Figuring Out Deliveries

I had assumed that the security panel at the front gate could be linked to my phone so that I could buzz people in. When I asked my landlord about it, he confessed to not knowing how it worked and then chatted with another resident who happened to be nearby about outdated names on the information panel. The other man agreed that some names needed to be changed and said he had asked the person responsible to change them, but that had not happened. That was my first clue that linking to the security gate might not go well.

I have become used to shopping online and find that it suits me quite well. I like choosing from a variety of items at a variety of stores without having to wander in and out of shopping centres. I particularly liked getting my groceries delivered, and thought I might continue to do that. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be so easy to receive deliveries here as it had been at my previous home.

Image via Canada Post 2019 Annual Report

First, I must say that Canada Post was having no trouble getting my mail inside the security gate and into my mail box. Their packages, too, found their way to the parcel boxes near my apartment. It seems, though, that they are the only delivery service that has the security gate figured out. Three other delivery companies do not have a key and at first I didn’t know how to get the delivery people through the gate.

A couple of times I met them at the gate so that they didn’t have to go through it. On three other occasions, though, either I was not home or they didn’t have my phone number. One driver left my parcel for pickup at a general store ten minutes’ drive away. The others tried again when I was home to meet them. I quickly figured out that Amazon will use the nearest Post Office as an alternate delivery site, and so I began to use that to collect my Amazon packages.

I mentioned to another resident whom I met in the parking garage that I was having problems with deliveries and she said, “It’s easy. You just press 6.” So, the next time I was at the security gate I tried it out. I was expecting the system to buzz me in, but instead I heard a man’s voice asking what I wanted. Ooops. My mistake. I apologized and pressed the asterisk button to disconnect.

Image via Alex Borland at publicdomainpictures.net

When the cable company came to hook up my TV and Internet, the technician had told me that I would need to plug a phone in to the outlet in order to connect to the security gate panel. So, a few days later, I called my landlord to ask if I could use my cell phone as the number linked to the panel, but he said no. He asked if I had a landline phone and I said that I hadn’t had a landline in years. He said “Oh, you are a modern one!” which made me laugh.

The next day he came by with an old phone and plugged it in to the outlet. He said I didn’t need to get a phone number or a telephone account for it; I only needed to plug it in. It seems the gate panel isn’t connected to a phone number, but instead it is connected to the phone jack in the apartment regardless of which phone is connected to it. I had no idea that was possible. We tested it out a couple of times, and I found that the 6 I needed to press was on the phone in my apartment and not at the gate. My landlord subsequently put in a request for my name to be put on the entry board.

A few days later, a delivery person could not find my name on the board and yelled loudly for someone to buzz her in, and someone did. When she knocked on my door she told me to get my name put on the entry panel. I explained that I had requested it. “Of course you have,” she sighed. So, I wrote my name on a strip of green masking tape and put it on the entry panel glass over the names of my apartment’s previous residents.

Photo by mohamed hassan form PxHere

A few days later, while I was out for a walk, a delivery person tried to leave a package for me, found my name on the panel, but couldn’t gain access because I wasn’t home to buzz him in! Gah! Clearly, this system has shortcomings. He had my cell phone number and called to asked what he should do, but I could not help him. In the end he decided he would just buzz any number and ask for access. I found the package outside my door when I got home.

So, yesterday, I went online to arrange for Flex Delivery at the nearest post office. It is at the same alternate drop-off/pick up location that Amazon uses but it has a number designated only for my deliveries. It is like a PO Box for letters, but for packages instead. And, so far as I can tell, it is a free service. From now on, that is where I will direct all deliveries.

And today, for the first time, having lived here for almost a month, I enjoyed the first successful delivery using the security gate access and my landlord’s old landline phone. Hurray! I did a victory lap around my living room.

I haven’t summoned up the wherewithal to order groceries to be delivered yet because I am not sure when I will be home to receive them. Aside from that, I think I have solved my delivery problems. Even though I would love to update the gate system, I’ll settle for whatever works.

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