View Poll Results: Personal packages sent to work?
Yes, that's OK 109 53.43%
Maybe-depends on the contents/frequency 91 44.61%
No-Unacceptable workplace behavior. 10 4.90%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 204. You may not vote on this poll

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#1
Old 01-19-2011, 11:05 AM
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Personal packages delivered to work?

I'm looking at ordering some stuff online and the place I'm going to order from only ships UPS. It's not a big package, just a box of guitar strings, but the point is I'm not home to sign for a package and would have to take the day off. However, some folks at my office (very large office for that matter with a dedicated mail room, etc) have personal packages delivered to work. I'm on the fence if this is okay behavior or not.

On one hand, the cost, if any, to the company is minimal so the harm is negligible.

On the other hand, it just doesn't seem that professional.

On the third hand (wait, where'd that come from?), others are doing it. And while argumentum ad populum isn't a good defense, it seems to have set a precedent.
#2
Old 01-19-2011, 11:06 AM
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I always get my stuff delivered to work, although it's not a large office so I just have to come and grab it from the receptionist. Unless your office has a stated policy against it, I don't see why you wouldn't.
#3
Old 01-19-2011, 11:10 AM
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I do this all the time, provided what's being delivered is work appropriate (don't do gun parts to work, you don't have this issue). I wouldn't try and run an Ebay business out of the office or anything, but the occaisonal here and there is no biggie, especially if you get packages related to work anyway.
#4
Old 01-19-2011, 11:11 AM
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Yep. Never had a problem doing it, but then I never did it often.
#5
Old 01-19-2011, 11:12 AM
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I'm the one who signs for deliveries, so there's no problem.
#6
Old 01-19-2011, 11:14 AM
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I've done it occasionally; don't think it's an issue as long as you're not (as someone mentioned above) trying to run an ebay business or something. There's really no other convenient way to handle the whole UPS-knocks-on-the-door thing if you don't live in a building with a concierge or something.

(ETA: I voted yes, that's okay, with an implicit "within reason"; no hundred-pound boxes, no five-boxes-a-day).

Last edited by Tom Scud; 01-19-2011 at 11:15 AM.
#7
Old 01-19-2011, 11:22 AM
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Find an outfit that'll ship USPS, and have it delivered at work anyway.
#8
Old 01-19-2011, 11:26 AM
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Some companies prohibit this before Christmas to keep from getting overloaded. Most don't care if it doesn't cause problems with normal package handling. There can be a problem because a business can consider anything delivered to their address to belong to them. For something they didn't pay for, I assume they don't actually own it, but they could open the package. These same problems occur with mail, even if its marked as personal.
#9
Old 01-19-2011, 11:29 AM
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They didn't have a problem with getting a package shipped to the last 2 places I worked. The ones before that would not have allowed it. You need to ask your place of work.
#10
Old 01-19-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
They didn't have a problem with getting a package shipped to the last 2 places I worked. The ones before that would not have allowed it. You need to ask your place of work.
Yeah, at my wife's office, hundred of packages go in and out of that place every day, so no one would care about a rare personal package.

At my office on the other hand, only one department does anything requiring any shipping and me getting a package would be really weird. If I had no other option, I might do it. They probably wouldn't really care, but it would not be encouraged.
#11
Old 01-19-2011, 11:43 AM
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Just go ask the folks in your mailroom in a friendly way. There might be a policy, and they might have a preference.

I used to work at a large office building and had packages delivered there fairly often, as did most of my co-workers. Do be aware that if a package goes missing after it gets to your building, it can be hard to track down, and you'll have no recourse with the shipper since the mailroom will have signed for it. For guitar strings I wouldn't worry.
#12
Old 01-19-2011, 11:44 AM
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Have done this for years in several different companies. Everyone else does it too, and nobody's ever complained.
#13
Old 01-19-2011, 11:47 AM
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The only reason I wouldn't have something personal shipped to work is that the shipping and receiving dock is so busy that it might take a day or two for me to receive the package. I could shorten that by going over there and looking for it, but they're busy with business packages so it seems like it might interfere. So I have personal packages shipped to my home. Sometimes that means I need to go to the Fedex or UPS depots to pick them up. (Which is why I'm happy that Amazon seems to be using the USPS lately, since the post office is closest to home and is I can get there after work.)

But the OP needs to ask his office manager or someone else in charge just to make sure that it's OK with them.
#14
Old 01-19-2011, 11:48 AM
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My company accepts that people are human and allows them reasonable use of supplies, equipment, etc.

Mailroom, deliveries, etc are included, but there is a bunch of language in agreements we sign that it must be within reason.

No one should feel bad to receive a few faxes one day when closing on a home purchase, and a delivery or two is normal. It actually improves morale and reduces staff shrinkage.

Fortunately, not all company decisions are rendered by accountants.

Yet.
#15
Old 01-19-2011, 11:49 AM
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Yep all the time. We don't get home mail delivery, and my house is a bit out there for the poor UPS FedX guys (and they would need 4x4 in winter).

The last thing I got was a glass shower door. The biggest thing I had delivered was a set of steel scaffolding complete with catwalks.
#16
Old 01-19-2011, 11:50 AM
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I had something sent to my office once - was living in a place where packages to home were not easily delivered (an apartment building in DC). The mailroom didn't complain.

Then, of course, the vendor SOLD my address so I started getting crap catalogues at the office . Never did THAT again.

Of course, we have had electronics sent to my husband's office; it was a small group of people and nobody cared, and it was safer / more reliable to do that, than to try to be home when FedEx or whomever might be thinking about delivering. I wouldn't do that if the office setup mandated going through a mailroom - I don't mind them handling small packages / envelopes but I don't think they should be wrestling with a CPU.
#17
Old 01-19-2011, 12:23 PM
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It would not be a problem for me, or anyone in my office. As others have noted, it shouldn't be an ebay business or anything, but otherwise no big deal. I know I'd much rather have my secretary spend two seconds signing for a package than have to manage without her for a whole day because she had to be home to sign for a package. Likewise, I would not want to burn a leave day just to sign for a package that may or may not actually be delivered as scheduled anyway.
#18
Old 01-19-2011, 12:25 PM
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I used to be able to do it all the time at the newspaper where I worked; then came 9/11. Anthrax scares. All kinds of scares. They started opening the mail off site. Personal mail forbidden. They've resumed opening the mail on site, but still no personal packages allowed. My current employer forbids it too. My husband does it all the time at his job.
#19
Old 01-19-2011, 12:34 PM
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I went to my mailroom guys and specifically asked, so they understood that I wasn't taking them for granted. They are cool with it and I am appreciative.
#20
Old 01-19-2011, 12:35 PM
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This is something that I always assumed would be unprofessional, but discovered was commonplace when I started seeing Netflix envelopes appear in many co-workers mailboxes. No one raised a stink about it, and they're obviously personal and come regularly. Out of ~60 cubbyholes there'd be a red envelope sticking out of 2-3 a day. I imagine most employers would be cool with a random package every once in a while, but it might be good to check with some co-workers to find what's socially acceptable in your office.
#21
Old 01-19-2011, 12:43 PM
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I voted yes, just because so many people have problems with UPS/ FedEx delivering to home addresses when they are not around. You either have to go and pick it up at their facility or miss the first 2 deliveries anyway, or risk them leaving it on your porch and a curious neighbor picking it up themselves. If you can just be sure it's delivered while you're at work, no harm, no foul.
#22
Old 01-19-2011, 12:47 PM
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Lots of people here get Amazon and other personal shipments here, including me. We have someone in the office who brings the mail around once an hour, so it's not a huge burden on him (there are about 40 people who work here). If it's not convenient for him to bring it (he's got too much stuff, packages are oversized, whatever), he'll email you or call you to come get it from the mail room. It seems to be a complete non-issue in my office.
#23
Old 01-19-2011, 12:49 PM
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It's not a problem in my office, but I didn't realize that by having something shipped to me at my work address in Canada from the US meant that our customs broker was involved because it had the company name on it and I had to reimburse the company. Cost me an extra $20. The last time I had something shipped, the package had just my name and the street address without the company name and did not get flagged by our customs broker.

I try to let our shipping department know. They're nice about it and it doesn't seem to be a problem.

FWIW - as the person who prepares out going courier packages in our office, I have also sent packages for my co-workers. They reimburse the company for the courier fees. No big deal, doesn't take long and keeps everyone happy.
#24
Old 01-19-2011, 01:32 PM
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I get stuff just left on my door step from UPS all the time. Yesterday it was a $200 cymbal and stand and I'm sure the UPS guy could see us looking at him through the window, but he just left it.

That being said, your situation may be different for one reason or the other and I don't think it's a bad thing to have an occasional package sent to work. I also send things out from our mailroom once in awhile. Of course, it's a college mailroom that functions, for all intents and purposes, as a post office.
#25
Old 01-19-2011, 02:00 PM
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I've only worked in small office environments, so it's cool - no mailroom or inconvenience to other people. I actually think we're a little bit like Sims. Someone gets a package and if they open it, we all flock over and examine it. Ooooh, Threadless shipment!

The weird part is that my coworker's girlfriend gets stuff shipped here. I've had to sign for things and it takes me a second to remember that's his girlfriend's name.

Also, weirdest thing I've seen someone receive at work: a Kendo mask.

Last edited by kushiel; 01-19-2011 at 02:01 PM. Reason: added weird thing
#26
Old 01-19-2011, 02:04 PM
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JFTR, my place of employment would probably not raise an eyebrow were I to receive a mailed parcel at work, but making a habit of having UPS and FedEx dropping things off would likely be a problem.
#27
Old 01-19-2011, 02:46 PM
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Just check with whoever runs the mail room/ loading dock and you'll have your answer.

I work in a hospital and one day when I was passing by the dock I saw a stock car frame pushed off to one side. Pretty sure it wasn't for any work related project.
#28
Old 01-19-2011, 02:54 PM
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Not kosher here. They don't pay the mailstaff to sort and deliver our personal packages.
#29
Old 01-19-2011, 02:55 PM
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Obviously it depends entirely on where you work.

At my work this is a big no-no.
#30
Old 01-19-2011, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheresmymind View Post
This is something that I always assumed would be unprofessional, but discovered was commonplace when I started seeing Netflix envelopes appear in many co-workers mailboxes. No one raised a stink about it, and they're obviously personal and come regularly. Out of ~60 cubbyholes there'd be a red envelope sticking out of 2-3 a day. I imagine most employers would be cool with a random package every once in a while, but it might be good to check with some co-workers to find what's socially acceptable in your office.
I can understand having a package sent to the office, but Netflix envelopes come in the mail and fit in any mailbox. So why wouldn't you have the discs shipped to your home?
#31
Old 01-19-2011, 04:26 PM
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My company has no problem with people having personal packages delivered to work. They encourage anything that will help you spend more time at work. There's a dry-cleaning service, a cafeteria (so you don't have to leave the property to get lunch), a mail room that can give you postage (so you don't have to go to the post office yourself), and a host of other conveniences all geared to making it easy for you to stay at work rather than run out to do errands.
#32
Old 01-19-2011, 04:29 PM
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I always get my deliveries sent to the office. I've got two coming today in fact, one from the UK and one from the US. It's much preferable to having them delivered to my home address, because if they're large, the postman won't leave them, and I have to go off later and pick them up at my local post office.

The receptionists at work don't care. The package arrives, they call me and I go and get it from them.
#33
Old 01-19-2011, 04:44 PM
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I've worked in both large and small offices and having personal packages delivered was never a problem in any scenario no matter what the contents. Hell, I once had an antique gun delivered to the office, not that anyone knew that was what was in it.

My feeling is, we all worked very hard at every job I've held, often working into the evening without any additional pay because we are all salary. If that means you poke around on the Straightdope during slow periods or have a package delivered to the office instead of risking it getting stolen from your front step, then more power to you.
#34
Old 01-19-2011, 05:59 PM
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It's not a problem here.

I work in a very small office -- less than 20 people -- and there's no official person to answer the door or get the mail. Whoever's closest when the doorbell rings does it. That's just as likely to be me as someone else anyway.
#35
Old 01-19-2011, 06:19 PM
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The first few companies I worked with didn't care. I even had a pair of skis delivered to work at my last job.

My current company has a strict policy against having personal packages delivered to the office.

-D/a
#36
Old 01-19-2011, 06:22 PM
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I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. My front porch is quite close to the road. If I'm not home to sign for something it gets left in plain view of the street with no attempt by the delivery person to make it less obvious. For that reason I have stuff delivered to work or to my mom's house. Mom's house is a half hour each way + chat time, so work is easier. I sign for most everything at work except USPS which goes to the front desk. Most times no one is even aware I've received anything. I've had everything from guitar parts to kayaks (twice) delivered at work with never a word said to me. I do notice that not many other people have personal stuff delivered at work. If I have something shipped that I wouldn't want known at work for whatever reason, it goes to Mom's.
One downside I see is if something for me got signed for by someone else and then disappeared...it could get awkward. In that situation I'd be tempted to just let it go (if it wasn't too expensive) rather than raise a stink.
#37
Old 01-19-2011, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm View Post
Have done this for years in several different companies. Everyone else does it too, and nobody's ever complained.
Ditto. I don't really understand why there would be a problem with it. I've had 9-foot gardening fencing delivered to my office, which is probably the outside of what I'd be comfortable with, but I don't get why, say, Amazon packages would be taboo. People for whom it's forbidden, or who say you'd have an issue with it -- what's wrong with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
I used to be able to do it all the time at the newspaper where I worked; then came 9/11. Anthrax scares. All kinds of scares. They started opening the mail off site. Personal mail forbidden. They've resumed opening the mail on site, but still no personal packages allowed. My current employer forbids it too. My husband does it all the time at his job.
This is straight-up hilarious.

Last edited by SecondJudith; 01-19-2011 at 06:38 PM.
#38
Old 01-19-2011, 06:42 PM
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I see this as akin to making personal phone calls at work. Do it but don't overdo it. An occasional package delivery or an occasional personal phone call at work should not be a big deal. Of course, some companies don't allow either. I've never had any problems getting stuff delivered to my work place.
#39
Old 01-19-2011, 07:27 PM
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I'm not really sure what the policy is where I work. I've only had two packages delivered directly to me since I've been working there; both were repair parts for projects, so they were work-related. Both packages arrived on my desk after they were opened though.
#40
Old 01-19-2011, 07:33 PM
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I asked before I did it, but never worked anywhere that had a problem with it. As a single person, if it needs a signature, I need it to go where I am.
#41
Old 01-19-2011, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator View Post
I've got two coming today in fact, one from the UK and one from the US.
And both just arrived!
#42
Old 01-19-2011, 09:03 PM
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So now that we have a general consensus that's it's okay, unless you're being completely out of bounds about it, sharing time:

Even though I know it's fine, and everyone else does it, I don't like doing it. It always just feels wrong somehow, despite the fact that every single day there is at least one item on the shipping log from some place so very obviously not business related. I've given in precisely twice at my current position and had things delivered to the office, because shipping times are ridiculous. They want me to be home to accept, yet they deliver during working hours. What kind of nonsense is this? Are they specifically tailored for the unemployed? Jeez. This was during the year end fiasco at work, and there was just no way I would be able to duck out of work early in order to receive the packages, so I just had them sent to my job.

Anecdote #2: In my less giving-a-fuck days, when I worked for the world's shadiest "talent agency," I couldn't give a good goddamn about what was shipped to the office. I had booze from BevMo shipped there, for chrissakes. Didn't give a shit because I hated the job, I hated the agency, and as any commissioned worker knows, top earners can do pretty much whatever they please. The a/c broke one day, and this is a So Cal summer mind you, so I walked out and said "Call me when you fix this," and would not come back until they did. I went home to an apt that wasn't air-conditioned, but whatever. The point was: fuck them. What were they gonna do? Fire me? Ha! So yeah, I had things delivered there that you probably shouldn't have delivered to your job.

Anyway, in conclusion, nobody cares if you have a package from Amazon sent to you at work.
#43
Old 01-19-2011, 11:26 PM
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I do it all the time, and get a fair number of things delivered. I'm careful to thank the folks in receiving for it, and treat it as a favor and kindness on their part, and when somebody new starts in that department, I ask them if it would be OK. Every one of them has said it was.

Though, I think doing something like running a side business would be way out of line, as would taking it for granted. And when I am occasionally in the position to do them some kindness, I am quick to try!
#44
Old 01-20-2011, 01:45 AM
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I said both "Yes it's OK" and "Depends on the contents/frequency".

I think getting a small package at work on occasion is fine, even if you have mailroom staff who have to sort and/or handle it. The general rule is if you take any work home, you should be able to handle some home stuff at work, including getting packages occasionally.

Obviously, it's not cool if one is abusing it for the sake of convenience, or to avoid paying sales taxes (something I've seen before, since I work near Portland OR, where there's no sales tax, and some of the folks who live in Vancouver WA get big-ticket items shipped to work). But on occasion? Sure.
#45
Old 01-20-2011, 02:44 AM
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Depends on contents, frequency and policies. I've had it done more than once, but always ask first to verify it's fine.
#46
Old 01-20-2011, 03:43 PM
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Another on the "Yes" gang. With an exception or two.

I'm an IT guy, and won't have personal computers delivered to a workplace, especially if it's the same brand as we use at work. Too much potential for someone to think it's company property, instead of personal property. Instead, I had it shipped to my wife's work, where nobody will ever consider that she'd be walking off with a PC... she had to ask for help to load it up from one of the men in the office.
#47
Old 01-20-2011, 04:04 PM
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I've had everything from clothing to food to live tropical fish delivered to the office. No worries.

I do make a habit of lettign the mailroom staff know when I'm expecting something, and leave a card so that they can call me conveniently.

And if it's Wolfermann's I pretty much expect to give up a muffin or two . . .
#48
Old 01-20-2011, 04:16 PM
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I think it's fine to have it delivered to your work, but why would you have to take a day off otherwise? If you're not there to sign for it, they leave a note and then you simply pick it up at the local ups at your convenience.
#49
Old 01-20-2011, 05:19 PM
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Obviously not applicable to the OP ("guitar strings") but some packages are a bit more time-sensitive. See: above, "live tropical fish."

I assume most of the folks who voted "no" are at companies where this is not allowed, but I'd be curious to hear from people who voted "no" for other reasons (moral high ground, etc.)
#50
Old 01-20-2011, 05:44 PM
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50 employee office.

No problem with personal packages. I almost never have anything delivered at home anymore. Furniture & stuff, obviously- but small packages? They're coming to the office, because it's easier and more secure.

Going down to the depot is a pain in the butt. Hanging around all day waiting is out of the question. Coming home and finding a package left unattended in a common area is infuriating.

A lot of work-related deliveries are addressed to me (facilities manager,) so a few personal ones aren't gonna make a difference - but even still, plenty of other people receive packages as well. If your employer doesn't forbid it (and it's not creating a hassle) why not?
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