At first glance, having your holiday online purchases shipped to your office is the solution to two potential problems: front porch theft and nosy family members. What you might not realize is that personal use of ISU postal and parcel services (PPS) is against both university policy and state law.
If your package arrives on campus via the U.S. Postal Service, it is routed through PPS and violates the rules. If FedEx, UPS or Speed-Dee delivers a personal package to your office building, no rules are violated, said Robert Tott, PPS manager. So, it's worth noting how your purchases will be arriving. Amazon and Target send most of their deliveries through the U.S. Postal Service, he noted.
Two key concerns drive the policy, according to Tott. A high volume of personal mail makes the mailroom staff less efficient with the job they're supposed to do: quickly sorting and delivering university business mail. The other is the potential liability for Iowa State when a shipped item arrives to its purchaser and has been damaged somewhere along the way.
"To provide efficient service to campus, it's best we not spend our time in the middle of those types of situations," he said.
The seasonal hike in incoming packages hasn't been too dramatic yet, according to Tott, though his staff delivered some large boxes after Thanksgiving weekend that clearly were not university business.
No service Dec. 22-24
There's one more compelling reason this year to ship your purchases home. Tott noted that the way the university holidays line up, PPS will be closed the last three days before Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 22, through Monday, Dec. 24. During that window, his staff won't be around to deliver mail arriving on campus via the U.S. Postal Service.
In effect, Santa could be late.