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December 16, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole My Gifts…etc.

Amanda Haddaway

One would think that holiday shopping online would be a convenience, but this year it has turned into more of a nightmare. My Christmas spirit was slightly tarnished earlier this month when packages were stolen from my front porch in the middle of the afternoon.


With the wonders of technology I was able to determine exactly when they were delivered and an approximate timeframe of when they were taken.


Seriously, what kind of low-life scum steals packages from someone else’s front porch? Apparently, some of my neighbors were also the victims of theft. I guess this is a sign of the times. People are getting desperate to make a quick buck this year. My guess is that the items, my husband’s Christmas presents, were promptly “disposed” of at the local pawn shop. I hope karma and the police catch up with these criminals.


Kudos go out to the Frederick City Police Department for their prompt response to my concerns. I called the non-emergency number after being on the phone with UPS for almost 45 minutes and confirming that the packages had, in fact, been delivered. An officer came out within a half hour of my call and took a full report. I found this to be a timely response since it wasn’t an emergency and the officer wouldn’t be able to find the thieves. It’s unlikely that the culprits will be found, but I appreciate the department’s attention to detail.


Instead of a traditional holiday wreath, my front door now boasts a warning to UPS drivers and postal carriers to forego leave anything without first receiving a signature. While it looks a little tacky, the sign seems to be working.


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Last week, I had to retrieve some packages that were being held hostage at the UPS distribution center on English Muffin Way in Frederick. After waiting more than a half hour, the lone employee waited on me. While she was apologetic about the delay, I have to question the management practice of only having one employee to wait on customers.


UPS is in the business of handling packages and a logical person would think that they would increase their staffing levels during the holidays to accommodate the increased demand of people shopping online and sending packages to their far-away loved ones. Apparently, this isn’t the case. I have one more package in transit, so it looks like I’ll be paying UPS another visit before Christmas. I can hardly wait.


I also had to pick up a package at the post office. You may be familiar with my disdain for the postal service from a previous column. I’m happy to report, though, that I was able to time my visit so that the line was minimal. This was indeed a Christmas miracle.


I learned a valuable lesson about trust and the perception of safety. Next year, I’ll have to ship all of my packages to my office so someone can be there to receive them.


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In other, happier, holiday-related news, we took our annual trip to Hampden (a Baltimore City enclave) last Saturday with friends to view the lights. They didn’t disappoint. The electric meters were spinning as fast as they could with light strands all aglow, plastic figurines and some unique Christmas displays.


This year, the addition of a tree made out of vinyl records drew quite a crowd. One home opened their front room and transformed it into a gallery. The entrepreneurial artist/homeowner was selling those locally famous Natty Boh angels. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t purchase one for our tree at home.


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The next week will be busy with Christmas parties and gatherings with friends and family. I’m especially looking forward to the party at the Maryland Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch. This will be my first time attending the event, since I’m a new member of the board of directors. I have a feeling that the boys will be excited to open their presents.


All of the gifts are donated by people in the community who “adopt” a boy for Christmas and purchase gifts, or have someone from the Ranch’s staff do the shopping for them. There’s a limit on the amount spent to ensure fairness among the boys. Nonetheless, the boys will experience a Christmas in a caring and supportive environment.


Christmas really is a time to reflect on all the good things in the world and how fortunate we are. I hope the people responsible for stealing the presents from my front porch will one day realize that there are plenty of people out here who are less fortunate than they are. Maybe they’ll have a chance for redemption someday, and I hope they take it.


Please have a joyous holiday season filled with the love of family and friends. Merry Christmas!


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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