Daily Bookshot: A Little Metal Saviour

A Little Metal Saviour, originally uploaded by Robert Burdock.

Today’s Daily Bookshot is a little different in that it doesn’t actually feature any books at all, or at least any books in an un-packaged state. Instead I bring you this shot today because I want to pay homage to something that’s simplified an aspect of my bookish life greatly, and saved me, and the postmen/delivery drivers who visit me, a lot of unnecessary hassle. That ‘something’ is called the Parcel Safe, and this shot shows it attached to the wall of the porch, next to my front door.

The Parcel Safe is a simple thing. A large metal box with a clasp and a special lock, that’s suitable for larger objects – like books for instance :). The usage scenario is simple too. The postman/delivery driver arrives with a parcel that’s too big for the letterbox. He knocks but no one is in, so he pops his package in the Parcel Safe instead, and twists the lock. Job done! The deliverer has offloaded his parcel, and the recipient is saved from another trek to the next-door neighbour or local sorting office.

The Parcel Safe sounds good, but how does it pan out in practise? Well after two months of having and using my Parcel Safe I’ve got to say that it’s worked out really well. Not only has my ‘little metal saviour’ saved me countless trips to the local sorting office (always a bonus), I can also leave the house unattended, secure in the knowledge that anything that I’m expecting to be delivered, most probably will be.

Additionally I’ve also discovered two unexpected benefits of owning the Parcel Safe. The first benefit is the sheer excitement at arriving home to find the box locked, knowing there may well be some hidden bookish goodness lurking within (and there usually is). Sure a similar excitement comes from taking a package directly off the postman and opening it, but there’s something a bit more exciting when you come home to find your Parcel Safe locked. Do I need to get a life? I think, probably yes! :).

The second benefit is that the postman often doesn’t even bother knocking on my door any more, even if he knows I’m in. He just pops the parcels in the box, leaving me to fish them back out again whenever I can get to them (emmmm….now that’s got me wondering. Is the postman doing this to purposely avoid me? I do admit to getting kind of overly excited when he comes bearing Jiffy Bags :)).

Of course just like anything else I’ve found a couple of downsides with the Parcel Safe. The first is that once someone has used the Parcel Safe and locked it, nobody else can use it until I’ve unlocked it again. In the two months I’ve had the Parcel Safe this is something that’s only happened once to me, so it’s a rare occurrence (at least for me). But the positive upshot of that is that the Parcel Safe has at least taken care of one of the deliveries.

The other downside is a bit more disturbing. As simple as the locking mechanism on the Parcel Safe is, a couple of delivery drivers haven’t bothered to lock the box leaving the contents open to all. This has happened to me twice and I can’t understand why. The instructions for locking are clearly illustrated on the lid of the box, but for some reason these parcel guys (or the same parcel guy twice) haven’t bothered. I think another label may be called for. One in big bold red letters saying PLEASE LOCK!

So there you have it folks. That’s the Parcel Safe in all its operating glory. As a bibliophile and lit blogger who gets a fair share of packages, this unassuming metal box has been a bit of an unsung hero for me, and I’m thinking if your current domestic situation means constant trips to the local sorting office, then this may be a solution for you too. That is unless you’re my good Twitter friend @stujallen, who only lives three doors away from his local sorting office.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. That’s a great little box! We have a group box down the street and unfortunately a hardcover book just barely fits in so my postman shoves the package into the cubicle. The problem is that it’s a fully open space on his side but my side has the bumper for the door so the opening is slightly smaller. I have spent full minutes at the box trying to wiggle out my book without damaging it too much. Blah.

  2. I’ve been lucky since, for the last 8 months, my wife has been on maternity leave and often in during the mornings when the postman comes. Now that she has gone back to work, I am wondering if I might benefit from a Parcel Safe. The worst thing, of course, about getting that little red card through your door is taking a trip to the depot, in the hope of finding some lovely books, and ending up collecting your contact lens delivery, or the like…

  3. Bart's Bookshelf (Twitter: bartsbooks)

    I’ve seen them before and thought they were a great idea, certainly beats the extremely odd and non-work friendly hours my local sorting office keeps!

    (I may be cursing you here and if I am, may I apologise in advance 😉 but have you had any ‘little darlings’ discover the box and lock it with nothing in it? Letting you think goodies are inside only yo be disappointed when you open it?)

  4. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    @Kristen – I imagine you’d be like an operative trying to diffuse a bomb.

    @John – Well you know my experience is good, so far. I guess it depends mainly on how many times in a week you do find yourself at the depot.

    @Darren – Damn it Darren. I’ve never, ever thought of that ‘bad case scenario’ until now. Thankfully, although my front door is on a main street it’s kind of sheltered so hopefully it’ll be overlooked. That is until Halloween comes around of course and the little swines spot the opportunity.

    *shakes fist* Damn you Darren! Damn you to Hell! 🙂

  5. Bart's Bookshelf (Twitter: bartsbooks)

    Erm… Oops? 😈

  6. Oooh, thanks for this post. I wrote a post about the parcel safe about two years ago


    …but haven’t taken the plunge in terms of buying one. You’ve now given me an extra incentive to consider buying one as I get rather sick of trudging up to the Royal Mail depot on a Saturday morning to collect my packages.

  7. I haven’t seen this before, but my friend has made her own that works really well. She just has a secure box with an open padlock hanging from it. The postman then just has to close the padlock and all her parcels are safe.

    I don’t need one as I’m in virtually all day. On the rare occasions when I’m out my lovely postman hides parcels behind my recycling bin. I see my postman almost every day, so we have a good relationship.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Whoops Jackie! You’d better tell your lovely postie to find a new hiding place. You’ve just told me and 6 billion others, where to find your delicious book packages :).

      Got to love your friend’s ingenuity though.I went for the ‘easy fix’ solution i.e. just buy one 🙂

  8. Rob this is genius. Precisely the kind of thing I need with all the post problems you know I am having. Where do I get one?

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      I’ll looking for you Jazzmine. Like I said, it looks like the company has stopped trading which is a huge shock and a surprise to me.