Holiday packages should be going home

Holiday boxes stacked up on a cart in the ISU mailroom

Packages on a cart in the university's central mailroom are sorted for campus delivery. Sending personal purchases to your office instead of your home detracts from the efficiency of the postal and parcel staff in processing university business. Submitted photo.

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.

University policy
Iowa Code Chapter 721.2.5

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.