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'Tis the Season for Porch Pirates

Arrrggh! Ahoy mates, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. . . for the dreaded Porch Pirates!

I remember a simpler time, just a few decades ago, when getting a package delivered was a most special affair. Somebody had taken the time and effort to put something in a box, take it to the Post Office, and pay to have it shipped to our home. If it was during the holidays, it was likely a box of fresh citrus from my aunt in Florida. Or perhaps a fruitcake from one of my dad’s business associates. It really didn’t matter what was in the package, as the excitement was simply because there was a package!

Because I work out of my home, I have a bird’s eye view of the comings and goings in my neighborhood. This time of year, it’s a parade of brown UPS trucks and red, white and blue FedEx trucks as well as our carrier from the United States Postal Service. I’m a proponent of shopping local, but a recent accident had me laid up and unable to drive.

Anticipating the holidays, I began shopping online. Thursday mornings I would sit in front of the television to see what goodies Tori Johnson was hawking on the Steals and Deals segment of Good Morning America. I ordered a suitcase and handbag for myself, Corkcicles and Spongelle bath sponges for the kids and even a holiday collar for our dog. Packages began arriving and the same excitement from my childhood hit me each time. I found items I had no recollection of ordering (I’m blaming it on the pain medication).

But there’s a dark cloud over all this commercialism. I am on a few closed Facebook groups that are geared towards neighborhoods in Madison County. More and more I’ve seen notices that a package had supposedly been delivered, but it wasn’t there when the person got home. Perhaps it has been delivered to the wrong address. “If you see a package addressed to {so & so}, please let me know so I can come get it.”

That person must not have read about the multiple missing packages in the next neighborhood over. Seems that someone was following the FedEx truck and grabbing packages almost as fast as they could be delivered. There have been national news stories about it. Security companies are cashing in as people buy cameras that are fitted into their doorbells. It’s a sad situation.

I know it’s had me a bit paranoid, tracking packages more closely and keeping an eye out for vehicles that seem to drive a bit too slowly past my home.

While the convenience of shopping online and having items delivered to my doorstep is almost intoxicating, the reality is that I love shopping small, locally-owned businesses and visiting with the proprietors. This time of year, it’s not unusual to be served a glass of wine or eggnog to enjoy while shopping. “Would you liked that gift wrapped?”


And there’s nothing that compares to actually seeing an item with my own eyes and touching it with my hands. I know that what I’m buying is quality, unlike rolling the dice when I order online only to learn the item doesn’t look nearly as nice in person as it did on a website.

When I leave the stores, I put my packages safely in my trunk, where they remain hidden until I’m ready to present them to their intended recipient. No worries about Porch Pirates, Box Burglars, Package Pilferers, or Delivery Demons.

Forbes magazine recently published an article on ways to avoid having your packages stolen. I have my own secret weapon. Two crazed barking dogs at the front door have caused many a FedEx driver to turn and run after dropping off my packages. I haven’t told them that the dogs have yet to open a door on their own. I figure if those delivering the packages are frightened by my canines, anyone thinking of stealing the packages will be frightened as well.

Release the hounds!

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