Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail? Especially a few weeks after Christmas when all the hoo haa is over and the drear of winter has planted its feet for the next few months. So yesterday when I opened my mail box my heart gave a little silent cheer when I found a key to one of the package lock boxes. Books, perhaps? I was expecting books from a couple of the authors I’ll be interviewing in upcoming broadcasts.
I opened the box and pulled out the square package that rattled when I shook it and clearly wasn’t a book. It also didn’t have my name on it. I checked the address; it was somewhere on 208th street. About 60 blocks from where I live. I scanned the return address. Not familiar. Clearly, this package was not mine. I often get other people’s mail, and my neighbors get mine. How in the hell did I get some else’s package, someone who doesn't live in my condo complex? Someone on 208th is probably waiting for this box. It may important. A set of puzzle pieces missing from a gift, a replacement charger for a phone, or a collection of rare coins.
I circled the address on the package with a note saying “nowhere near here,” and slid the box back inside its portal. I tried to pull out the key and lock it back inside my own mail slot but it wouldn’t budge. I hoped one of the notorious Seattle area package thieves wouldn't steal this person’s shipment, and walked away, dejected, as I got no other mail.
It’s well known among my friends I over think everything and this whole incident wouldn't let go of me. The address on the package was on the same street as the post office. I had been expecting a package from Express Scripts, something I needed. I checked my email, and it said the package was delivered. Well holy crap. That was my package. Why was the post office address on it but not mine?
It’s cold outside again today, and the last thing I wanted to do was venture outdoors, but the post office wasn’t answering the phone. I had no choice but to drive to the PO, stand in line and explain my faux pas to a human.
The woman behind the counter patiently listened to my tale, and took down the tracking number. There was no trace of the box’s location. It hadn’t been sent back, nor was it inside the PO. She surmised the package was probably still locked inside the box until the postal carrier figured out what to do with it. She admitted they had problems keeping regular carriers on our route when I mentioned continuous screw ups on mail deliveries.
“But why wasn’t my name or address on the package?” I asked. She replied the carriers use tracking numbers. “But how am I supposed to know the package is for me? I don't know myself by my tracking number.” She laughed, and said there should have been something on the box reflecting it was mine.