Thousands of pounds worth of goods bought online, including electronic items, had to be sorted in a Northampton car park after a major distributor's partner went bust.
Hermes staff were told to sort packages in a business car park yards away in Northampton this morning.
Eyewitnesses described how pallets of goods - from brands including H&M and Panasonic - were unloaded from a lorry and piled on top of each other in order to fulfill their orders on time.
A spokesman for Hermes told the BBC: "We were informed without notice that one of our third-party sub depot suppliers had gone into liquidation, leaving us without our usual premises for sorting local parcels this morning.
"In order to fulfill all orders on time, we implemented a quick and proven solution, monitored by three field managers and a depot supervisor, which allowed couriers to receive parcels at an agreed exchange point.
"Alternative plans have now been put in place and due to this quick action we envisage there will be no delays to deliveries across the area."
One worker on the industrial estate, Paul Harper, told the Chron there were around a dozen employees sorting expensive goods in the open air.
"We went round there at about a quarter to nine and this stuff was all piled up in the yard," Mr Harper said.
"The yard was absolutely full up."
Another witness said the goods were spread across the car park.
"I just saw this lorry," he said: "I noticed it park up there and they started distributing the goods out to all these people."
"I didn't think they were meant to do that."