Getting packages in my building is chaotic. What can I do?
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Q: The parcel situation in my cooperative seems chaotic. We have a porter who takes care of the lobby, but if someone needs to pick up a package, they have to pick it up from a storage area, leaving the lobby unattended. The parcel room is often overcrowded, making it difficult for him to find items, and some people do not collect their boxes for days, adding to the clutter. I can only imagine how busy it will be during the holidays. There must be a better way to do this, right?
A: The onslaught of package deliveries was bad before the pandemic, but it has been exacerbated over the past year as people have started ordering everything from dish soap to dresses online. Add to the mix some typical holiday shopping and extraordinary shipping delays, and you have a recipe for a very confusing and cluttered parcel room.
“Package deliveries haven’t just been a seasonal issue – they’ve been a 52-week issue,” said Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential New York, a property manager. “There are significant challenges regarding where to store items and manage the volume of packages. “
From what you describe, it appears that your building is struggling with three distinct issues: a lack of staff, a lack of proper space, and an inefficient delivery system. All three problems could be better managed.
Contact the managing agent and the board of directors, outlining your concerns. Use specific examples, if you can, and make it clear that you are looking for a solution to an ongoing problem.
The doorman is asked to be in two places at once, an impossible task and one that creates a safety hazard when the lobby is left unattended. The building needs to hire more people or have existing staff provide backup during peak hours. The parcel room might need an overhaul. It may be too small or poorly organized. The building should establish rules for residents who do not pick up their packages on time. This could move unclaimed boxes to a secondary storage area and require residents to schedule a pickup time. Or the management could obtain permission to drop off packages inside individual apartments. If a new policy is put in place, management should communicate it clearly to residents.
The building should also re-evaluate how it registers packages as they are delivered and released so they don’t end up in the wrong hands. Many buildings are switching to electronic tracking systems, which yours might consider. “Having a computerized receiving program where you can scan packages is really important now,” Mr. Wurtzel said. “A manual journal is susceptible to human error.”
With a few fixes, you leave less room for error.
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