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BBC News - The parcel conundrum

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Having run our (now defunct) snowboard shop online for many years, I still remain a HUGE logistics nerd. We found that it was far easier to do signature-less deliveries, and just roll the dice on stolen packages. This article explains a phenomenon that we observed in certain countries where package delivery had similar odds than rolling the dice.


"We were expecting a gift to arrive, and the courier firm told us it had been delivered. We told them we hadn't received anything, and the company said it had been delivered to a hedge. We haven't got a hedge."

Some weeks later the box was discovered, sure enough in a hedge, about half a mile away from his house.

How does this sort of thing happen? Part of the problem seems to be that individual drivers are rarely incentivised to successfully deliver a parcel first time.

Some companies even count a missed-delivery card through the door as a successful delivery when making claims about their performance.

This doesn't happen in America, right?

It happens in the USA, however having sent ~40,000 packages, we had about 4 that were stolen from door-steps, and UPS covers that. Also, of for places like Manhattan, we found UPS knows to deliver to the building super, and for "sketchy" areas, we used an integrated Google Maps view in our CMS to selectively require signatures. Google street view FTW!

"integrated Google Maps view in our CMS to selectively require signatures"

okay.. that's officially cool

Heh, thanks. We also had Google Maps demographics reporting. We could see where our customers lived, and we could see weird cluster trends where people in close proximity would order, and we could see macro demographic trends, e.g.: people in South Central LA never once bought from us.