Poor little banjo on the doorstep
December 28, 2009 12:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I receive a USPS Parcel Post package that is (probably) getting delivered to my (closed) office this week?

So, I mistakenly thought that everyone uses tracking numbers these days and the guy I bought a banjo from didn't get one[1]. And then I mistakenly thought it would be delivered quickly, which it hasn't been. So, the office is closed (although the store downstairs is open, and I'm not there, and neither is anyone else, to receive the package.

My office is about 15 minutes walking away, so I'm checking daily, but nervous about this thing sitting outside in the cold and possibly getting stolen. I wrote and attached a Post-It to the door begging USPS to deliver it to my apartment instead, with full knowledge that that probably wouldn't work. Is there anything else I can do? This has taken a long time to ship, but I guess the holidays delayed it severely. For reference, it was shipped on the 11th from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Is there anything else I can do? Talk to a post office? Post a different note? I signed the one I wrote, if that helps at all. Stay at the office all day long? This sucks.

[1] I trust him, and have recourse, please don't derail with 'u got scammed!' answers.
posted by tmcw to Shopping (6 answers total)
The post office generally doesn't leave packages much anymore. Most of the time, they'll take it back to the office to try again. After doing that a few times, it'll sit there until you get it.

You could try calling and having them hold it. It's worth a shot anyways.
posted by valkyryn at 12:07 PM on December 28, 2009

You probably didn't get scammed, if the lack of a tracking number is your concern. USPS does not (generally -- there may be exceptions I'm unaware of) offer tracking on par with private shippers. They will confirm receipt and delivery, but the "on the truck" type of system is largely available only via UPS and FedEx.

What you want to do is actually pretty simple: call the delivering post office, as they can advise on you on what your options are, and will likely allow you to have the package held for pickup rather than delivered to your office.
posted by ellF at 12:28 PM on December 28, 2009

Go to the post office nearest your office, and put in a request to hold packages for pickup. It should be possible to do this just for packages, and just for packages addressed to you. (I.e. not for the whole office.)

You might be able to do this on the phone, but I wouldn't; if possible I'd go in person.

Then I'd put a "please do not leave packages" note (or better yet, a copy of the hold-packages request) on the door of the office just to remind the carrier in case the package doesn't get intercepted at the PO.

The note asking for the package to be redirected to your house probably won't (shouldn't, since it would be an easy path to mail fraud) work. I would remove it and just shoot for having the package held at the Post Office.

Remember to bring some form of government-issued ID when you go to pick up the package. If they are doing things right, they won't let you pick it up without ID.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:14 PM on December 28, 2009

UPS logistics are insanely bad- this year I had an eBay pkg. shipped to me on Dec 2 that didn't arrive until Dec 24, with SEVEN company errors in the meantime. But their customer service is pretty great- pleasant phone people who genuinely try to help. Call them and talk with them a lot- tell one person the whole entire situation and don't get off the phone until a resolution is reached (bc you'll never get the same operator twice, so make sure one person knows the whole story) and the problem can be solved.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:19 PM on December 28, 2009

I'm pretty sure USPS never leaves packages on doorsteps, particularly at businesses. But as soon as I say that, someone will chime in to assert the opposite!

So instead I'll just say that whenever I've been in this situation (as I frequently have), the post office leaves a little sticky note/form on the door. They will re-deliver N times, after which you can pick up the parcel at the post office. You will have to show ID when you pick up the package. They definitely will not deliver it to your home just because you asked.

Check the office door, the floor, the lobby door, and the surrounding environs for this sticky note. The ones I get are either Post-It yellow, or a pinkish-salmon color. If you can't find it, but you're sure it should have been delivered, then visit the nearest post office(s) and ask if it's there.

If you wait too long, it will be shipped back to the sender, so there is SOME urgency.
posted by ErikaB at 6:49 PM on December 28, 2009

Find the post office that is responsible for the Zip Code at your office. Go in person, bring ID, and ask them very politely if they can help you determine if your package has been delivered and explain to them that your office is closed this week, and since you're uncertain of when this package will arrive, that you wanted to check with them to insure delivery.

USPS is typically very good, but especially if you go in person. Also might be helpful to check with the letter carrier who delivers to your office. Hopefully it's the same person every day (but sometimes that's not the case). By speaking in person to the letter carrier, they can always keep an eye out for a large package and can hold it or suggest to you how it can be delivered.

Good luck!
posted by kuppajava at 7:52 AM on December 29, 2009

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