Tony Dobrowolski | Out Of The Pages: The emergence of the modern-day Grinch

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PITTSFIELD >> The traditional image of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas was a mean-looking creature with ugly green skin that was invented by Dr. Seuss in a children's book.

But the new version of this same Grinch looks a lot like you and me.

With online holiday shopping becoming more popular, more packages are being left on doorsteps than ever before. This has led to an increase in people stealing said packages, modern-day Grinchs who look pretty normal, from what I've seen on television.

Stealing packages is becoming a serious problem. According to ABC News, 10 percent of Americans have become victims of package theft. That's a lot of items that are being taken.

It's hard to guard against this kind of theft, especially when you're not home when the packages are dropped off, although home security systems are beginning to catch a lot of perpetrators.

But if you can't be home when your packages arrive, here are some tips to avoid falling prey to this increasingly prevalent act.

According to ABC News, the United Parcel Service is helping to remedy this problem by establishing access points for people to pick up the things they've ordered so that the items aren't shipped directly to residences. These access points include every day commercial businesses like barber shops and grocery stores. The package is shipped to the store, which is where you go and pick it up. The access point idea has become quite popular. According to ABC News, UPS has established 8,000 of these places across the country.

Here are some other tips to make sure the packages you ordered don't disappear before you get home. Schedule deliveries for a time that you know you'll be home, or at an alternate location where you know the package will be safe. Scheduling times around deliveries can be difficult during the holiday season due to the sheer number of items that have to be delivered. But waiting a little longer than you planned for a package to arrive is better than having it stolen from your house, in my opinion. For information on alternative drop off points, contact your shipper.

Police departments around the country are coming up with innovative ways to stop package thieves. One department in California has begun dropping off fake packages that contain GPS tracking devices at people's homes. If the package is taken, officers can monitor its location and can often catch the perpetrators holding the evidence. Good for them.

In my opinion, it's pretty low for someone to swipe a Christmas package off someone's doorstep. I'm glad there's a way that these modern-day Grinchs can be held accountable.

Assistance requested

You may have noticed that we have begun profiling businesses that make product in the Berkshires on a weekly basis in The Eagle's business section. There are many companies based here that make interesting items, but it's hard to find them all.

If you know of a business that you think would fit into this weekly feature please contact me at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com

Priority will be given to businesses that make interesting or innovative items, firms that fit into the Berkshires long history of innovation.

I know there are a lot of Berkshire-based companies, many of them small, that make that make all kinds of interesting products. But it's hard for a one person business department to find them all. Your assistance is appreciated.

Tony Dobrowolski is the business editor of The Berkshire Eagle. He can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com.


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