14 and 15.

Interested in signing up for the free trial? Go to Virginmedia.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Yankees Charity to Pay For Education of Slain Police Officer's Children

Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Yankees' Silver Shield Foundation is offering to pay for any and all education expenses for the children of Rafael Ramos, one of the two NYPD officers killed Saturday in Brooklyn.

In a phone interview with ABC News on Sunday, the group's chairman William Walters said the group has already reached out to the police department, but has not been in contact with Ramos' family.

The Silver Shield Goundation was started by James Fuchs and George Steinbrenner in 1982 to pay for the education expenses of all children and spouses of New York law enforcement and other authorities killed in the line of duty.

"We just want to do good for these people that take care of us," Walters said.

Walters said the foundation plans to set aside funds Monday for both of Ramos' children, and also said money will be made available to both of the officers' spouses for any education related expenses they might take on.

Officer Wenjian Liu, 32, the other officer killed Saturday, was married just two months ago.

Ramos' 13-year-old son Jaden Ramos posted a message on Facebook Saturday evening.

In a news conference Saturday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he met with both Jaden and Officer Ramos' wife, and said Jaden "couldn't comprehend what happened to his father."

Ramos and Liu were shot with "no warning, no provocation" shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday as they sat in their patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


LA Dodgers Are Biggest Spenders in Major League Baseball

Harry How/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- After a fifteen year run, the New York Yankees are no longer the biggest spenders in baseball.

Based on final calculations made by Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were knocked out in the divisional playoffs this year, reportedly finished the 2014 season with a record payroll of over $257 million. The Dodgers owe $26.6 million in luxury tax.

The Yankees, the previous biggest spenders, cut almost $10 million off their payroll, but they still owe $18 million in luxury tax.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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