The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I once had an Amazon package stolen from in front of my apartment door. I’d ordered “The Snowy Day” and “Harold and the Purple Crayon” (only the two best books ever) for my boss’ baby shower, though as I stood there realizing they’d been snatched from under me, I related far more to “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Still, I have to think the joke’s on them. There has to be a special place in Hell for people who steal children’s books. Actually, that sounds like a great, if not heavy, plot for a children’s book.

Amazon sent me a free replacement order the next day. But the experience leads me to believe  that an organized and secure mail delivery system is necessary when you live in an apartment community. This is especially true for student housing, where all those care packages from Mom and Dad really start to pile up.

Or, in my case, the Seventeen magazine I still received monthly at the age of 20.

To properly manage the influx of daily deliveries—the average, 250-unit student housing community receiving as many as 100 packages per day—many apartment management companies are now hiring a third-party to provide package concierge services for residents.

Maya Liepa, Senior Property Manager at ParcGrove Apartment Homes, says her Riverstone Residential property eliminated the concierge desk during a renovation phase. However, the leasing office soon had to stop accepting packages for the 402-unit luxury apartment community because the volume was too high to manage. Parents were caring about their children just a little too much.

Enter a package-management system.

“In property management, the most important aspect of our job is providing exceptional customer service,” Liepa says. “A package management system allows us to provide a service to our residents that essentially makes life easier for both the resident and the onsite associates. While the resident is able to retrieve their package at their convenience, the onsite associate can focus on providing exceptional customer service rather than mediocre customer service to one resident while another one waits for their package.”

Now you Baby Boomers may be thinking something along the lines of, “Oh you poor Millennials, waiting for a box full of treats and money from your doting parents,” to which I can only offer the following piece of mature advice—hate the player, not the game.

ParcGrove now has two banks of modular lockers located in each of its two buildings, and provides each resident with a username and password. Once residents register with the package management system, their username and password is given to each delivery carrier. When a package is delivered, it’s scanned and an email or text message is sent to the resident alerting them that they have a package. Residents can then go to the locker, use a touchscreen kiosk and retrieve their package.

“The benefits are endless,” Liepa says. “I have watched prospective residents walk away from leasing an apartment home just because we did not have a package system. In this market, you’re talking about potentially losing $30,000.”

$30,000 and my beloved Harold. Let’s not downplay the severity of my loss.

For more, check out “You’ve Got Mail” in the May issue of units Magazine, which mails May 13.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).