Once upon a time ... people delivering packages rang the bell.
Maybe they knocked, if you didn't have a doorbell.
These days ... nada.
I discovered this last year when the coronavirus pandemic began and, for some reason, my online purchasing escalated. The package arrivals, stemming from just a few online clicks from the comfort of a tall-back leather chair, were like bright spots amid the early months of dismal COVID-19 data.
What I didn't discover until this year was that Amazon.com – where most of my online orders come from – had such a growing network of pickup hubs.
Amazon is great about sending emails to confirm an order has been placed, when it has shipped, and when it has been delivered. But even when you call yourself watching – I have three email accounts to check regularly – it's possible that something slips up on you or … outside your front door.
I miss the days of doorbell rings, even if the delivery person didn't stand there waiting for you to get to the door to hand you the package or if no signature was required.
I'm grateful that I've never had a delivery confirmation email and then not found the package at my door. But I'm also grateful the pickup hub system is working for me. I don't have to think twice about whether a package drop at my front door has caught the eye of some opportunistic thief, which can especially occur during the Christmas shopping season.
My choice hub is Value City Department Store. It's not the closest hub to my house, but the store is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. most days, which fits well with my schedule and is an easy stop on the way to or from work.
After several deliveries I elected to send to the hub, I've only had one glitch – an empty package that should have included a new band for my Fitbit Charge. I ordered it around the same time I ordered a Christmas gift sweater for a small child; I couldn't find one I liked in the appropriate size after visiting multiple local stores. I planned to pick the separate orders together.
When I went to collect and immediately saw how flat one of the two packages was and noticed one end was already open, I quickly brought that to the attention of the Value City employee. The response was that I needed to contact Amazon. I did, and within 15 to 20 minutes, fortunately, I had a credit for the missing item returned to my account.
Before this weekend ends, I've got one more gift item that I expect to pick up from the hub.