From record players to kitchen utensils, sex toys to light bulbs, at least seven student unions at Canadian universities have been receiving some rather odd Amazon packages.
The packages started arriving in the universities’ student unions at the beginning of the fall semester in September 2017. Deepening the mystery, the number of packages, lavishness of gifts, and frequency of their arrival have only increased since then.
There is no indication of who might be behind the packages, let anyone why.
The parcels began arriving at RSU in late November. To date, they have received around 15 packages from Amazon with no identifiable sender and no explanation.
“This certainly is […] one of the funnier highlights of my career in student politics. I’m really curious to see what comes next,” Wiskar said.
— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) January 28, 2018
When RSU’s deliveries started arriving in November it seemed like a simple mistake.
“No one claimed that they had ordered it, so we put it in the kitchen and didn’t ask too many questions,” said Wiskar.
The first of many packages contained a few counter protectors for the kitchen. However, come the following week, another package arrived with a vibrator and a couple of cellphone chargers inside.
“We were definitely a little shocked. At first we very discreetly just went door to door in our office as well as some of our student centres and asked if they had ordered these items,” Wiskar said.
But no one claimed them.
Soon more boxes came flooding in. Between all the universities, a vast array of items turned up, and among the sex toys, charging cables, wireless headphones and kitchen utensils were eyelash growth serum, iPad cases, a watch wristband, a six-pack of light bulbs, a light up soccer ball, a toy tank and even pricey record players. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
— Jackie Hong (@xjackiehong) January 16, 2018
Wiskar estimated his student union alone has received up to 40 individual items, worth more than CA$1,000 (US$810).
When it became obvious the packages were not stopping, the student union began to theorize where they might be coming from. Guesses ranged from pranksters to a very poor marketing scheme.
“Our first guess was perhaps this was an elaborate hoax from one of our partner universities, but it seems like an awful lot of money to be spending on this elaborate prank.”
“Is this going to stop and why are these packages coming?” Wiskar asked.
And RSU’s student union isn’t the only one confused by the packages. The six other student unions across Canada who received the bizarre gifts are equally as bewildered.
Ryerson University‘s student union began receiving parcels in October, President Susanne Nyaga said. Their packages began steadily; one a week, then two, and now up to six are sent at a time.
The items appear to have no links and are sent with no context.
“They’re just such random items. None of us are able to figure out a connection between them,” Nyaga told CBA. “[The packages] are really just taking up space at this point and we continue to get more.”
The student unions are full of questions… And it turns out so is Amazon.
Amazon will not reveal who is behind the mystery packages due to privacy laws. The payment method cannot be traced as all purchases are made by untraceable gift cards.
The universities have even tried just sending them back but Amazon will not accept the returns because the student unions were not the original purchaser.
“Amazon said that they’re unable to figure out who it is and we should just kind of accept the packages,” Nyaga said.
Unsolicited or otherwise, there seems to be little the universities can do for now but accept the gifts. Some have donated them, others are just storing them.
Nyaga claimed her student union intend to donate the packages to charity.
At RSU, however, there are currently over 30 packages of all different shapes and sizes are piled up in the student union office.
“Soon enough these boxes […] will become a fire hazard,” RSU General Manager Sid Naidu joked speaking with The Eyeopener.
“It certainly does get some laughs every time we get a mystery package and everyone gathers around our front desk,” Wiskar said. “We’re very curious to see what it might hold.”
Nyaga, however, is keen for the sender to come collect them.
“Do you want your Amazon boxes back? Because we’re good, we don’t want them,” she said.
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