Wouldn’t Believe It If It Wasn’t On TV

, , , | Learning | March 28, 2019

(I am at the main reception at a sixth form college — our students are primarily aged between 16 and 18 — when a delivery driver pulls up and walks in with a pretty fancy 42-inch LED television packaged in bubble wrap. Without saying anything, he offers me the PDA to sign for it, but I don’t move to take it. We are not expecting any deliveries, let alone something that would be so expensive and out-of-place in a classroom where we primarily use laptops hooked up to projectors.)

Me: “Hello. What name is on the package, please?”

Driver: “[Name].”

Me: “[Name], what? What surname?”

Driver: “There isn’t one; it’s just [Name].”

(This is very unusual; I’ve never heard of a package being delivered without a full name on it, and what little I have been told does not match with any of our known suppliers, administrators, or managers. I take a look at the package and immediately spot another problem: the address on the cover is for a house in another town five miles away, in no way related to our college.)

Me: “Why is this here? We’re not [address], and that’s not one of our campuses.”

Driver: “We were redirected; the person who ordered used this as their home address, but told us to deliver it here.”

(As he’s saying this, my colleague taps me on the shoulder and points at her computer screen; she has quickly searched for the address and found out who placed the order.)

Colleague: “That address is for [Full Name]; he’s a student. They aren’t allowed to have stuff delivered to campus. Let me see if I can find him and get this cleared up.”

(She walks off, leaving me awkwardly waiting while the driver complains that he has 30 more boxes to deliver and it is already late in the afternoon. Eventually, my colleague returns and confirms that the package is addressed to a student, and thus we agree that we will not accept the delivery. We don’t have anywhere safe to keep a large-screen TV, and even if we did, we don’t appreciate being volunteered to look after it, especially without being asked first. Similarly, the student can’t drive; how is he supposed to get it home, anyway?)

Colleague: “So, we’re refusing to sign for it. That’s not our address, and students aren’t allowed to use us for accepting their mail.”

Driver: “Are you sure? Where should I take it, then?”

Me: “Perhaps you could deliver it to the address that’s written on the packaging?”

(Eventually, he accepted that delivering it to an address that was not the one on the package wouldn’t go down too well, and he left. Because this was a minor breach of the college rules — and quite a rude way to use staff as one’s private servants — we informed the student’s coach about what had happened, and he burst out laughing. It then transpired that the coach had overheard the student complaining that, in a fit of anger, he had thrown his XBox controller and broken his TV only a few days before. Apparently, we quickly found out, when we investigated further, the student had ordered the TV using his parents’ credit card and had instructed it to be delivered to college rather than his home so that he could sneak it in without them noticing. BECAUSE he had admitted doing that, we now had to contact his parents directly and tell them exactly what had happened, not just because the student had broken our rules but because he had pretty much admitted to committing credit card fraud. It still puzzles me how he expected to get a 42-inch LED TV home — trying to carry it on a bus through a rough part of town, maybe? — and then dispose of the old one without his parents noticing, even if they DIDN’T realise that his broken TV screen had miraculously healed itself overnight.)

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