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UPS denies it 'trapped' man in his house with Amazon delivery

Commentary: A man tweets a photo of a long, thin Amazon package jammed tightly under his doorknob. He says UPS delivered it. UPS says it didn't. And now the man has admitted his mistake.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


That looks unfortunate

screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When Amazon starts delivering by drone, perhaps this sort of thing won't happen.

Until then, human error may occur.

At least that's what Jessie Lawrence likely believed after he posted a photo of an Amazon package -- delivered, he said, by UPS -- that left him with little room for maneuver, a constantly crashing Twitter app on his phone and a slight wonderment at humanity's ability to rage for days.

That's what happens when you progressively become the thing that Twitter wants to discuss.

The only slight issue is that UPS investigated and discovered that it didn't deliver the package.

"UPS has completed its investigation into this report and discussed it with Mr. Lawrence. UPS did not make the delivery that Mr. Lawrence referenced in his Twitter post," a company spokesman told me.

Neither Lawrence nor Amazon responded to several requests for comment. 

However, now Lawrence has now posted a long apology on Twitter, an account that he'd made private for the last few days.

In a series of tweets, he offered an apology and admitted he'd made a "huge mistake."

"I was so frustrated that this even happened, I tweeted without taking the time to confirm the carrier. But even if UPS was the carrier, many people are correct; this could have been some malicious jerk playing a prank. I live in a big apartment complex."

On Sunday, though, Lawrence had tweeted an image of a long, thin Amazon package wedged under his doorknob that could well have jammed the Bay Area resident in his apartment. 

"Hey @UPS, your driver left this package under our door knob like this and trapped us in our apartment," he added to the tweet. "Had to call maintenance to get out." 

Lawrence, social media manager for Twitch eSports, saw this image enjoy more than 156,000 likes and 60,000 retweets. 

This overload caused him to observe late on Monday: "Can't even check my mentions without the @twitter mobile app crashing."

By Tuesday, he was marveling: "People get really angry about doors."

It's the nature of Twitter, indeed, for some to offer slightly thoughtless comments, such as that he should try to turn his door handle up rather than down. Or that this was a silly thing to post, as his door surely opened inward, so what was the problem?

Of course, some will imagine that it wasn't the delivery driver who might have jammed Lawrence in, but a mean-spirited neighbor. Or, indeed, that this was just a stunt.

UPS told me that its drivers are trained in the appropriate ways to leave packages. 

In the past, delivery drivers from many companies have occasionally been a little wayward in their practices. Who, for example, could forget the computer monitor that was tossed over a fence by a FedEx driver?

For its part, UPS fired a courier for tossing a Zappos delivery onto a doorstep and then offering a middle finger to a security camera.

And what about the US Post Office carrier who delivered a hard drive by tossing it like a bowling ball?

In Lawrence's case, he didn't seem very impressed when he contacted UPS on Twitter and received an ill-spelled response: "I'm sorry your [sic] for this. I'll be glad to assist you. Please click the link below to DM us the details of your concern."

The details of the concern seemed a touch obvious. It seems, though, he had directed his complaint to the wrong company. 

Still, as Lawrence himself explained on Twitter, this could have been worse: "Sure, it's inconvenient for us to call someone to get us out but if it were an emergency, we would have been screwed. We're 5 floors up." 

The question some might ask now is, of course: "So who did deliver the package?"

Another question might be how it leaves Lawrence's professional standing. He admitted on Twitter: "As a social media professional this is especially embarrassing because I fucking know better."

First published Sept. 5, 7:54 p.m. PT.
Update, Sept. 7 at 2:48 p.m. PT: Adds comment from UPS.

Update, Sept. 7 at 3.16 p.m. PT: Adds apology from Lawrence.

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