I’ve been waiting all day for a shipment that is “out for delivery” and requires a signature. I really want to go out and run errands, but I know that as soon as I do, the van will pull up and I won’t be there to sign for the item. If I miss the delivery, I will have to sit around all day tomorrow waiting. The same principles apply to workers who are supposed to show up on a given day and say that they are “on their way”, arriving hours after the original appointment.
Obviously I can do other things while I wait (I’m doing something else right now), but there are things I really need to go outside and do – “outside” meaning various places around town, not puttering in the rain in my garden. With all the technology we have, you would think it should be possible to communicate with van drivers and get an approximate delivery time, or else sign virtually so that they can drop the item off without a signature. Most things do, in fact, just get dropped off, but others require a signature. Perfumer’s alcohol is one such item. I buy it in 5-gallon drums (easier to lift, store, and pour than the 55-gallon size!) but go through it pretty fast, so occasionally find myself waiting to sign the form saying that I am the licensed recipient, presumably keeping all of those notorious front-door package thieves from stealing and drinking it.
What is it with those people who randomly steal packages from front porches without knowing the contents? Do they re-sell the items on e-bay or a garage sale? Do they try to return them for a refund? Do they try to figure out what to do with a $1.50 replacement part for a 20-year old washing machine or a 6-pack of dog de-worming meds? Do they just throw away all those things that they don’t want? I’ve read that people have started baiting their porches with Amazon packages filled with animal feces and other unpleasant things, or booby-trapping the packages in some way. Good old vigilante justice – it probably works on a local level.
At least I’m glad to report that my delivery came while I was writing this and was duly signed for and put away, so now I still have time to drop off packages at UPS and buy dinner at Trader Joe’s. At this time in the history of the world I’m happy for small things that go right.
[Painting by Carl Muecke, 19th century; FedEx van photo from Wikimedia; other photos from a general Google search]