Author Topic: Stolen Christmas Package  (Read 2086 times)

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Venus193

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Stolen Christmas Package
« on: December 24, 2013, 09:30:56 AM »
I've stopped telling stories about my friend Blanche because of their similarity, but now I need advice that has nothing to do with etiquette.

She now lives across the state and I have sent her gift packages over the 9 years since she moved.  I used to combine her Christmas and birthday packages because her birthday is in January, but stopped doing that about two years ago.  I'm glad I did that because for the past three or four years I have been the only person to give her any gifts for either occasion.

She has been out of work for several years.  Although she went back to school and now has a degree to do social work she has not yet sought employment.  A facility she wanted to apply to has been delayed in completion.  She is becoming agoraphobic and leaves her apartment only to shop for food or go to the pharmacy.  She says this has been going on for about three months and based on the conversation we had it seems to be getting worse.  She is not currently seeing a shrink and doesn't know if the change in her medical insurance will cover it.

The Christmas box I sent last week was stolen. 

By way of explanation, she lives in an apartment above a bookstore.  There are four apartments on that floor and at least one of her neighbors is an alcoholic with rowdy friends, one of whom pounded on her door at 3AM one night a few weeks ago.   There is also no lock on the street door; the landlady (who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic) has historically refused to install one.  The local postman typically enters through the unlocked door, goes up the stairs, and leaves mail in front of the apartment doors.  In the two years Blanche has lived there nothing has ever gone missing that she knows of.  She was home all day Thursday the 19th, the day the package was due.  The postman never knocked on her door.

She checked with the local post office, which confirmed that the package had been delivered.  What likely happened is that the postman left any packages and mail on the ground floor near the stairs and the box was stolen shortly after being dropped off at 4:41PM (the time the website tracking service says it was left) by a thief who may have been following the truck (there have been news stories of such things here in NYC) or could have seen it through glass in a door.  The box was a medium, flat-rate priority box that weighed about 8.5 pounds.

The irony of all this is that I had called her the day before I sent it to confirm her address, as I had misplaced my address book.  Her sister-in-law sent her something at the same time that was being held at the post office because it had the wrong address; it had been sent to Blanche's previous address, which was very similar (Think East/West/North/South of a similar name).  Had I accidentally written the incorrect address that package would have been there, too.

She did find out that another neighbor had complained to the landlady about the absence of a lock, but doesn't know if that will be addressed.

Please don't tell me to request the post office to hold future packages; I have already decided to do that.  My question is this:

Should I replace the box or just wait until it's time to send a birthday gift?  I am getting conflicting advice from friends.  BTW, the purchase price of the contents came to something like $120.

otterwoman

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 09:57:27 AM »
Oh, go ahead and replace it now. It's a way of saying how important she is to you.

I lived in a place like that once, mail left outside apartment doors. I feared my mail being stolen so I got a PO box.

Thipu1

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 10:29:24 AM »
If you can replace the contents of the box without financial hardship, I would do so.  You can make it a Birthday gift instead of a combination Birthday/Christmas gift.   


MummySweet

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 10:33:20 AM »
If you can swing it, it would be wonderfully kind of you to replace the contents of the box.   I haven't seen the other Blanche stories, but judging from this one it sounds like she is very isolated.

mrs_deb

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2013, 10:51:48 AM »
If you can afford to replace it, it would be a nice gesture.  If not, at least she knows you were thinking of her.

That said, a Christmas Package thief was caught in Haverhill, MA recently - because she was selling the items she'd stolen on Craigslist.

camlan

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 11:45:15 AM »
The cost of the gift is affecting my thoughts here. It's $120 and that's not chump change.

So, yes, if you can afford to replace the gift, that would be a lovely thing to do.

But if you can't, then I think I would send a small gift now, even if the money comes out of her future birthday gift. And then send a birthday gift for her birthday.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Venus193

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2013, 12:13:27 PM »
If you can afford to replace it, it would be a nice gesture.  If not, at least she knows you were thinking of her.

That said, a Christmas Package thief was caught in Haverhill, MA recently - because she was selling the items she'd stolen on Craigslist.

Oh, brother.  Those stolen items must have been unique, then.

I spoke to her a few minutes ago and she said she's getting a police visit about this later today.  She needed to know the value of the box and was going to tell them it was $50.  She obviously never does the math on anything.

I have decided to send another box, but had to order a few items.  The replacement won't have everything that was in the original, but will be similar.

She has a bad vibe about a neighbor who moved in sometime in the last six months.  He is probably the one whose friend disturbed her in the middle of the night.

SamiHami

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2013, 01:09:32 PM »
Also, contact the post office. Priority Mail automatically gets insurance (I believe $50) so can recoup some of your loss.

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Venus193

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2013, 01:39:25 PM »
Blanche was told by her post office that this covers damage while being handled by the post office, not loss after it leaves their hands. 

Which I think is why the tracking number is automatically included in the price.  Once it records that the package was delivered they are no longer responsible for it.

I will ask at my post office after the holiday rush.  BTW another Priority box sent to someone else took a week.  That recipient told me I should get my money back because they failed to provide the service.

Bijou

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2013, 01:56:59 PM »
I've stopped telling stories about my friend Blanche because of their similarity, but now I need advice that has nothing to do with etiquette.

She now lives across the state and I have sent her gift packages over the 9 years since she moved.  I used to combine her Christmas and birthday packages because her birthday is in January, but stopped doing that about two years ago.  I'm glad I did that because for the past three or four years I have been the only person to give her any gifts for either occasion.

She has been out of work for several years.  Although she went back to school and now has a degree to do social work she has not yet sought employment.  A facility she wanted to apply to has been delayed in completion.  She is becoming agoraphobic and leaves her apartment only to shop for food or go to the pharmacy.  She says this has been going on for about three months and based on the conversation we had it seems to be getting worse.  She is not currently seeing a shrink and doesn't know if the change in her medical insurance will cover it.

The Christmas box I sent last week was stolen. 

By way of explanation, she lives in an apartment above a bookstore.  There are four apartments on that floor and at least one of her neighbors is an alcoholic with rowdy friends, one of whom pounded on her door at 3AM one night a few weeks ago.   There is also no lock on the street door; the landlady (who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic) has historically refused to install one.  The local postman typically enters through the unlocked door, goes up the stairs, and leaves mail in front of the apartment doors.  In the two years Blanche has lived there nothing has ever gone missing that she knows of.  She was home all day Thursday the 19th, the day the package was due.  The postman never knocked on her door.

She checked with the local post office, which confirmed that the package had been delivered.  What likely happened is that the postman left any packages and mail on the ground floor near the stairs and the box was stolen shortly after being dropped off at 4:41PM (the time the website tracking service says it was left) by a thief who may have been following the truck (there have been news stories of such things here in NYC) or could have seen it through glass in a door.  The box was a medium, flat-rate priority box that weighed about 8.5 pounds.

The irony of all this is that I had called her the day before I sent it to confirm her address, as I had misplaced my address book.  Her sister-in-law sent her something at the same time that was being held at the post office because it had the wrong address; it had been sent to Blanche's previous address, which was very similar (Think East/West/North/South of a similar name).  Had I accidentally written the incorrect address that package would have been there, too.

She did find out that another neighbor had complained to the landlady about the absence of a lock, but doesn't know if that will be addressed.

Please don't tell me to request the post office to hold future packages; I have already decided to do that.  My question is this:

Should I replace the box or just wait until it's time to send a birthday gift?  I am getting conflicting advice from friends.  BTW, the purchase price of the contents came to something like $120.
If you insured the package (or maybe there is some insurance applied without you having to do anything) you may be able to seek compensation for the contents and at least could replace the gift out of that.  If the postal person left it there in spite of your orders for the package to be held, it seems they are responsible for the non delivery.
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Venus193

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2013, 02:24:12 PM »
I didn't request that it be held at the post office and didn't give a specific request that it be signed for.

What I will do in future -- per my lead post -- is have it held at the post office to be released only to her.

I'mnotinsane

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2013, 12:48:45 AM »
Blanche was told by her post office that this covers damage while being handled by the post office, not loss after it leaves their hands. 

Which I think is why the tracking number is automatically included in the price.  Once it records that the package was delivered they are no longer responsible for it.

I will ask at my post office after the holiday rush.  BTW another Priority box sent to someone else took a week.  That recipient told me I should get my money back because they failed to provide the service.

I would be a bit of a squeaky wheel on this.  It wasn't delivered properly, therefore it was still in their hands when it was stolen. 

ETA: I wouldn't put too much stock in the Post Office's delivery tracking. A package I had recently been tracking 'was delivered' one afternoon/early evening but didn't actually arrive until the next morning.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 12:51:51 AM by I'mnotinsane »

Library Dragon

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2013, 02:30:38 AM »
Blanche was told by her post office that this covers damage while being handled by the post office, not loss after it leaves their hands. 

Which I think is why the tracking number is automatically included in the price.  Once it records that the package was delivered they are no longer responsible for it.

I will ask at my post office after the holiday rush.  BTW another Priority box sent to someone else took a week.  That recipient told me I should get my money back because they failed to provide the service.

Unfortunately true. This type if situation is too common and I'm sorry it happened to you and your friend.

A few Christmases ago it was DS2 & DIL's first Christmas away as an Army family. I sent a very nice box of gifts with tracking and insurance. DIL was home all day. The postman left a large box outside by the regular mail boxes for their neighborhood.  I received notice it had been delivered.

DIL was given a continual, rude, runaround by the postal clerks. She left in tears after one inquiry. Since I could be the obnoxious mom/MIL I wrote to the post commander, brigade commander, and the head of the post office on the fort.  I pointed out that either the postal carrier was irresponsible or a thief. If the former that meant someone else on post is a thief. 

I don't know what conversations took place, but DS2 received a visit from the head of the post office to apologize. I also received a phone call of apology.  Supposedly they tracked the package to someplace 3 states away. It has never been seen.

The postal service did refuse to pay on the insurance since their records indicated it was delivered.

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YummyMummy66

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2013, 08:10:21 AM »
Once the post office delivers a package, it is out of their hands.  They have done what they are legally required to do.

If a package is stolen after being delivered, this is not the post office's fault.  They are not required to compensate anything, unless, it was  a direct result of their not following their guidelines.  (ex. signing for a package, but getting no signature, just dropping package off).


mrs_deb

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Re: Stolen Christmas Package
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2013, 08:50:22 AM »
Oops - it was Billerica, not Haverhill.  I'm sorry - I misremembered the news report.

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/north/10012529507537/thief-sells-stolen-presents-back-to-police/

What I'm saying is, if there was anything kinda unusual in your package, there's always the possibility it might show up on her town's Craigslist.

Thieves are scum.  I'm so sorry Blanche had this happen to her :-(.