With the holidays behind us, there are thousands of people cramming the Internet, gift cards in hand, buying the gifts that they really wanted. As a matter of fact, I went online this morning and discovered that the leopard fur foot massager I ordered is due to be delivered today, and not a moment too soon–those bunions have been killing me!
All day long, I’ve envisioned myself coming home, opening my package and relaxing in front of the tube for the remainder of the night. It doesn’t matter that the writer’s strike in Hollywood is going on–with my feet getting blissfully massaged, I wouldn’t care if I were forced to watch re-runs of Happy Days.
But, when I returned home to my apartment at 5:30 pm, my fantasy got hit with a solid dose of reality–the package room closed at 5:00. Suddenly, my dogs were barking a little bit louder.
This situation is an unfortunate reality for many apartment tenants. It can be frustrating when the apartment complex has a package room that strangely enough is only open during regular business hours, which happen to be exactly the same as your business hours. And to boot, the package room isn’t open on the weekends. And don’t even get me started about package slips that don’t get delivered. It can sometimes cause you to grab your hair and scream, “What is this, a conspiracy?”
As frustrating as it is, many tenants count their blessings if their apartment community has a package room at all. Some renters have to call UPS for a special pick-up, or go the the post office to pick up their package themselves. This often results in taking time off from work or missing lunch to run to the post office.
“It can be totally frustrating when you don’t have an easy or convenient way to claim your packages,” says Kim of Greensburg, PA. “I tried ordering the majority of my Christmas gifts online this past year, but it turned into a nightmare! My apartment’s pick-up area was never open when I was home and when I was finally able to get my packages, the guy that runs the service acted like my packages were taking up all of his space.” Kim said that unless her apartment management comes up with a better system, she will probably never order online again unless the item will fit in her mailbox.
When I spoke to the manager of Kim’s apartment complex, he agreed that something needs to be done about how the packages are managed. But he also said that the problem only seems to arise around the holidays. He admitted that he should probably open the package room for longer hours during the holiday season, but wouldn’t consider making it a full-time change.
So, what are the alternatives? You might ask one of your neighbors to accept the package for you or pick it up from the package room if they are home during the day. However, if you’re an online shop-a-holic, your neighbor may begin acting like the package guy at Kim’s apartment complex. Plus, if the neighbor works from home, you certainly don’t want to intrude on their workday either, so this is a good solution for that once-in-a-while favor.
Another solution is the easyQube kiosk. The easyQube is a high-tech version of the large mailboxes that have been in use in countries like Germany and the Netherlands for years. The easyQube kiosk is a package pick-up solution that many apartment residents are craving. Here’s how it works:
- 1. You place your order online just as you regularly do, except where you would normally provide your shipping information, you will now give a special address provided by IdentiCert.
- 2. IdentiCert receives your package and delivers it to your easyQube kiosk, conveniently located in your apartment complex.
- 3. When the package is delivered, IdentiCert sends an email to notify you that your package is delivered.
- 4. The package remains safe and secure until you unlock the holding compartment with your individual swipe card.
- 5. Once you pick up your package, the address code on the compartment is automatically changed so it is available for someone else.
The easyQube kiosk was invented by three graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. There is no cost to have it installed, but there is a monthly charge of about $10 per resident.
The great thing about the easyQube is that its convenience could extend far beyond package retrieval. There are already plans in the works for the system to be improved so that it can accommodate other services like dry-cleaning deliveries and even home-delivered groceries.
Currently, the easyQube system is available in six complexes in the Boston area. If you want to convince management to have one installed in your apartment, you may want to talk it over with your fellow residents to find out how many are willing to pay a monthly fee for the convenient service. If your complex has a monthly meeting with the property management company, bring the idea up at the meeting and have it addressed. With no cost to the apartment community, managers could be convinced to do it, especially if they can save money on running their own package room.
Oh, and when Kim T. asked her apartment complex manager about the easyQube system? “He was surprisingly open to the idea,” she said.