By Arlene Jones
When I deliver packages, my mission is very simple: Find the correct address, hopefully gain entrance, leave the package, take a picture and be on my way.
Of those five things, gaining entrance to multi-unit buildings is the biggest challenge. Some buildings have special codes that they give to the delivery people so we can get into the main entrance and leave the package in a secure location. Others have prison bars across the front of their property, which makes it impossible to get inside. To top it off, they have no doorbell system attached to that wrought iron fencing. Why these people order packages I have no clue. Unlike the post office, we don't have special keys that unlock doors. So it is frustrating beyond belief to read the notes from someone telling me there's a special way they want their package delivered, and I can't even get through the front door.
I think Chicago needs to have an ordinance mandating that buildings of six units or more need to have doorbell systems that allow delivery people to gain entrance to the lobby/foyer. There's nothing more dangerous than standing outside with several huge boxes, trying to find a way to get inside. I am constantly on alert for people with bad intentions who think those boxes contain iPhones, iPads, or iPods. In reality, I'm more likely to have dog toys, dog food or something else for the four-legged critter that runs the household.
In all seriousness, there is quite a bit of danger to delivering packages with obvious markings. I was delivering in East Garfield Park, and it was hard to see the address on the two-flat units. In the meantime, the person who lives next door was standing on the dark porch telling me to come over there. But it wasn't the address I wanted. As I placed the package in the specialty delivery box the customer had installed on their fence, I shook my head in disgust at a neighbor who was willing to try to steal another neighbor's package.
Package delivery is not going away. It is the wave of the future. Therefore I think we need a federal law requiring that all houses have the address painted in reflective paint on either the curb, driveway, or front steps. For the life of me, I don't know how emergency first responders can find the right address when these people go out of their way to make their address impossible to be seen or found.
Even worse are the apartment buildings that do not put any instructions as to how the apartment numbers are assigned. One would think after the murder of Botham Jean that buildings would be much more responsible in identifying apartments so that kind of mistake could never happen again. But even the ritziest buildings in Chicago don't necessarily have signs telling you which way to go. In the event of a medical emergency when seconds count, I would hate to be the paramedic trying to figure out whether to go left or right when exiting the elevator.
I also don't understand why people who don't have screen doors also tend not to have anything on the porch where you can hide the package. I am notorious for hiding packages behind shovels. It is one of the few tools people can leave out on their front porch that the criminal element will rarely ever grab and steal.
So the next time you want to order something, please think of how it will get delivered. I know your delivery driver will appreciate that!
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