A PSA for Anyone that Gets Packages Delivered to Their Door (Basically everyone)
First published on Medium
Christmas is over. Decorations are mostly coming down — we all have that one guy on the street who’s Christmas lights are always up on the garage or a permanent fake gravestone in their yard — all the holiday songs are long off the radio, the dregs of heart candy are marked to deep clearance and the aisles nearest the exits of grocery stores look like a big pink piñata bunny threw up all over the place. Most of us are still wondering where the heck January went (let alone February)… but even though we’re well into the ‘slow’ season of gifts and packages coming to your door, I gotta ask, do y’all even want your packages? Please allow me, your friendly neighbourhood delivery driver to help you, help me, get your mail to you.
I’m a delivery driver for a company that does a lot of packages. Like a lot.
I enjoy my job. I like bringing you your stuff, saying hi to the kids when they want to answer the door, maybe even giving your dog a scratch behind the ears. But here’s the thing, nine times out of ten deliveries go off without a hitch: I can find your address, the numbers are visible, I knock on the door, you answer, I put the envelope or box or whatever it may be, right into your hand. Have a good day. Boom. Done. Those other times though, it’s like a bat fell into my hair and then I got stuck in a timeloop à la Groundhog Day. Please don’t do that to me. Us. Like anyone who just wants to get you what you ordered.
Here’s a ‘Public Service Announcement’ with five considerations for all who might want to get anything delivered.
First and foremost, light. Let there be light. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how much a teeny tiny porchlight helps. Even when you’re not home, a side light on your address is so much appreciated. I’ll ensure I have an uber strong flashlight for those winter months when it gets dark before the kids are done playing, but that’s a backup. Slowing down to a snail’s pace, shining my light everywhere to find where the heck the numbers are on your house is not conducive to me getting you your package in a timely manner, plus there’s the poor schmuck who gets stuck behind my big van on a narrow road. I work for a company where customer service is our differentiation, this means I will ring your doorbell and wait for you to answer your door so I can hand your package to you. Lights on helps me know you’re home and to avoid trees, ice or heaven forbid some ride-on toy.
However… when you have every blooming light on in your house and you’re not home? not only are you hurting Mother Earth wasting energy you are not using, but it’s very confusing for us delivery people. Turn your lights off in the house too, when you’re not at your house. When you’re home and the lights are off though? Way to give me a heart attack. For those of us with Anne Shirley-like imaginations, darkness can turn from annoying to terrifying pretty quickly. Some houses have every single light off, but then there’s answer when I knock. Completely surreal and odd to see a face and hands appear out of nothing, too Dracula lair-ish for my brain.
Now let me just break up this tip giving session with a caveat. Even if you were to do everything the absolute opposite way from what I’ve explained, I will still try to deliver your package. I will still make every effort to get to your house, rural or urban, apartment, jeep dealership, or downtown core. But the less time spent on the complicated little things, the more stuff I can deliver, the more people I can make happy and the less irritation there will be on both sides of the delivery job. We live in an online world and that’s not going to change anytime soon, so do everyone a favour and please consider the above and the following.
Second, fashion is useless. Those elaborate garden number tiles with pretty swirls? The bane of my every shift. It might really be your personality, you protest. Great, awesome! Put them on your porch, by your door, on the garage, whichever, but please have a secondary set of numbers that are large, either light on dark or dark on light for colour and in an easy to read font (bonus points if your numbers are by your porch light).
I come from a background where I know a lot more about fonts than the average person. My Mom’s a graphic designer, my sister loves card and poster making and I’m a writer, as such I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of typesetting. I still remember in the 90’s, when the fanatical love of both my mother and sister for all things pretty and scrapbooking, ensured that our home computer was so overloaded with fonts the word processing software slowed to an abysmal crawl. I’m talking like three hundred plus fonts, but I digress.
Thirdly, not all of us like dogs. In fact, for some of us, dogs make us really nervous. No matter whether or not you say, “Oh, he’s just fine”, or “He won’t hurt you.” I still remember being shocked by my supervisor telling me on my second day of training, that when a dog approaches you to let it smell your hand with fingers closed, so that if it bites you it doesn’t bite off a finger. We try to be as friendly as we can and I always try to say hello, but if your dog is a large breed and attempts to leap over your arms when you answer the door, and I have to slide your package to you through a quivering gap in the door? Please consider dog training, or a baby gate, something that means it doesn’t take you five minutes to get to the door cause you gotta lock the dog in the den.
Fourthly, weather. I live in interior BC, British Columbia, Canada and we do get snow. We will attempt everything in our power to get packages out but unplowed roads, a neglected driveway (hint-hint) or if it’s icier than all get-out, we will have trouble getting to your door, especially if your driveway is longer than a kilometre. That 0.6 miles for you U.S. folks.
Lastly, please be aware other people on my route during the day might have been rude or downright nasty. I always try to give each new house a smile and a ‘Have Good Day’ so please do me the same courtesy. It’s easy to take out your frustration on the driver when it’s a late package, or a bad combo of doorbell, loud dog and sleeping baby or any other legitimate or inane reason for being grumpy.
So from your friendly neighbourhood delivery driver, I hope your Christmas was a happy one and I’ll keep trying to get your packages to you
Cuz that’s my job.