Jillian Cannan orders packages for her small business all the time, but on June 5, she started receiving Amazon packages at her doorstep that she didn't order. Lots of packages. Some on pallets dropped off by huge delivery trucks.
Over 100 packages later, Cannan, of Buffalo, New York, was inundated with thousands of items she did not order or want. She initially thought the boxes were supplies her business partner ordered, but after opening some of them, she found they contained thousands of silicone support frames to use inside face masks in both adult and children's sizes.
"When I first started receiving the packages, I called Amazon to try and give them back, but they explained to me that they were officially mine to keep since they had been delivered to my home," Cannan said.
Days went by, and the parcels wouldn't stop coming. Some came from Amazon warehouse trucks, and others from UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. Each package was addressed to Cannan's home, but no sender or return address was marked on the label. At one point, Cannan was speaking with Amazon representatives daily to try to determine what was happening, searching tracking numbers and scanning bar codes to find the person responsible.
"At first I was convinced that it was a scam, or maybe someone trying to clear out their warehouse," Cannan said. "But because all of the items were the same, I don't think that's the case here."
Meantime, packages continued to arrive. Some showed up on palettes in huge delivery trucks, and others piled up so high that a neighbor remarked she couldn't seen Cannan's front door.
Cannan posted about the situation on her Facebook page, earning the attention of her community and the local media. Finally, Amazon agreed to escalate the case, and Cannan eventually received a call that it had successfully tracked down the original order and removed her address from it, assuring her she would not receive anymore packages except for those already in transit.
Stuck with hundreds of packages containing thousands of face mask brackets, Cannan consulted her four children on how they could use the items to make something useful. Inspired by her business, which focuses on DIY-style projects, the Cannan family and her business partner came up with a fun idea that would ensure their newly inherited inventory would not go to waste.
"We were just like 'How can we get something positive out of this whole hilarious story?'" Cannan said. "So, my business partner and I reached out to the children's hospitals and we decided we want to do a decorate-your-own-face mask and include the bracket in the little kit with a blank face mask and some crayons and stickers that kids can work on while they're in the hospital."
Cannan asked Amazon to donate the remaining supplies needed for the kit. In light of all that happened, she said, it was the least they could do.
Amazon initially denied the request, but Cannan said she is still negotiating with representatives and awaiting a final response. Amazon could not be reached for comment.
"I'm trying to put a positive spin on it," she said. "I have four little kids, and I'm trying to show them how to make lemonade out of lemons, and just kind of run with it."