For those of us not blessed with a doorman, receiving a package at one's apartment remains one of the great inconveniences of urban life, along with libidinous neighbors, crotchety landlords and the general misery of living inside a 12x12 box—if you're lucky. Chasing down the UPS guy can be dangerous, braving the post office a nightmare and trusting your neighbors not to imbibe your beer of the month club delivery a gamble. To that end, some enterprising young people have created a new package delivery service that helps ease some of the anxiety accompanying your Amazon delivery. Parcel, which quietly began servicing Manhattan this month, offers some peace of mind for package recipients just in time for the big holiday rush.
It works like this: Each free membership comes with a unique code that Parcel uses to keep track of its clients. When you're entering your address for delivery—or instructing Mom on where to send that care package—use Parcel's SoHo address, which is staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., primetime for package delivery. When your package arrives, you'll get a text from the company to set up a delivery at your apartment for sometime that evening, spaced out in hour-long windows. Text back your preferred time slot and then await your delivery without stress in the comfort of your home. Deliveries—regardless of the amount of packages—are just $5.
Owner Jesse Kaplan came up with the idea for his company in the way you'd think: he missed a package at his apartment and was put through the ringer to retrieve it. "I waited around for packages, I tracked down missed packages at post offices and shipment centers whose Yelp reviews alone could induce nightmares, I sent items to friends with doormen and picked them up days later... it was a disaster." Kaplan tells us that the response has been "overwhelmingly positive," with most members requesting deliveries to the West Village, Greenwich Village, East Village and Lower East Side.
To celebrate their grand opening, Parcel is offering free deliveries anywhere in Manhattan—no outer borough service for the time being—through January 15th. We went through the process ourselves to see how it all worked and can confirm that things unfolded just as promised on their website. We usually get stuff delivered to our office but there have been times that larger packages have languished under our desk until there's been a suitable time to make the commute. This could be a solution.
Employees deliver packages via car so they can get to-and-fro quickly; even so, there's a 20-pound limit on packages, so you'd have to find an alternate method for that 28-pound bag of kitty litter. It will be interesting to see how the company keeps up with demand if things really take off. Expansion to other boroughs are already in the works; until then, you're responsible for your own artisanal, hand-crafted holiday gift deliveries, Brooklyn.