Ship gifts away, it's Free Shipping Day!

FedEx workers sort through packages as they are placed on trucks to be delivered in Miami, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Today is a holiday, of sorts. More accurately, it's a holiday made up for the holidays. This is Free Shipping Day. Hundreds of online retailers are offering, yes, free shipping, with guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Sally Herships has the details.


SALLY HERSHIPS: Kate Godfrey lives in San Francisco. She's unemployed at the moment. So this holiday season she's making jam and having friends over for coffee rather then buying everyone gifts. The gifts she does buy have to meet a certain standard.

KATE GODFREY: Now I won't order unless I can get free shipping because the shipping just takes a big bite out my gift budget.

Godfrey will have a lot more opportunities to avoid that bite if she does her online shopping today. It's Free Shipping Day, and I know what you're thinking. Lots of companies have shipping every day. And you're right. But today more then 600 retailers, like Toys"R"Us, FAO Schwarz, and CompUSA are waving shipping fees. That's twice as many as last year.

Dwayne McPeeks works at AutoGeek.net. He likes being in the company of big companies.

DWAYNE MCPEEKS: It's that name brand recognition. People see Wal-Mart and Autogeek alongside Wal-Mart and Target. It becomes almost as well known as them.

Pearl Doughtery works at American Muscle.com. Her site caters to Mustang enthusiasts -- the car, not the horse. American Muscle has also been offering free shipping in advance of Free Shipping Day. But Doughtery says even if Free Shipping Day is a made-up holiday, it helps to reassure stressed-out customers.

PEARL DOUGHTERY: They'll ask is my order going to get here on time? Should I get a guaranteed shipping method? Should I pay for shipping to make sure that it gets here on time?

After today many companies will return to charging for shipping. And you may need the really expensive kind to get your gifts there on time.

I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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