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6 comments | Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Situation:
I accidentally ordered 2 copies of the same Dreamweaver text book from Amazon.  I got a UPS return label to send it back and placed it in a box.  All that was needed was for me to get it to UPS.

The Problem:
Turns out, the package was just a bit too big to fit in the slot of the UPS drop box near my apartment... In case you're unfamiliar, these drop boxes are the kind meant to keep people from sticking their hands down in the box and retrieving packages that don't belong to them -- basically, a topless box with a handle on one end and an opening opposite that (through which your packages are meant to drop smartly within the confines of the repository). It's sort of like a swiveling drawer with no back... so i'll be referring to this as a drawer, going forward.

The Solution?:
When I asked my brother, Ash, if he knew a good spot to drop off something for UPS without going all the way to their office, he told me about the drop box in his office park...

The Setting:
After Thursday night church. October 14, 2010.  Being that West Lansing Church of Christ where we meet is just around the corner from Ash's office park, I found this to be an appropriate time to check out this drop box and see if maybe UPS uses varied sizes for them.

So, off I go to search for this drop box in Ash's office park... it's getting darker earlier these days, and it was about 8:00 pm.  Actually pretty dark already... It took a few minutes of driving around in there to find the box, but I managed it all right...

Now, looking at the box, it was hard to say whether it was the same size as my local drop box, so I'll just have to try it... Sure enough -- same size drop box slot... The thing was, the package fit all the way inside the opening, but it was tall enough and the security feature of the drawer (the metal bottom) went far enough back that the package could not get through to fall inside.

I could just almost close the drawer all the way so I got to thinking: I could repackage this in a smaller box or I could drop this box off at the UPS office later... but, man, I really think i can shove this thing through and be done with the whole thing!

....well, this was a bad idea.... I got the box about half way past the security thing and couldn't get it farther back because it was slightly hitting the back of the whole drop box.  So I attempted to shut the drawer in hopes that the box would get pushed back just enough to fall inside.

My new problem? This didn't work -- and now the box was wedged in in such a way, that I couldn't open the drawer more than an inch... The box was far enough back inside the drawer that I couldn't reach it push it further, and I certainly couldn't reach it to try to pull it out!....

So now i'd basically rendered this drop box useless for at least the following day of business... I really needed to get that box out of there so this wouldn't happen!!  What do I do?

Time to take inventory of possible tools... I popped the trunk of my car, and took a look: windshield wiper fluid, various odds and ends from my days at comcast, a random assortment of tools, the longest and skinniest of which was a small pair of pliers, jacket, bag of golf clubs, half empty water bottle, box of business cards....
So it's the 5 iron to rescue!  Long, skinny, and with an angled end: This must be the right tool to get behind the box and pull it forward enough to allow access for an arm to get into the drawer and pull the package the rest of the way OUT!

And it kind of worked... I got the package back out a few inches but i still wasn't getting enough of an opening to even get my hand in past my knuckles.... and the package, while being a few inches closer, had no angled in such a way that i couldn't really get a grip on it with my 5-iron....
Back to the still-open trunk to look for a new solution... which came in the form of one of those hinged metal book rings and some electrical tape... I opened the ring all the way and taped it to the handle of the club, giving me a somewhat sharp hook end that I hoped to use to snare a corner of the box, making it possible to yank it back through...

This was not working well, as i was having a hard time piercing the cardboard to get a good hold.
about this time, a lady leaving work for the night drove by on her way out.  I smiled and waved and she waved back... I considered asking for her assistance or advice, but thought the situation was strange enough, it could freak her out if I attempted to interact beyond a wave.

Back to work on the extraction: The box was getting shredded as I was inching it ever closer to freedom.  Inch. Inch. Inch.... it was just close enough now that I felt I could get a hold of it with my pliers, and I was right!

Using my cellphone to see inside the drawer, I could make out a corner of the package that was close enough to grasp.

The pliers however, while pulling the box slightly closer, were mostly ripping chunks out of the corner of the box.  But headway is headway...

Suddenly, although it was by now quite dark, I could see my own shadow in stark contrast with the sidewalk ahead of me... this could only mean one thing....  a car had pulled up behind me.... and, though i hoped it wasn't so, the brightness of the light that could cause such a shadow, didn't seem likely to only be headlights....

Turning around, my suspicions were confirmed: An officer of the law sat within his cruiser, surveying the strange scene before him.  I stood still and squinted into the spotlight.

"What are you doing?" came the incredulous yell from the alabaster brightness.

"Uhhh... My package got stuck in the box here... The door is jammed now, so I'm trying to get it out..."

"..... Okay, I'm coming out and I'm going to frisk you to make sure you aren't carrying any weapons."

"Ok," I said, resigned to my fate.

"Put down that stuff in your hands... put it on the ground."

"Ok.  Though this is a cellphone, if you could just make sure you don't accidentally step on it"

"Alright, now stand facing the back of your car and lace your fingers behind your back like your praying."

(I don't know who prays like that, but, you know, not the time to ask those kinds of questions)
He proceeded to frisk me quite thoroughly, and as the title of this story suggests, this was not my first time... (though the previous time had everything to do with Big Rapids police having nothing to do and nothing to do with me performing any wrongs -- but that's a story for another time).

"Is your license in here?" he asked, while patting my wallet.


He took out my wallet and took my license. "What's your name?"

"Daniel Harris"

"Ok... so I was called out here by a woman saying there was a guy out here beating on the UPS box with a golf club." He said this with a slight air of humor in his voice.

"Right, well, officer, I know exactly how this looks, but I was definitely not beating on the box. You see, my package got stuck in the door, and I was trying to get it out because the door was stuck shut... I was using the golf club to reach behind the box and try to pull it out."

At this time, another officer arrived.  He was a bit more uppity than the first cop, but I assume this was due to him not knowing yet that I was a non-violent suspect.

Officer 1 said, "Ok, sit on the curb and keep your hands behind your back."
That's right, no cuffs -- I can continue to say that I have never been cuffed!

The next few minutes were spent with the 2 officers discussing the situation. They both made attempts to get the drop box door open while i watched, and officer 2 was looking at me quizzically and reciting the events as told to him in a mystified tone.  Officer 1 went back to his car with my info, and officer 2 kept working at the box door. "If I get this box out of here, am I gonna see your name on it?"

"Oh yes... .... oh, wait though, actually it's a return for Amazon, so now that you mention it, no... I don't think my names actually on the label.... .... I can tell you what's inside it, though!"

"Oh? What's inside it?"

"It's an Adobe Dreamweaver manual..."

"What's that?!"

"Heh, well it's a web design manual -- I accidentally ordered 2 and was returning this one..."

"How'd you get it stuck in here?"

Rather than bore him with all the messy details, i simply stated, "Well, when I went to shut the door I noticed it didn't close all the way, and that's when i realized it had only gotten wedged in and wasn't going to fall through."

"Hmmm... ok.... "  He went back to work on prying the door open... I hadn't wanted to go this route, because, knowing my luck, something would've snapped and the drop box would be broken.... But he was working it pretty good -- apparently the drop boxes are stronger than they look.
He got the package out -- a bit flatter in spots than it was before -- and took it over to officer one's car. 

Long story short, they went ahead and opened the box, verified that I did in fact know what was inside the box and therefore that it must be mine....

Finally officer 1 said, "Well, I'm glad I don't have to arrest you tonight."  And he chuckled.

"Hah, me too," I said, "and, you know, I'm sorry about this, I just really didn't know what else to do."

"No problem."

"Alright, well, thanks, guys.... Make sure you make me look good when you tell the story!"

We had a good laugh and went our separate ways...

But, I'd have to say I learned a lesson here.... I haven't figured out for sure what that is yet; but i must have learned one...
added 10/25/10: By the way, folks... here are pictures of the box in question --
Here's some damage cause by the book ring and the pliers:

And here's a nice view of how it was opened:

And, lo and behold, it turns out, my name actually WAS on the package.... wow....


Anonymous Frankie S said...

VERY excellent. Classic Dan Harris, I say. You and your crazy adventures...

Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:46:00 PM

Anonymous anne stevens said...

Oh my gosh!!! Next time just go to the UPS store dude! See what trying to save a little time does? IT TAKES LONGER!! Hate that! Take care and say hello to your mom and dad for me!

Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:56:00 PM

Anonymous Tommy F said...

Very entertaining. Between the illustration and the pictures of the damaged box, I must commend you for the thought and care you put into this post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 3:03:00 PM

Blogger Dan said...

Frank: PEEEEEEAAAaaaaacccceee......

Anne: haha, well, i went today and dropped it off, so i hope you're happy now :) -- and i will say hello to my parents for you; do the same for me to the kids, please?

tom: Thank you for your commendation -- that's really what this is ALL about :) (it WAS your haranguing that made me start a blog in the first place, ere so many years ago)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:51:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

szybki kredyt gotowkowy bez bik
kredyt bez bik o zarobkach na dowód
witryna domowa
nasz adres oraz kontakt
kredyt bez bik bez zaświadczeń eurobank
pożyczki pozabankowe wzór umowy
pożyczki bez bik

Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:26:00 AM

Blogger Sarena Parsons said...

I have just had one with UPS as well. 20 items were missing. The box was cut open and re-taped back. I have photos from before shipping and the weight as proof - yes I am careful like this. UPS says because there was some "damage" of the box due to the "poor packaging" so UPS can not be held liable for the damage. The truth is there was no damaging on the box, but missing items from theft.

How much longer can UPS go on like this before 60 MINUTES discover the thieving business?

Thursday, December 27, 2012 8:35:00 AM


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