Someone emailed me today from a new company and the idea intrigued me. I wanted to see what you think of the idea???
Basically, this is the idea:
Senders of packages use The Casual Courier to find independent travelers to deliver their package anywhere in the world, for a fee that they choose on their own.
Travelers use TCC to earn a fee for carrying senders' packages with them on an EXISTING trip and offset travel expenses. Unlike traditional "formal" couriers, TCC does not restrict travel plans, or itinerary. The idea is "You're going anyway -- so, why not take a package with you and make some extra money!"
There is even a section to find/offer assistance as an in-flight "AirSitter" for single parents traveling with kids or helping with special needs passengers.
Their website is http://www.casualcourier.com/ (seems be still be under construction as a lot of it wasn't working).
Anyway, what do you think of this concept?
I saw a ton of legal risks, mostly related to drug trafficking. The owner says the packages are RECOMMENDED to be checked by the travellers, but if I was sending something legit I wouldn't want someone else looking through it. And if it was not legit, I'd hide it in some way that it would at least be pretty hard to find (ie, in the bottom of some jar containing something else). Also, in terms of operations, this has got to be a pretty costly operation compared to the ease of having a courier come by your home and drive off with the package....
What do you think? If you were travelling; would you ever take someone else's package if you were paid for it but didn't know the person?
I agree, this is an interesting concept - but I also agree with the legal issues that are involved. After looking at their Service Agreement, Casual Suggestions, Checklist, and Terms/Conditions - it's still a risky venture. Basically, you are entrusting a total stranger, who is not employed by a known courier service, with your package and hoping it gets to it's destination.
My first thought was drug trafficking, but also thought "What happens if the courier just keeps my stuff?" Good luck really tracking them down if they are in the midst of a RTW trip. Their Casual Suggestions for Safe Delivery document recommends talking with the courier by phone first, then meeting in person in a public place, etc. By the time you have done all of those things, you could have gotten through the line at the post office and been on your way. They recommend going through the package while sender/courier are together. Okay, I see their reasoning but if you meet publically, do you bring all the wrapping supplies with you so it's properly sealed before handing the package over? How will you know the package will not be tampered with after the meeting is over? Other thoughts - what if you are the courier, have the package in your possession at an airport (especially in the US) and are asked if you packed all your own luggage - including the package? Do you say, "No, I'm just a courier"? What if the package is damaged or stolen - who is responsible? Way too many variables for me.
Forgot to say - personally, I would not want that type of responsibility, especially with the way Homeland Security is currently. Too many things could go wrong and then my travels are in jeopardy, along with what little reputation I may have...
I wouldn't take them up on the offer because I'm just suspicious of things that seem too good to be true....and I wouldn't want to spend part of my vacation trying to explain to the local authorities why I was carrying what around. The most innocent looking items can easily conceal illicit goods. Mind you, the concept is not bad, but I don't think it would work in the long run, what with human nature what it is.
I do like the idea of in-flight sitters, particularly if they can muzzle all the obnoxious little brats that seem to always sit right behind me, banging on my seat back, and generally whining because they aren't being catered to at every moment. Older fliers nearly always require assistance, and flight crews are not as helpful or courteous as they once were. So I would be willing to assist older travellers, and bring mouth-gags for the little ones (I realize that seems a bit harsh---it's not entirely the childs' fault---many parents aren't qualified to raise children and they enable poor social behavior in the "little angels".)
As an aside, I just saw a news report stating that Boeing engineers have been re-thinking airplane design as it pertains to older fliers. This may be a step in the right direction for every fliers' comfort.
How do you get those business class upgrades.....
I agree with Beerman on the issue of becoming an in-flight sitter for both children and older passengers. (I'll even bring my own gags and handcuffs for the kiddies. It may sound as though we dislike children - we definitely do NOT!) But, again, that does raise some legal issues and how do you avoid the "sitter" from taking advantage of a child? There would have to be a great deal of trust and prior interaction between the sitter, child and parents. I know that I could be trusted to take care of the child, but how do I convince a parent of that easily and quickly? The older passenger would be an easier task.
Keep in mind that there is nothing inherantly wrong with delivering a package that belongs to someone else, SO LONG AS it does NOT contain anything illegal/dangerous.
(TSA defines permitted/prohibitted items here: http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/Permitted_Prohibited_9_6_2005.pdf)
That said, The Casual Courier ("TCC") has enacted strict policies to help users create the safest possible experience. These suggested precautions include:
1. The meeting between the sender and courier occur in a public location, during the day.
2. Upon meeting, TCC suggests that the courier examine the package THOROUGHLY, in the presence of the sender, before accepting the package for delivery.
3. At the meeting, TCC suggests that both the courier and sender exchange a photocopy of their picture ID or passports; and
4. Sign the suggested "Courier Service Agreement" (available on TCC's website) which attests to the actual ownership of the package being sent, clearly lists the contents of the package, and confirms that the package does not contain anything illegal/dangerous.
5. To cover incidental loss or damage, TCC suggests that senders insure their packages, just like when sending via post. If the sender's basic homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover the package, then TCC may be able to suggest a third party insurance broker able to issue an innexpensive insurance policy.
In addition, all TCC users are rated by their peers after each transaction. This rating score is used to help future users make more educated decisions about the reliability of other users.
For additional safety suggestions, please take a look at http://www.casualcourier.com/Content.Documents.aspx
Lastly, packages don't have to be sent only on international airline flights. It is common for casual couriers to deliver packages on their daily commute to work, during a road-trip up the coast, or when traveling by train. There is even a feature on the site that allows users to SHARE cargo containers for shipping large quantities of goods, like when relocating abroad or for small industry.
Sending packages via casual courier is a great way to offset travel expenses, meet new people around the world, and add utility to an otherwise uneventful journal.
I just think with all those precautions it's waaaaayyyyyy too much work to have to go through, either to be sending or to be receiving. It would only be worth it for big packages, but most travellers that are after some money would already be pushing the weight limit. Those travelling lightly are generally on business and wouldn't want to bother with the hassle.
Just my 2p
too much trouble to be a real good idea, for the sender, for the courier...
If someone doen't want to send a package via normal post services, I would suspect that something is not right.
No way!! I think anyone who does this is crazy. My mate seb spent three years in a french jail for bringing a "package" for someone well it's a long story, anywho!
It's way to risky and I reckon never worth the money or the risk
Id have to say a negatory aswell...in a perfect world it is a sweet idea to bring people together, add a little adventure to basic travel.
To much hassle for something that is handled so pro by so many companies the world over. I paid 20 bones to have a package sent from Canada to Moscow having it arrive the next day. Pretty good deal. I dont think that many people would send things the TCC way.
Id say still follow through with the idea, maybe it will take off.