DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the etiquette around accepting parcels for neighbors? Should the original recipient come to pick it up, or is the onus on the person who accepted the delivery to then drop it off at its intended destination when the recipient appears to be home?
Due to my working hours, I am often home during the day and happy to accept deliveries for others. However, these often end up sitting in my hallway for days. Most notably, a neighbor’s flat-pack furniture boxes were partially blocking my door for over a week, until I managed to catch the neighbors outside and politely request they come get their stuff.
Sometimes I’ll pop over and drop deliveries off later (if I can carry them), but shouldn’t the recipients be making the effort to reclaim their property (assuming they received delivery information)?
GENTLE READER: It still counts as a good deed if you set the terms. A good neighbor need not be confined to her own house in the space left by other people’s purchases.
One problem may be a common attitude by commuters toward people who are at home: that they are always there, with nothing much to do. To squelch that, Miss Manners suggests that you require everyone to give you good estimates of when their packages are expected, so you can say whether you will be there, and also to say when they will pick up the item. This can be phrased in a cheerful, considerate way, because you wouldn’t want to miss the delivery, or for them not to be able to retrieve their packages when you are away.