From Matt Rhoades. Email him at [email protected]
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which can only mean… stolen packages. Take notice, Borderstanis, especially if you expect new arrivals from the suburbs and rural America. Here is an ugly little fact about the holiday season when you live downtown: packages get stolen a lot this time of year.
Thieves literally make the rounds — watching for delivery trucks — and looking for untended boxes on front steps, underneath stairs and inside unlocked doors to building entrances.
A Logan Circle neighbor emailed me yesterday to say she saw a van driving slowly down a residential street — and thought nothing of it until what happened next. One of the passengers jumped out, ran up to a box sitting on a front step, grabbed it and got back in the van. Yes, she did call 911.
Always require someone to sign and take possession of your deliveries. A box sitting on a front step or inside an unlocked entryway is a tempting thing for thieves — especially in December. No doorman? No one will be home? Ship it to your office or pick it up.
Here’s my personal tale of woe.
A few weeks ago I bought a suit. I liked it so much that I wanted the same suit in a different color. “No problem,” said the (wonderful, BTW) saleswoman. “We will ship it to you.” Never in a million years did it occur to me that it would be shipped without requiring a signature by the recipient. So, I did not ask about it.
I learned the hard way last week that no signature was required for the delivery of my suit. I came home and saw the top of a large box (see photos above) sticking above the window line in the front door of our building. It’s the location of our mailboxes and it is unlocked; the security door is inside the entryway. The culprits had opened the boxes — taking both the coat and pants — but were kind enough to leave the boxes and packing slip.
Who was responsible? I contacted the shipper who told me the clothing manufacturer had not required a signature. “Not us,” in other words. I contacted the clothing manufacturer that shipped my suit and was told that their contract with the retail store did not require signatures on deliveries. So, “not them,” either.
Last stop was the retailer. After explaining the situation, I was given two options: They would reship a suit to me or I could get my money back. By this point, I just wanted my money back. BTW, I explained (rather pointedly), that you cannot ship an item, especially a large one, to a downtown location without requiring a signer — especially at Christmastime!
I’ll get the suit at the store, thank you.
This post originally ran on December 22, 2011. However, with the recent spike in neighborhood crime, Borderstan would like to remind you to be cautious when ordering holiday gifts online.