THUNDER BAY – Mystery solved.
Starting late last year, a regular barrage of packages, shipped through Amazon, began arriving at the Lakehead University Student Union offices.
The initial packages, which contained sex toys, were attention-grabbers, were addressed simply to the student union, but LUSU staff assumed they were being shipped by an embarrassed student who didn’t want the x-rated items coming to their residence.
But no one came to pick them up and the packages continued to arrive, delivering not just sex toys but ear buds, iPad cases and even a record turntable.
Farhan Yousaf, LUSU’s vice-president of finance and operations, said he had no idea what was going on as the number of boxes arriving began to mount.
“We were just kind of wondering if someone played a prank on us. We continuously received packages and after a while I got kind of worried that our credit cards were hacked, so we contacted the bank to make sure they were not hacked or anything,” Yousaf said on Thursday afternoon.
“We kept receiving packages and at that point I said we have to contact the RCMP to figure out what was going on here.”
Unbeknownst to Yousaf and his LUSU colleagues, similar deliveries were being made to universities across the country, including Ryerson and York.
Student union officials at those schools had no idea what was going on.
The RCMP, after checking the packages to ensure they wouldn’t pose a threat to anyone, put in a call to Amazon and quickly figured things out.
“They came and told us that this is legit. They’re sending it to you folks because it’s just what the merchants are doing,” Yousaf said.
“They were coming from China. The merchants there were sending it to student unions. I guess it’s to create a false sense of sales. When you log on to Amazon, you’ll see 20 people have bought these. This is what’s happening.”
LUSU president Leah Ching said as the packages continued to arrive – the latest one was delivered about two weeks ago – she didn’t think too much of it. But as they started to pile up in a corner of the student union office, questions started to arise.
“At first we thought it was kind of funny. And then we were a little scared. Living in a globalized world you never really know what you can get in your mail,” said Ching, admitting her paranoia set in, worried the electronic goods would provide access to personal information if hooked up to a computer.
“If someone has the gall to send you a bunch of sex toys you’re thinking, is this a joke or a prank? Or what’s the deeper meaning behind this. So we definitely thought it was a good idea to get the police involved.”
The packages are now officially the property of the student union and Yousaf said they’ve got a plan to distribute the contents.
“Our plan is to auction them off and then use the money for the student food bank,” he said.
Auction details have not yet been ironed out.