Don’t let the Grinch ruin Christmas

Published 9:38 am Friday, December 11, 2015

Chances are, you’re waiting for a package to be delivered sometime this month.

Maybe it’s a shiny new gizmo from Amazon or the perfect pair of shoes from Macy’s. Perhaps it’s a PlayStation from Best Buy or a new toy from the North Pole. Maybe it’s Aunt Edna’s famous fruitcake, which nobody’s really waiting for but it’s coming nonetheless.

Whatever packages you’re expecting this year, you should be aware of this: Everybody knows packages are on the way, and some folks see their delivery as an opportunity to score some free stuff at your expense.

The U.S. Postal Service projects the holiday surge to peak Dec. 21, when more than 30 million packages nationwide are out for delivery. Drivers for FedEx and UPS say much of Cyber Monday’s merchandise already has been delivered, but the online shopping spree will continue through the next couple of weeks, and deliveries to homes across the nation will follow.

Boxes left on porches can be an invitation for less-than-upstanding folks, Sgt. Gary Myrick, a detective with the Suffolk Police Department, said this week. Police across the country typically see an increase in reports of boxes swiped off porches if deliveries are made when no one is home.

The USPS, FedEx and UPS all are working overtime this time of year to make sure folks get their packages in time for Christmas, and the drivers for all three services are feeling the stress. But nobody wants to see your packages stolen, so they’ve offered a few words of advice to help ensure your holiday deliveries wind up in the right hands:

• Reduce the risk by not leaving packages and deliveries waiting on porches, particularly for extended time periods.

• If you are planning to be out of town, arrange for shipments to be held at the post office, shipped to an alternate address or have a neighbor look out for deliveries.

• If you work every day, have the package shipped to the office.

• Invest in tracking options offered through the shippers. Tracking lets both shipper and recipient monitor a package’s status from the point of origin to final delivery via the shipper’s website. Some shippers send registered users text alerts on mobile devices once a delivery is made.

• Issue special delivery instructions. For example, tell the driver to leave the package at a local post office for pickup or to leave it in a specific, less-conspicuous place, such as a back porch or under a carport.

• Require a signature. Either the shipper or recipient can make the request.

• Plan for the worst-case scenario. Pay a little extra to insure the package and keep track of your receipts; they will be necessary if you should have to file a reimbursement claim.

Sadly, the Grinch is alive and well. Do your part to ensure he doesn’t ruin Christmas. And be sure to thank Aunt Edna for that fruitcake. She worked hard on it.