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A safe drop-off box for packages.
  (+20, -2)(+20, -2)
(+20, -2)
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As people increasingly order stuff over the web, package traffic to unattended households will increase.

Pretty much every time I have something shipped to me with UPS, I have to drive to their drop-off location and wait in line in a drafty industrial loft until someone brings me the thrice-rejected package. It's a week later than it needs to be, and in the wrong place.

I wonder: will we ever evolve a dog-house sized device into which packages can be dropped as a legally binding act of delivery, maintaining both the recipient's privacy and right of ownership?

Could it become an accepted feature of modern architecture, in the same way that mail boxes are now?

(Meanwhile, the best alternative is of course to ship the stuff to work.)

jutta, Nov 25 1999

(?) BearBox http://www.bearbox.com/
This seems to be baked now. I got some mail from a clothing company who I have occasionally bought stuff from to say that I can get 10% off if I take part in their BearBox trial. Looks interesting - BearBox seems pretty well thought out (Box is solar-powered and large enough for two cases of wine).. [hippo, Nov 25 1999]

Boden http://www.boden.co.uk/
[As an aside, this is the clothing company mentioned above. They like to have their customers model in their catalogues - just click on the "Faces of Boden" link.] [hippo, Nov 25 1999]


       Or work from home.
dnm, Mar 01 2000

       One of the web grocers installs a locking refrigerator someplace outside your house.
rmutt, Mar 14 2000

       Hotel rooms need this too, so the front desk can have extra towels, room service, etc. delivered to your room without having to interrupt your shower or sleep or sex or whatever.
egnor, Apr 24 2000

       Good bakery.. I think there are alot people that have the same problem.. maybe you should develop a garden package box or something. The only difficulty is the safety of your package. I mean, there will be some sick minds that'll break open your package box and rip your stuff.
enveekaa, Jul 20 2000

       [enveekaa]: That's why the package box would be designed to spray the perp with paint and skunk scent.
centauri, Jul 20 2000

       I we can get this one baked, I would be very happy. Unfortunately, I think the tricky part is the "legally binding act of delivery" bit. Parcels generally need to be signed for, or physically handed over, because they are likely to contain goods of value.   

       I guess this may be alleviated by having the parcel kennel lockable - presumably by pin code (printed on delivery notes) to avoid delivery services carrying huge bunches of keys. Unlocking the kennel would enable them to pick up a receipt you'd previously filled in, giving you peace of mind if the package is a couple of days late.
Lemon, Jul 21 2000

       Problem would be the security of the code. Besides, while a list of PIN's would be less inconvienent than a big honkin' mess of keys, it'd still be a pain.   

       UPS at least carries around their little computerized widgets for taking signatures...Should be able to interface that somehow, so it identifies the UPS person, takes a digital signature, and unlocks the box...   

       As to people who would break open the package boxes, that's a basic problem and will never go away.
StarChaser, Jul 21 2000

       I had this idea also around the same time as jutta posted it, but at the time I didn't know the Halfbakery. My starting point was the situation in my country. In the Netherlands we have the highest density of shops I once read. And the ATM is also very popular. It is even possible to get food 'from the wall'. My idea is to go to the nearest shop, or in the US context, drive by your favourite gas-station on your way from work, type in the delivery code at some kind of ATM for your parcel and throw it in the trunk (in my case, on bicycle) 24/24h and 7/7days. You don't even have to go there yourself. You can ask other people from your household or neighbours to pass by that automated distributor. I especially like the combination with the existing shops. With this feature they won't go out of business in the long run, they just have something extra to offer. Distribution is also a lot more efficient. Instead of FedEx cars circling around in your block (and doubleparking) and all those inefficiencies, one big truck can bring all the parcels for the neighbourhood to the distributing point. More environmental friendly also. And it also saves extra car trips by you. You can easily combine it with other trips you (or others in your household) are making anyway (commuting for example). By ordering through the web you don't go out for real shopping either (again one trip to the mall less).
rrr, Aug 15 2000

       Delivery proof is easy-peasy - just bar code the package, and have a bar code reader installed in the package repository - post a package through the oversized 'letterbox' and reads the bar code, and registers the package as delivered. Need to have it in such a way that the bar code could not be read unless the package is posted through though (in case any delivery men get an idea of faking it). Still even then, you would immmediately know who had stolen the item, and the delivery company would be liable, so likelihood is small anyway.
goff, Sep 12 2000

       All good ideas. e-business is going to remain difficult until more efficient and streamlined delivery systems evolve to catch up with sales.   

       As for the XL-mailbox, the electronic lock idea has a great deal of merit: perhaps one could use the tracking number on the package? To make it less obtrusive it could be partially subterranian.
Scott_D, Sep 13 2000

       A tracking number-based scanner and/or keypad lock is an amazing idea that I would expect to see patented in real life. It prevents unqualified people from opening boxes, and prevents mis-delivery of items into boxes that don't expect them, and dumping of unwanted stuff, as well as providing potential for automatic notification of both sender and recipient upon arrival.   

       Oh wow, that BearBox thing really is what I meant. Cool.
jutta, Oct 02 2000

       ...and you'll notice that you proposed "Mailbox-XL" in November 1999 and BearBox was founded in February 2000... :-)
hippo, Oct 02 2000

       How about this: The delivery company ships things in BearBoxes. The home user just provides something to chain the box to. The delivery company chains the box to the door; the recipient takes out the thing; the delivery company picks up the empty, reusable box the next time they go past.
jutta, Oct 02 2000

       I usually try to get to know a few of my neighbors.
thumbwax, Oct 04 2000

       Portable hole, nailed down with a flag on it :)
spacer, Feb 08 2005

       Yeah, or Dungeons & Dragons...
spacer, Feb 08 2005

       Of course, I would think the dragon could also be of use when ill-behaved youths show up with their baseball bats. T'would keep her from getting bored.
spacer, Feb 12 2005

       I baked this in the suburbs, with an unused (and later broken down) car in my driveway. I had a note on my front door to put packages in there and lock it. Of course //an accepted feature of modern architecture// all depends on your perception.
Worldgineer, Feb 12 2005

       The safe box could be leased off the delivery company. When you use your keycode/swipe card etc. to retrieve you're package you place a signed slip in the box for the next collection dude to pick up. Might be a way round the 'legal binding act of delivery.'
etherman, Feb 12 2005

       Best idea I've read on this site so far.
kinemojo, Sep 05 2005

       Just wait 'til you get to Vagina Jam.
bristolz, Sep 05 2005

       Brilliant, yet again! This is great! What you would need is to have the delivery guy carry around a device, similarly sized to the signature thingy, that plugs into your box. This calls your cellphone. Note that the box calls you, not the delivery guy. The delivery guy hears you through a speakerphone in the box. You tell him where the object is from (i.e. eBay) and he types "eBay" into the box. The box opens. He puts the object in and closes it. That way, he can't get it open without you, and neither can anyone else. But you just type "eBay" and you can get in. And you can change the code, but only if you have a key. And make the box virtually invincible, of course.
TahuNuva, Nov 03 2007

       We just leave a signed note saying "Please leave package on doorstep" or "Please leave in the playhouse in the garden". Most deliverers seem happy with this, and we haven't lost anything yet.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2008


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