After an overflowing mail room at Hendrie Hall turned away new United Parcel Service deliveries on Jan. 19, package deliveries have resumed as usual as of last Friday, UPS public relations representatives said.
The postal problem occurred because the basement pickup station was too full of old packages to accept new ones, UPS spokesperson Debbie Curtis-Magley said. Many students had not retrieved packages delivered during the holiday season, causing a backlog. Hendrie Hall opened for additional hours Saturday to allow students to pick up deliveries and clear the mail room, and students continue to visit the cramped basement to retrieve their, in some cases, long-awaited belongings.
“It’s a grand mess, is what it is,” Council of Masters chairman Jonathan Holloway said. “The problem, really, is space.”
According to Holloway, last week around 700 to 800 packages needed to be delivered to Yale per day. As students order belongings online more and more frequently, the University has been unable to find a single shipping location that is both large enough and convenient, he said.
Though Hendrie Hall is a small building, it receives all the University’s UPS packages because residential colleges do not have enough space for the shipments, Holloway said. He added that students are often slow to pick up their packages, exacerbating the problem.
As a temporary solution, the University is now using a different location, at 143 Elm St., for UPS deliveries, and is considering new measures to deal with high-volume shipping times, such as move-in day and second-semester shopping period. Possible fixes may include setting aside additional space, such as part of Payne Whitney Gymnasium, for packages at the beginning of each semester, Holloway said.
Holloway said administrators were not aware of the extent of the backlog problem until an anonymous e-mail sent last week, purportedly from Yale UPS, exhorted students to pick up old packages so that normal delivery could resume.
A new listing has also been posted on the student employment website for a student aide at the Hendrie Hall mail station. A student is needed for 10 to 20 hours a week to manage and organize package inventories and distribute e-mails to students, according to the advertisement.
Students inconvenienced by the backup expressed annoyance, and said the situation at Hendrie Hall had cost them several trips and too much time.
Ashley Edwards ’12 received a package with a new cell phone two weeks after ordering the phone with next-day shipping, she said, adding that she went to Hendrie about five times before successfully getting her package.
Rosie Buchanan ’14 said she has yet to receive a package from L.L. Bean whose delivery was attempted last week.
“They said they tried to deliver it once when all the craziness was happening, and that they would have to try again, and I still haven’t gotten it,” she said.
The anonymous Jan. 19 e-mail announced that over 600 packages were “sitting in a trailer somewhere in Orange, C.T., gathering dust.” UPS spokesperson Susan Rosenberg confirmed that the packages had been brought to Yale, turned away, and taken to the UPS distribution center in Orange, Conn., until they could be delivered the next day.
“This was a highly unusual circumstance,” Curtis-Magley said. “It’s not something that has occurred in the past, so we are certainly committed to working with Yale to make sure that, going forward, this won’t happen again.”
UPS used to run the mail room at Hendrie Hall, but Yale took over the administration of the facility in September 2010.