The iPhone 5S came out at the perfect time, as I had recently dropped my 4S and cracked the screen. I was well past my upgrade date, so the upgrade would be reasonably inexpensive (as iPhones go). And, to top it off, Gazelle had given me an estimate of $80 for my iPhone 4S with a cracked screen.
I went and bought my 5S, got my little Gazelle box in the mail, and, as instructed (really, it’s right in the instructions …), I dropped the box off at the nearest post box. It’s right at the end of my street—pretty convenient.
And that was the last that was ever seen or heard from my iPhone.
After a couple of weeks had gone by, I contacted Gazelle support to ask if they had any news. They pointed me to my local post office. My local post office had no record of ever receiving the package, so they told me to wait a while longer, then file an insurance claim (since Gazelle’s packages are insured!).
So I did that. I’ve talked to Gazelle, and the national USPS, and my local USPS, and round and round.
Yesterday, I found out my insurance claim was rejected by the government.
Today, I found out Gazelle can’t help me because there’s no record of the tracking.
At this point, I don’t care. The insurance claim was $50, and honestly, I’ve spent more time than its worth trying to get my $50 to prove a point.
I give up, you win, forces of corporate and government inertia. And you win, especially you, dishonest postal service employee who stole my broken phone. 
What are the lessons here?
- Gazelle shouldn’t make their boxes conspicuous. Had the box not been so clearly a Gazelle shipping container, it probably gets ignored.
- Gazelle absolutely shouldn’t tell you to drop your package in a post box, when the insurance won’t really apply until it’s tracked by the USPS. Go hand it to the postal service agent by hand.
- I’ll defend the USPS in most cases, but jesus, it’s incredibly obvious what happened and they just don’t seem to give a shit.
In the end, I’m not sure if I’ll use Gazelle again. Maybe I will, but I feel like I got a bit of the run around in this process. They must have dealt with a lost or stolen package before, in this scenario. And the USPS, well, I like my local USPS, but I’ll be handing them things and double-checking tracking from now on, because there’s a scoundrel in their midst.
I do like my new iPhone 5S, though …
Because that’s clearly what happened. I dropped it in the post box. The next day, some postal employee picks it up, see it’s from Gazelle, and just pockets the box. That’s it. That, or it is still sitting there, at the bottom of the post box.