WWYD: A Delivery Meant for Someone Else

In this installment of “What Would You Do,” receiving a package meant for a previous tenant:

About a month after I moved into my last apartment, I received a large-ish, heavy package addressed to the previous tenant. I knew the apartment had been empty for at least a month before I moved in, because they had done significant renovations. The package came from JCPenny, not from a personal address. I had no way to contact the previous tenant (though looking back, I suppose I could have asked the property management company), so I just held on to the package, assuming the tenant would contact me when they didn’t get their package.

After about two months with no word, my boyfriend convinced me to just open it already. The box inside was gift wrapped! With a pre-printed card congratulating them on their marriage! We felt terrible, but having gone that far, we figured there was nothing left to do but unwrap it. It was a slow cooker. We have yet to use it. — Jessica

Boy, there are certainly a lot of shipping mishaps happening to us!

I can tell you exactly what I would do in this situation because I’ve also received a package meant for a previous tenant. This happened a few years ago when I was living with a roommate in Queens.

The package left on my doorstep was pretty large and heavy—it was rectangular, and the size of an arm span. My landlord dropped by the apartment pretty often to do maintenance work, and when I asked about the previous tenant, he shrugged and said he didn’t know what happened to him. The previous tenant’s name looked unique enough that I might be able to do some Google investigating, but when the results were displayed, it became clear to me that the tenant’s name wasn’t as unique as I thought it was. So I wrote “return to sender” on the package and left it for USPS to pick up. A month later, the package was returned to us with a note on it in big black sharpie letters:

Sender no longer exists, it read.

The package sat in our living room for a full year. It was big, so we tried to put it behind our couch. We figured that the previous tenant would eventually get in touch with us about the package, but we never heard from him. We opened it, and inside was a keyboard. When my roommate and I moved our separate ways, neither of us wanted to take the keyboard with us. We asked the new tenant if he wanted it, and he said he did. We imagined the keyboard would be in that apartment forever, passed on to each new tenant until it met it’s true owner one day who’d appreciate the heck out of it.

Or the tenant we gave it to sold it, which is more probable.


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.



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