By Hector Condori

UConn’s mailroom has been receiving a vast amount of package orders throughout September,
resulting in delays lasting as long as five days.

The rise in mailroom activity contributed to a lack of items needed for dorm life, including tech
appliances and textbooks. Students have taken to social media in hope for some reassurance of
their package’s safety.

“I ordered a HP laptop charger… last Wednesday and arrived on Friday. It’s Tuesday now and I
still (haven’t) received an email from UConn Mail Services yet… I mean, not to blame them
since there are so many packages right now. But, come on – it’s been 5 days.”

This amount of activity has also caused problems for the UConn Mail Services staff. Program
Manager Tracy Cree described her experience at the mailroom’s busiest days as difficult.

“I would honestly say it would feel like I could work 24 hours and it wouldn’t make a difference.
That kind of feeling is gut wrenching. Scott and I both have been putting in hours beyond our
normal work hours. We’ve been doing it on the weekends just trying to get things out, whether
it’s the care packages or just the influx of what we’ve been receiving,” Cree said.

There could be a variety of factors that contributed their part towards the mailroom’s hectic
activity, yet Cree believes one specific influence is the main cause.

“I blame COVID for everything in all seriousness. It changed everything for us from the moment
it started. We were, last semester and the semester before, we were having areas shut down for
COVID safety, if somebody in a residence hall tested positive, and that whole floor was, you
know, confined,” Cree said.

It’s widely known that the lockdown has increased the use and sales of online shopping, leaving
a mark on the mindset of the average customer. While this may be good news for businesses,
how does this affect mailing services? For starters, the familiarity of being able to return
purchases can result in disappointment.

“We here at university mail services and at the mailrooms, we don’t take return packages. They
either have to go through the bookstore, who probably isn’t used to handling that load, UPS
downtown or USPS downtown. I don’t think USPS was expecting that. We’re getting it out and
we’re delivering it, we’re not expecting it…to return back and so that really shifted things as
well.” Cree said.

Another outcome from the pandemic is the repetitive use of auto filling addresses. It’s become a
second nature reaction to choose the option that could save a couple of seconds from typing,
but is it worth the safety of your package?

“Between automatic refills, and other things, we do continue to get packages here for students
who graduated, not just that this past semester, but years ago. And I think everybody would
enjoy not having to deal with that the person ordering it as well as us having to return it, and the
carriers that bring it to us and then turn around and take it back. It’s just a waste of everyone’s
resources and money. So just slow down and take a look at your address and make sure that
that is accurate. Whenever you’re ordering anything from anywhere”

Although the situation has since calmed down, students should prepare for future
inconveniences. If not, the upcoming holiday season and following semesters could be a repeat
of recent events.

“I suspect we’re gonna have a problem even for Halloween. Students like to order their outfits,
their costumes for Halloween. And we see it every year, before even this year, is people
ordered very late.” Cree said. “I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but UPS and FedEx and USPS
have already started to warn customers about the holiday season, that they’re having trouble
getting things to people on time.”

The best way to avoid delivery delays is to accurately provide the address information.
“The only ones that…is supposed to use the street address are those that live at Northwood
because they live down you know, down the road as we say. Core campus is just your first
name last name, room number hall, Storrs, Connecticut, 06269. That’s it, when they start
throwing other things in, that’s what confuses our cameras, makes it slower for them to be able
to process.”

UConn mailrooms use a Pitney Bowes OneSort Pro, a machine that avoids manual data entry
thanks to its barcode scanner. However, too much given information could ruin its purpose.
“People want to add a lot of information into the address for this university. They think they need
to add the University of Connecticut under their name. They don’t. 06269 is the University of
Connecticut. They think they have to add that street address. They don’t,” Cree said.
For more information about mailroom services and delivery instructions, go to