For many in the area, some Christmas trees may seem a little empty this year.
According to the United States Postal Service's Maryville postmaster Paul Eschbacher, Jr., there is something awry with the delivery of packages shipped through FedEx.
Eschbacher, who has worked for the USPS for 18 years - the last two in Maryville, said that FedEx sends packages to the USPS, who takes them "the last mile."
Roughly three years ago, FedEx drivers brought packages from online stores such as Amazon to the post office directly.
Since then, the company has begun a process of sub-contracting delivery of packages from their warehouse in Kansas City to post offices in the area.
According to Eschbacher, approximately 500 packages meant for people in the Maryville area have turned up missing since October 26.
"We've been fighting this since Thanksgiving when we really realized that something was wrong," Eschbacher said. "But all I can do about it is make phone calls. My hands are tied at this point."
It is unclear exactly where the problem lies, as Eschbacher claims that they seem to have disappeared in between FedEx's warehouse and the USPS office in Maryville.
Eschbacher said that his office has received 100's of calls regarding missing packages, and while FedEx claims that they have been delivered, there are no records of the packages being scanned into the USPS system.
When online orders are made, the customer typically receives a tracking number to use on FedEx's website, which shows the location of the order and an estimated delivery date.
The problem, Eschbacher said, is that once packages leave the warehouse, FedEx marks them as "delivered" online.
This is causing frustration among the many customers that are missing packages, especially during the holiday season.
"When people search for their items, it shows a delivery, but they were not received," Eschbacher said. "If and when packages do show up, they will be delivered."
Eschbacher said that FedEx representatives have not cooperated with his office in terms of locating the missing packages and resolving the problem, which he believes lies with the sub-contractors.
FedEx was reached for comment by the Maryville Daily Forum, and replied with the following statement.
"This behavior is not reflective of FedEx's commitment to provide exceptional customer service. We take these matters very seriously and are working closely with affected customers. Customers continue to have visibility into the status of their shipments at www.fedex.com and should direct any questions to 1-800-Go-FedEx."
That sentiment might not be satisfactory to many who have spent money online for holiday gifts. It is not enough for Eschbacher, who said that this situation is the most bizarre he has seen in his almost 20 years of postal service.
Page 2 of 2 - He said that for now, Amazon and other online stores are starting to use UPS, which still brings packages directly to USPS sites for "the last mile" instead of using sub-contractors.
"I don't care who delivers them," Eschbacher said. "It's about the people that are missing packages."
Eschbacher said that some measures could be taken to resolve the problem, but that the USPS and his office do not have the power to find out exactly where the packages are vanishing.
"We don't have the jurisdiction to send inspectors to investigate the warehouses," Eschbacher said.
"If we did, we could have a better idea of exactly where these packages are."