Thirty or 40 years ago, when a delivery truck brought a package to someone's home, that someone – or a family member -- was there to receive it. If not, the person next door accepted the package in the neighbor's absence.

Those days are gone. Nowadays, no one's home during working hours. Not dad, not mom, not the kids. Nor the next-door neighbor, nor anyone else on the street. Nearly every neighborhood in America is a ghost town by day except for landscapers and maintenance staff.

Absentee residents make the delivery of packages a real challenge. If no one's home one day, there's no point in holding the package and coming back the next day, because there'll be no one home then, either.

You can't leave the package with the neighbors. They're out, too.

You can always leave a notice of attempted delivery with instructions on where and when to pick up the package, but that makes most customers angry, because they don't want to have to go somewhere to pick up something that was supposed to be delivered to their homes.

The only other option is to leave the package on the doorstep – preferably in a sheltered and inconspicuous place, so as to minimize the chances of it getting rained on or stolen. This, in fact, whether admitted or not, is what most customers prefer.

Unfortunately, this customer-friendly practice presupposes that friendly customers will watch where they're going and not trip over the packages.

Not all customers are as attentive or as friendly as they should be, however.

Raymond Gonzalez claims to have tripped over a package left in front of his residence and fallen down a flight of stairs. He's suing United Parcel Service in Galveston County District Court for unspecified monetary damages.

Given that Raymond was a regular UPS customer whose packages were left at his door, we can't help thinking he could have exercised more caution.

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