By Maggie Callaghan, Senior Staff Writer
Kelly Gaskin, a parent of a Miami University first-year, sent her son a care package of homemade baked goods. The tracking number, which was sent through the United States Postal Service (USPS), said the package had already been delivered. However, her son never received a notification via email from Wells Package Center.
“I just thought, ‘that is ridiculous,’” said Gaskin.
Her son never received his package, and the same incident occurred two more times.
“I thought I was an exception, but then, looking through the Facebook page, I realized that there was really a problem here,” said Gaskin
After hearing of similar stories from multiple parents on Miami’s Parents Facebook page, which is designed for parents to share news, events and concerns regarding their children at Miami, Gaskin reached out to a supervisor at the Package Center to make a complaint about her son’s missing package. She did not find this very helpful.
“I called One Stop and spoke to a gentleman who couldn’t care less,” Gaskin said. “I asked to speak to the manager and he told me he was one. I was kind of pissed off.”
With a rise in complaints from parents on the Facebook page, the Wells Package Center has implemented a few changes in hopes of deterring more packages from going missing or possibly being stolen. Student employees must now submit their name to the package receiving system so that student employees can be held accountable when packages are mislabeled or misplaced.
Marissa Sherman, a Miami sophomore who works at the Wells Package Center twice a week, says this is a frequent problem.
“Usually [there are] a couple packages each day that we can’t find when a student comes in to pick one up,” said Sherman.
Sherman says student employees are responsible for handling the packages once they arrive at the Wells Package Center. This can be a difficult task during times of the year when there is a high influx of packages.
Managers and student employees both agree that the problem is usually with packages being misplaced, mislabeled or lost even before the package arrived in Oxford. This is what happened to Gaskin, whose package was lost at the USPS warehouse in Cincinnati.
According to Anita Byrd, a manager at the Wells Package Center, packages coming to Miami University are scanned as delivered when they arrive in Cincinnati.
“After speaking with Byrd, I’ve realized it’s a USPS problem,” said Gaskin. “The postal service should be easier than this.”
Some parents may have doubts with the student employees that work there, but Byrd explained the student employees are always monitored.
“All student staff work in an open processing area that have two full-time staff supervising their activities,” said Byrd.
While changes are being made, Byrd believes the system in place for handling packages is sufficient.
“The only rise in reported missing packages that I am aware of is from the comments on the Parents Facebook page,” Byrd said. “There have been no reports of ‘stolen’ packages received by the student package center this academic year.”
However, according to the Miami University Police crime log, on Feb. 12, a $25 Subway gift card was reported missing from a delivered UPS package. The report says the student had received a care package that was unopened, but found an opened card inside with a missing gift card.
For Gaskin, she enjoys sending care packages to her son, who she only sees about four times a year. However, because of this process, she has become more hesitant with sending care packages.
“You know, it’s great to make pumpkin bread on Sunday and for my son to get it by Wednesday … but I won’t do it anymore.”