Scenarios, delivery edition

One finds an unexpected delivery on the doorstep. Upon verifying it was not a forgotten purchase, the global retailer is contacted.

“Thank you for your concern,” the chatbot says. “We’ve already sent a replacement to the intended customer.”

“That’s great for them,” you say. ”But I’ve got this thing by my front door that I didn’t ask for.”

“You’re free to dispose of it,” says the chatbot.

“But I don’t want to touch it. It’s not mine. It’s not something I ordered. Can’t giant retailer send someone out to dispose of it?”


“But what if it contains materials that requires specific handling and disposal? Are you saying that cost and responsibility is on me?”

“We contract with third parties on deliveries so there is no way for giant retailer to dispose of it. But, good news! We’ve determined that the package is fine for you to dispose of yourself. As we said, the intended recipient is getting a new delivery.”

“That response does not fill me with confidence.”

That response also does not answer the question.

If a package from one of the global retailers, delivered by one of the global delivery retailers or the local post, arrives at your door but is not meant for you and contains hazards materials, who has the responsibility for disposing of it and who bears the cost?

I would think the analogy would be someone in a truck pulls into your driveway, dumps a barrel of toxic waste in your yard, and drives away. Your home security system recorded that the truck is from Acme Trucking, the barrel had a Zephyr Chemical sticker, and you caught the dumper’s face.

Who’s responsible for the clean up? Who bears the cost?

What if the barrel was full of eels? Or rubber bouncy balls? Or micro plastics? Or a dead human body? Or pudding?

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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

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