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Going Postal

A few months ago I ordered $200 worth of business cards for a webseries I write on the side. To play it safe, I had them sent straight to my friend in New York, where I could pick them up when I arrived later that week for filming. I pulled up the most recent address she sent in an email—having recently moved—and placed my order.

But as I drove up that Friday, I had a gnawing feeling that something about the address wasn’t quite right. I knew I was just being paranoid, but I left her a quick voicemail to make sure she’d received the package. 

Instead, she texted, “Umm, problem...”

As (bad) luck would have it, she mixed up her old and new address—combining the two to form some hybrid that not only wasn’t where she lived, but likely didn’t even exist. 

After spending the next three minutes double-parked and crying in Queens, I pulled myself together and drove to the street she gave me on the off chance the address existed. Miraculously, I pulled up next to a house. At 10 p.m., I timidly knocked on the door. A few seconds later, a man poked his head out and I explained my situation, sounding like a total crazy person. And then, the creative Gods smiling down on me, he disappeared for a moment and returned, holding my unopened package. 

No need to go postal.

Unfortunately, package delivery can be a stressful challenge not just for me (admittedly human error), but for apartment owners nationwide. With an influx of online shopping, owners leasing new communities or retrofitting existing ones are paying a lot more attention to resident package delivery, having recovered from the largest days of online shopping in history during last winter’s holiday season and seeing a steady up-tick in package delivery since.

Pointing the finger at you, Amazon.

Installing lockers, expanding office storage areas, converting existing spaces to include shelves or relying more on resident software alert systems are affecting staff time, office hours and resident satisfaction in myriad ways.

Whether it’s built into new construction or within existing communities, apartment owners and managers are being cost-conscious about investing in solutions, while keeping an eye on future e-commerce growth and innovative design strategies. One suggests that future new development could include having an individual storage area near the door of each apartment home, or perhaps a centralized package area for each floor.

Or—just spitballing here—a staff member who rescues packages sent to incorrect addresses.

While the list of solutions available by industry service partners continues to grow, so, too, does the list of factors that apartment firms must consider when choosing their approach. They also must consider that package returns are another key step in e-commerce, and seek ways to accommodate their residents’ efforts this way.

And soothe them when they’re crying on the side of the road. 

For more, check out “Addressing the Problem” in the June issue of units Magazine. 

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager, 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).