H. lives on a rural mail route, and her mailbox is secure, with a lock and a slot just big enough to slide letters through. When a package containing an expensive camera lens went missing recently, she learned that her mail carrier had put the package in the “parcle box.” The what? Oh, the unused but not secure mailbox on her street that some neighbor wrote “parcel box” on a long time ago. H. had no indication that her package had been placed in the box until the mailman left her a note about it. By then, the box had already been stolen. The post office, for its part, insists that the package was delivered as addressed.
My mail carrier delivered a package for me last week on Wednesday, or maybe Thursday. The problem is, he did not deliver it to me. He placed it in an old mailbox a few mailboxes down from mine that someone had written “parcel box” on. The mailbox door has no handle and it doesn’t latch. As far as I know that box has been there for years and I have never had to use it, nor did I think that I needed to check it.
But, let’s say the mail carrier felt he could leave the package there. I would have expected him to leave me a note telling me he did so.
On Saturday he must have noticed that no one picked up the package so he wrote me a small misspelled note to tell me that I had a parcel in the “parcle” box. I take a look. Nothing in the box.
I call my neighbors – oh yes, they say, it was there a few days ago.
I talk to the carrier. He is trying to tell me that it is OK for him to “deliver” a parcel by placing it in a random box and not letting me know it is there. He suggests I talk to the neighbor across the street because he always gets his packages there.
I ask if he had a tracking number. He doesn’t know if it had a tracking number. Can he describe the package…it was a small box he says.
I have been calling the supervisors – [J] and [B] so far. They say they will get back to me or they tell me that if the package is not insured they are not responsible.
The thief that took the parcel now knows that he can drive by and check the “parcel box” and probably help himself to anything that the hapless mail carrier thinks of putting in there.
What he lost for me is a brand new camera lens. Score!!
We checked back in with H. to find out more, and she explained that the post office is now dragging its feet on her insurance claim, insisting that putting her package in a completely random box is totally okay.
So far the USPS is using the excuse that the package was delivered as addressed. I am appealing that decision to reimburse me for the insured package since it was clearly not delivered as addressed. We have since realized that it happened twice in the same week, so I am not sure the second package will get treated any better by the USPS people in charge of reimbursements.
Well, great. Now we’ve given criminals everywhere a fabulous new idea: install random “parcel boxes” in every neighborhood, then drive around to collect their goodies.