General Stores

  1. Why should I order from General Stores?
    We offer a wide selection of products that are discounted up to 75% off the manufacturer’s list price. Delivery is always fast—and free. And our convenient online ordering system allows you to shop 24 hours a day—without ever leaving your desk!
  2. My order was wrong. What should I do?
    E-mail us at [email protected] or call 814-863-0317. We will pick up any items that were shipped in error—and promptly deliver the correct products.
  3. What should I do if I’m not satisfied with an item?
    Call us at 814-863-0317 with your Purchase Order Number. We will provide you with information on how to fill out an online return form. Upon receipt of the return form, we will pick up the item you wish to return.
  4. I can’t find the product I’m looking for. What can I do?
    If you would like us to consider offering an item, contact us at 814-863-0317.

Central Distribution

  1. Where is General Stores/Central Distribution Receiving located?
    0167 Physical Plant Bldg. (800 East Park Ave. or Lat 40.81 43 29 Long 77.85 54 73)
    University Park, PA 16802        
  2. What are Receiving's business hours?
    Monday – Friday, 7 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
  3. What types of freight does CDS not accept?
    • Perishable items
    • Parcel Packages (UPS Gound, Fed Ex ground,....)
    • Live Animals
    • Items ordered by outside contractors for work being done at the University. These items are to be delivered by the carrier directly to the contractor.
    • Radioactive materials and controlled substances.
    • Freight labeled “refrigerate immediately,” “freeze upon arrival” or, “special handling.”
    • Large loads for a single destination for which unloading and reloading would be impractical (Trucks 28 ft. and above with nine or more skids).
    • “Cash on Delivery” (COD) or “Bill to Receiver” packages.
    • The shipments above will be re-directed by CDS and will be delivered by the carrier to the requesting department.
  4. Does Central Distribution provide short-term storage?
    Yes, upon receipt of goods, the first two days are at no-charge. After the second day, a monthly storage fee of $32 per skid (4' x 4') will apply for pre-scheduled storage and $50 per skid (4' x 4') for unscheduled storage requests. Please contact Central Distribution to coordinate storage. Other fees may apply.
  5. Can I have non-business related freight shipped to me?
    CDS is not responsible for non-business related shipments for University employees. CDS receives and redelivers shipments relating to University business only. If personal items arrive at CDS, we assume no obligation for reporting damage claims, claiming concealed damage, or reporting incorrect shipments. Individual(s) will be required to pick up any personal items delivered to CDS.
  6. Is there a fee associated with special services provided?
    Yes. Examples are: furniture assembly, packaging for outbound freight or freight deliveries above and beyond the standard dock deliveries. The standard rate is $55/hour/per person. Please contact Central Distribution or General Stores to coordinate. Other fees may apply.
  7. What if I am not available at the time the freight is delivered?
    We will try and find a responsible individual to sign for the freight. CDS will not deliver/leave freight at the department without a signature.
  8. What if my freight is damaged?
    Once freight has been delivered, its contents should be inspected as soon as possible. If the contents are damaged, a department representative should contact CDS within 48 hours of receipt for assistance in filing a claim with the carrier. Please save all portions of the shipping container and wrappings. Damage claims must be filed by the customer with the carrier (shipper) within 15 days of receipt of the freight. If a problem such as a shortage or overage is discovered after the department opens and examines the contents of a package, the department should contact Procurement Services to resolve the problem with the vendor. Damage valued at less than $25 cannot be processed.
  9. What if my shipment is sent freight collect?
    CDS cannot handle freight collect shipments.
  10. What if my shipment is sent Cash on Delivery?
    CDS cannot handle COD shipments.
  11. How do I find out if an item has been received?
    Before calling Central Distribution Services to check on the status of a shipment, please call the vendor and confirm that the material has been shipped and request a tracking number, name and phone number of the freight carrier used. If a department needs to inquire about a package not yet received, a representative may contact CDS for information/assistance.
    When calling to inquire about freight, please have the following information available. Otherwise, contact Procurement Services for assistance:
    • Purchase order number, if applicable, or credit card information, name, and address of sender
    • Carrier name (Ward Trucking, ABF, FedEx Freight, etc.)
    • Carrier assigned tracking number
    • Department and recipient at Penn State
    • Building and room number where the freight is to be delivered.
    • Information on who at Penn State may have signed for the package and when it was signed.
  12. Who do I contact with a question or comment? Central Distribution Supervisor, (814) 865-8620 or email at [email protected]
  13. General information (order discrepancies, freight tracking, problem resolution, etc.):
    Phone: (814) 865-8620 (CDS Supervisor)
    Email: [email protected]
    Front Desk: (814) 863-0317
    Fax: (814) 863-7668
  14. What are the regulations and/or guidelines for shipping hazardous materials? The Department of Transportation (D.O.T) Federal Regulations do not permit us to ship certain types of hazardous materials. Departments are required to contact the Penn State Department of Environmental Health & Safety at (814) 865-6391 about the shipping of these types of materials and to obtain the necessary paperwork prior to contacting Central Distribution for pickup. Proper paperwork must be attached to the freight before Central Distribution can pick up.
  15. How do I get CDS to pickup and ship out freight? Departments can schedule freight pick-up with Central Distribution Services by completing and submitting our online Pick-Up and Shipping Request Form. Fill out the form online and submit. Also dept. will need to fill out a Bill Of Laden for their shipment. Call the Central Distribution Supervisor (814) 865-8620 for help, a walkthrough, or any questions with BOL. CDS will use one of PSU's contracted carriers unless otherwise noted.  Departments should email a copy of BOL to CDS ([email protected]), keep a copy for their records and attach a copy to their outbound freight.