1 The Case of the Missing Package | The Billfold

The Case of the Missing Package

Mike: So I ordered a vacuum on Amazon the other day. It was delivered last night, but when I got home, it wasn’t there. Someone stole the package.

Meaghan: WOW.

Mike: So I emailed them.

Meaghan: Amazon?

Mike: Yes. And I got a reply from someone using a form message.

Meaghan: They are going to send you another one right? I feel like they’re surprisingly good about that.

Mike: Yes, they were like, “okay, sorry that happened, we’re going to overnight another one to you.”

Meaghan: Aw.

Mike: It’s crazy. I’m wondering if it’ll get stolen again. Like, someone sees a big package and thinks there’s something worth stealing in it.

Meaghan: Yeah what can you do?

Mike: I could stay home and work, which I don’t want to do, but I’ll do it if it means not having my vacuum stolen again.

Meaghan: Maybe you can have things shipped to the office.

Mike: Yeah, true. Though I would have to lug it home.

Meaghan: Oh yeah, ugh.

Mike: When I realized someone stole it, I started laughing. Have fun with my vacuum! This was at 11 last night.

Meaghan: So shameless!

Mike: Serves me right for staying at the office so late.

Meaghan: Hard work karma! You should leave a passive aggressive note in your building. Ha, I mean NO but…

Mike: Also, here’s another thing: I think I saw the new neighbor who lives upstairs steal a package.

Meaghan: What?

Mike: Maybe it belonged to her. There was another package from Amazon left downstairs and I saw her circle it for a little bit through my door guest viewer thing.

Meaghan: Wow.

Mike: She picked up the box and shook it. And put it down. And then picked it up again. And then walked upstairs with it.

Meaghan: Wow.

Mike: I mean, I don’t know. I don’t want to accuse her of anything.

Meaghan: WOW.

Mike: Like, what could I do.

Meaghan: Maybe her whole apartment is full of other people’s boxes.

Mike: Can you imagine?

Meaghan: Unopened!

Mike: I am just waiting for her to put out all that cardboard.

Meaghan: Would she strip off the packing label?

Mike: I hope not! I would love for this mystery to be solved. I would also love to have my vacuum.


Photo: Carl Malamud


16 Comments / Post A Comment

E$ (#1,636)

Mike Dang, Finance Detective!!!

Stina (#686)

@E$ Ooh! Ooh! Mike, now you need to plant an Amazon box with your name on it in the hallway and stuff you wouldn’t mind losing in it. Perhaps set up a webcam too to catch her red-handed. I’ll be your spunky sidekick (’cause every Detective needs one) if Meaghan isn’t up to it right now.

samburger (#5,489)

Mike! I don’t think this is a mystery! What human on this planet has ever shaken and hemmed and hawed over their own package before collecting it?

Is this the book I ordered or is it the blender I ordered??? ugh it sounds like the book I am definitely leaving this here and returning to my apartment to continue hand-mashing a smoothie.

no wait I guess I should take it with me

seakelps (#5,146)

@samburger oh no, I might be one of those people! My roommate and I will let the other know when we have deliveries coming, and I have definitely picked up of of our packages, gone “ugh this is too heavy for me to carry right now”, and put it down in the hopes they will just assume I didn’t see it. I’m the worst.

Also, I think I live in a bizarre building of antisocial-but-still-friendly-people. Like, I think I’ve only “met” about half of the people in the building over 2.5 years (and that only if you include seeing once ever as meeting), but people will carry up other people’s packages and lean them against the recipient’s door if they haven’t been picked up in a few days. It’s weird! But nice!

samburger (#5,489)

@seakelps Oh, well there you go with a totally plausible reason to hem and haw over your own package!

Trilby (#191)

I usually have things shipped to my office because I worry about some of the riff-raff in my building. But yeah, I have to lug it home. Sometimes I make a nice handle on the box out of clear packing tape. Once I ordered a new kitchen sink and accidentally (by default) had it shipped to my office. Luckily, I worked late and got to take it home in a black car paid for by my work. Also luckily, I had a small handcart in my office. Whew!

garli (#4,150)

@Trilby I do this for anything over 50 bucks, but I drive so work so it’s not a big deal. It’s also 1000 times easier for when you need to sign for something.

grobel (#3,631)

Over the holidays someone got into our building’s lobby and took everything out of my box from the Gap. The weird part was it only yoga pants and bras so someone opened up the box, saw that and still decided they wanted it. There’s no accounting for what people will steal. The Gap replaced everything, thankfully.

My coworker has a camera installed at his front door and he said a while back a man and woman were going around his neighborhood pushing a stroller but it didn’t have a baby in it, they were just grabbing packages as they walked and stuffing them into the stroller. I have to hand it to them, that’s pretty clever.

readyornot (#816)

I am sorry about your lost vacuum cleaner, Mike! How irritating.

I got really worried about the potential theft of a Christmas gift delivery last December, and I had it delivered to an Amazon locker a block from my house instead. That system worked really well for me!

Are you going to review the vacuum? Or leave that to the wirecutter dudes?

Mike Dang (#2)

@readyornot Just for personal use! I actually chose it based on a Wirecutter review.

readyornot (#816)

@Mike Dang Cool. I don’t know what they’re recommending these days, but I like my Miele a lot.

jennknee (#3,899)

UPS said it delivered an MP3 player to my mom by putting the package on the front porch. I bought it from amazon around Christmas time.

My mom was sitting chatting with her friends on the front porch the entire evening when this supposedly happened (this is southern California, if you were wondering about the weather). So it could be UPS never delivered it at all!

Amazon sent another MP3 player anyway. They are good!

Beans (#1,111)

I trust people in my building, but I always get packages delivered to work because the mail carrier won’t leave them if they’re too big to fit in the box. Then I have to schlep to the post office and stand in an interminably long line to pick it up and schlep it home. So either way, schlepping is involved.

I bought a TV online last year and just felt like the biggest asshole. Something about it just felt embarrassingly showy to me. The mailroom guy at work brought it to my desk and I was just so sheepish.

takaba (#2,936)


I got an etsy package shipped to me two day priority (sweet! in time for my vacation!) and it delivered on time, except my building concierge has NO RECORD of it existing. I yell at them, tell them to check all their areas, thinking it got stolen during the several hours we have no concierge in the middle of the day. USPS says “well it says delivered” and shrugs until I check back two weeks later (oh yeah, went on vacation without the camera bag I’d ordered for the vacation) and it says it was delivered TWICE. Not returned and delivered. Just delivered twice. Two weeks apart. Apartment still has no record of either magical delivery.

In my last contact with them, USPS was so confused by the tracking history that they said they would check one more place and then have me file a claim. So a $100 camera bag has vanished into mid-air (TWICE!)

… wow I clearly needed to get that out.

PicNic (#3,760)

this happened to me! except it wasn’t a vacuum. December last year I ordered a metal guitar pick made out of a recycled cymbal for my cousin’s husband – he’s a drummer and plays the guitar and likes funky things – and ti was a tiny package shipped USPS so I figured they would put it in my locked mailbox but GUESS NOT because it said it was delivered online, but someone definitely stole it. It wasn’t even amazon, it was a small company, but they were SO NICE and overnighted me one the next day to my office.

now I get everything here, which is sometimes convenient and a fun surprise at work and sometimes a bummer when I then have to lug it home

Amazon is the best about this stuff. I had three packages stolen within a day or two (Christmas shopping + jackass neighbors that leave my packages in the outside walkway while I bring their in EVERY SINGLE TIME BECAUSE I AM A DECENT HUMAN BEING) and Amazon sent out replacements immediately. The thing is, the mail carrier has to prove that the item was delivered, and saying “Oh yeah we totally delivered that” doesn’t cut it. Needs to be a signature confirmation.

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