October 18, 2021

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

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Recently one of my siblings (we call him 3-of-6, except our sister, 1-of-6, who calls him 2-of-5) took to social media with a rant regarding package delivery services. Apparently after delivering a package to 3-of-6’s front stoop the miscreant sneaked off without ringing the doorbell or knocking, leaving the package unattended to the delight of stoop thieves who have been ramping up activities as the holidays approach. Even though 3-of-6 was able to retrieve the package before any absconding took place, he wondered when the policy had changed.

Many of 3-of-6’s followers reinforced his frustration and one in particular wondered why the two major services had taken to dumping the packages at the post office relying on them to deliver, thereby absolving themselves of any knocking or ringing responsibility and subsequently adding at least a day to the delivery schedule.

I can commiserate with both scenarios. I too, had noticed that whenever I had a package delivered via UPS or FeDex they no longer rang the bell, but I have a security camera on my stoop that transmits an image of the invader to a receiver in my living room which beeps to alert me to the intrusion.

However, expanding on the second scenario, my post office does not deliver to my house. Apparently they no longer subscribe to the RFD concept, but I cannot find any mention of when this practice ended. Before RFD started in 1896, rural inhabitants had to pick up mail themselves at sometimes distant post offices. That is precisely what I have to deal with now.

I have three choices:
1. Install a roadside mailbox within a cluster of boxes one and a half miles from my house at the end of a completely different road from the one I live on.
2. Use general delivery at the post office.
3. Pay for a post office box.

I use option 3 and pay for a post office box which makes my standard of service pre-1896. I’ll admit I don’t have to ride 20 miles in a buckboard to get my mail, but the post office doesn’t have to ride 20 miles in a buckboard to deliver it either. The fact that I have a box at the post office ironically complicates the process.

Many online retailers who ship using UPS and/or FeDex refuse to accept a post office box as an address, and some who do, truncate or drop the post office box when creating the shipping label. UPS has its “Surepost” which sometimes isn’t so sure and FedEX has “Smartpost” which also sometimes isn’t so smart. Since I have no control over whether a retailer uses home delivery or Sure/Smart post, if my package arrives at the post office with no box number it will be delayed from two days to forever.

Recently I received an email notification from UPS that my package had been delivered to the post office at 10:32 am via Surepost. I told a clerk at the Post office around noon that I had received the notification from UPS that it had been delivered. He said, “UPS, that’s the brown guys, right?”

I said “Yes.”

He said, “Well, we’re the blue guys.”

I said, “Yeah, I know the difference, the brown guys deliver to my house, and the blue guys don’t. Whenever the blue guys get involved I have to pick it up here.”

But back to the question raised by 3-of-6. Everything I can find leads me to believe that they are supposed to knock or ring the bell, but I can think of a few reasons why they don’t.

1. They’re in a hurry and want to get out of there before you waste their time with chit-chat.

2. Their knuckles or fingers are sore from knocking or pushing a button all day.

3. Ten percent of the driver’s mothers taught them it was impolite to ring and run which makes them exempt and the other 90% say, “If they don’t have to, we don’t either.”

So 3-of-6, get a dog that will bark its head off whenever anybody comes near the porch or for ten bucks at Harbor Freight you can get a wireless motion detector that rings a chime inside your house, and you don’t have to lock it in the guest room when you have company.

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