The dreaded shipment notice

Shipping companies

You know the feeling – you arrive home from school or work to find a slip posted on your door advising you that an attempted delivery of your package failed. The slip will often also say that one or two more attempts will be made, but barring that, you’ll have to make a trip to a shipping depot that’s usually located in the middle of no where to obtain your goods.

I’m willing to bet that 90% of adults aren’t home between the hours of 9 AM – 5 PM, the time that deliveries usually occur at. So, why do most shipping companies only delivery parcels at these times? I understand that likely a majority of their shipments are to business addresses, making the current operating hours suffice for those situations, but certainly a significant number of packages are addressed to homes as well. While online shopping has slowed in recent times, it still accounts for $116 billion (USD) in the United States alone, and all that merchandise has to be shipped.

After hours shipping

So, why not offer “after-hours” shipping for the majority of consumers who are working during the day? After all, there are many other services, such as banking, that are starting to be offered into the evening when they’re more accessible to the general population. While this would undoubtedly cause some hassles with shipping companies, they’d save trouble in some respects, as there would be less missed deliveries and fewer repeated attempts. Additionally, when ordering items, one should be able to indicate whether day or evening service is desired – this would effectively help separate shipments into “business hours” and “after hours” categories.

It’s not all bad

What prompted me to think about this are a few recent experiences I had with local delivery companies. When I ordered furniture from IKEA for my new apartment, they used a local delivery service to ship the items to me. Thinking there was no way I’d be able to catch them, I let the superintendent of my building know about the shipment so that he would let them in on my behalf. Surprisingly, the delivery man called me and left a message on my answering machine asking what time would be best for me. Thankfully, after 6 PM worked for both of us. Maybe this is standard practice for furniture deliveries, but it was still nice not to have that hassle.

I also recently ordered a keyboard tray for my new desk from Office Depot. I hate having the keyboard on the same surface as everything else, and the new desk I got from IKEA didn’t have a keyboard tray. Shipping was free for the item, and again, the local delivery company (a different one from before) had the courtesy to call me before dropping off the item. As before, I was able to schedule an after-hours drop off time.

Perhaps I’m just biased because I don’t yet have a car and going to out-of-the-way shipping depots is a lot of trouble for me. However, judging from the amount of people I saw picking up items at the Purolator shipping depot the last time I was there, I think the service would be warranted.

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But feel free to indulge in some introspective thought.