Oliver: Delivering laughs along with the packages

Some things are universally funny. Others are a matter of personal taste.

Some people have a weakness for slapstick; others have a penchant for “dry” humor.

Then there are those, like me, who just find everyday life to be a constant source of amusement. Things have a way of striking me funny, even when perhaps they aren’t meant to be.

Take for instance what happened a couple of times in the past week.

My husband has been prescribed a bunch of dietary supplements to complement his medications for Alzheimer’s. The particular brands his neurologist suggested are available online, so that’s where I get them, from that oh-so-popular online delivery vendor named after a region in South America.

Anyway, I also had ordered something in June that was on back order.

An email last week mentioned that the long-awaited items were on the way. I also had recently downloaded the company’s app on my phone, so I figured one way or another I’d know when it arrived.

I was downstairs typing away on my laptop when I got a notification on my phone. Sadly, I’m a little Pavlovian about these things, so I dropped everything to check it out.

When I followed the prompts, I was taken to a photograph of a cute little doorway that was illuminated by the sun. Odd, I thought. Then I looked closer.

It was my front door. With a little package sitting on the doormat.

I swear I hadn’t heard a doorbell (which is really, really loud) or a knock. But there it was, a photo of my front door. All while I was IN THE HOUSE.

Sure enough, when I checked the stoop, there was my package.

If you’re a fan of Steven Wright, as I am, you might see the weird humor in all of this. Had the delivery person just knocked, I would have come for the package. But no. The person, whose shadow clearly is visible in the photo, took a photo of my front door and sent it to me. All while I was mere feet away.

In the big picture, this all makes sense. Who hasn’t seen the reports on the Chicago newscasts about the packages that are stolen from front doors at an alarming rate around the holidays? Security cameras seem to be able to show these crimes taking place, but rarely do we hear that the thieves are caught. No wonder this company is starting to cover their tails by being able to prove that deliveries have been made.

The same thing happened a couple of days later when some of my husband’s supplements arrived. This time, he was sitting in the living room, not far from the door. He swears they didn’t knock or ring the bell that time, either.

Humorously, another portion of that order was coming from a different vendor who must not use the same delivery system. It was sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Since we saw our mail carrier strolling up the sidewalk, we were able to intercept the package before it was left on the stoop. I’m fairly certain our mail carrier wasn’t about to snap a picture. That really would have seemed creepy.

But there’s even more. I just saw an ad from the same online delivery behemoth that offers yet another way to ensure package delivery. They will put a keypad on your door that allows their delivery drivers to enter your house to leave the packages just inside the door.

Again, it makes some sense to avoid the whole issue of packages “walking” away, but maybe that’s a little more intrusive than some of us would like.

Meanwhile, I’ll just admire the silly pictures of my cute little doorway. Although maybe they could try just knocking or ringing the bell.

• Joan Oliver is a former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

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