Not bloody likely. I've been playing guitar on my porch, and a couple of my neighbors wanted to say thank you. God love 'em, they got me a bag of walnuts (I happen to love 'em!) as a Christmas present, and placed them in the gray box as requested.

The gray box was not particularly expensive, but hey! Twenty bucks is twenty bucks, and the packages were out there for the taking. It was such a brilliant solution (if I do say so myself, which I do) but it seems to have missed the mark.


My guess is that delivery people simply want to get their job done as fast as possible and the extra five or so seconds it would take to place a package in the box is too much. Perhaps they have been in too much of a hurry to read the signs. Either way, my box hasn't been working.

Remember I said that I'm a smart guy? Paragraph three? Well, maybe not so much.

Yeah, I own a house in the San Francisco Bay area.  I just missed the anniversary of the date I purchased it, Nov. 1, 1981, and I hope it isn't too upset with me.  Perhaps having a section of my website dedicated to this fine bit of paradise will make it feel better. Probably not as much as if I cleaned it up real nice, but it's a start.  


This section has grown to include the house, the yard, the garage, the car and environs.

Shin the Homeowner

Another Great Idea!

One of the big problems of being a homeowner in the age of the internet is theft. We order things online and in a few days they appear on your doorstep. What could be more convenient. For thieves.

Yeah, we hear all kinds of stories of people driving through neighborhoods looking for a delivered and, upon seeing such a temptation, simply walk up and steal it. These folks likely don't know the contents, but that doesn't deter them.

I've more and more been shopping online for items. Music supplies, DVDs and other items are often on my porch for hours while I'm either out or have simply missed the sound of the delivery. Being the smart guy I am, I decided to take action.

People are spending all kinds of big bucks for cameras to take photos and movies of thieves, with mixed results. The internet is full of Oscar-worthy clips of people making off with others' goods, never to be seen again because the crooks are totally not identifiable in the photos. Bummer.

My approach was simpler. Simply create a space in which packages could be placed out of sight. At first, I thought of a panel behind which packages could be placed. Then I went through Target and found a better solution. A gray, plastic box. Not only would it provide a place to put deliveries out of sight, but they would also be safe from the rain! It was the perfect size to put under my mailbox.

With some materials I had on hand, I set up signage. A sign placed next to my front door alerting deliverers to put packages in the gray box. Another sign was placed on the box itself. "Deliveries: Please put packages in here. Thank you." Pure genius.

I had a package on order, but before it was due to arrive, I received an unexpected package. My nephew Keith hadn't gotten word that I was deferring Christmas until the pandemic was under control. He and wife Dawn had sent a Christmas gift. USPS ignored my wonderful plans and simply left the package on the ledge by my mailbox, in plain sight.


Two signs, but they did no good. A few days later, an order I had placed showed up on my doorstep, but not in the box where would-be thieves couldn't see it. Were my signs not giving enough direction? 

Last Update: January 1, 2021

The John Shinnick Web Site

The sign next to my front door

The famous gray box

The resulting delivery left on the porch