Forget festive goodwill – ‘tis the season to strike. Today, the infamous Southern rail franchise reached a new low by telling its passengers simply “not to travel” amid large-scale employee walkouts. Post Office workers have now joined the trend by announcing five-day industrial action that will last until Christmas Eve. So it’s somewhat fitting that Unite has chosen today to threaten a strike of Argos delivery drivers over the festive period.

According to Unite, the proposed strike against Wincanton – the logistics company that employs drivers at Argos’ national distribution centre – could cause “havoc and mayhem” for Christmas deliveries. It conjures up images of Mum and Dad sitting guiltily around the Christmas tree with a blank space where the Hatchimals egg was meant to be, had it not been for their absent delivery driver. As their child cries tears of unbridled despair, all they can do is down the Bucks Fizz and make a mental note never to shop at Argos again.

The timing could not be worse – coinciding with the first Christmas following Sainsbury’s acquisition of Argos. During the acquisition phase, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe made much of the speedy delivery options offered by the company. He argued the ability to offer home delivery within four hours of ordering (and free in-store fast track collection) catered for today’s increasingly demanding consumer. And crucially, it fitted nicely into Sainsbury’s strategy to serve customers “wherever and wherever they want”.

Customers who find this promise lacking over a period as important as Christmas are unlikely to ever come back. And Tesco would be more than willing to take on these dissatisfied shoppers; it has already made clear its intention to compete with Argos by running a match on more than 8,000 prices this Christmas. Today’s Kantar Worldpanel data shows a declining market share for Sainsbury’s over the latest quarter (and a growing one for Tesco) – so the prospect of defecting customers will be particularly unwelcome.

But in reality, this apocalyptic scenario is unlikely to happen. Tesco faced a similar driver dispute last Christmas (and also back in 2012) but customer deliveries over the festive period remained blissfully unaffected. We know from experience the mere threat of a strike over Christmas is often enough to inspire urgent talks – and there is a meeting already scheduled between Wincanton and Acas for tomorrow. Even if the unthinkable does happen, large companies are often able to cope. Argos says it has “contingency plans” so, even if the strike does go ahead, customers are likely to still get their deliveries in time for Christmas. Unless, of course, Argos’ contingency plans involve Southern rail.