Over the Christmas holiday break, I got to spend some time at the post office shipping a couple of packages. During this time, I saw a couple rather stupid ways to prepare items for shipping that I thoughts I would share.
Event one involved a boy shipping a used Xbox. I am guessing he sold this on EBay based on some discussion he was having with a friend that was with him. Anyway, he hadn’t packaged the XBox before he got to the post office, so he was trying to cram this XBox into an old box that once held roller blades while standing in line. Of course, the Xbox didn’t fit right and the box was bulging at the top. The teen got up to the counter, whipped out a big roll of tape from his pocket, and started taping the box in a hundred different directions, even though the box was really too small for the Xbox. He chose not to insure the package, which is shocking considering the only thing protecting this XBox was a thin layer of cardboard. (Tip: If buying anything on Ebay or Amazon, communicate with the seller what your shipping expectations are, especially if you are paying for anything other than standard shipping.)
I cannot imagine shipping something expensive and electronic so haphazardly. The XBox should have been shipped in it’s original packaging and wrapped securely. (Tip: always save the box and styrofoam when you buy something expensive for this very reason. You will be glad you did if you ever have to return the item or if you choose to sell it.). I am sure the person who bought the XBox was mortified when this strange box showed up on their doorstep. I wish I could see what the box looked like when it did reach it’s destination.
Event two also involved shipping. A middle aged woman was shipping a fairly large package at the post office and had not sealed the top yet. This box obviously contained something somewhat valuable as she insured it for over one hundred dollars and asked for delivery confirmation. Since the post office never offers free packaging tape unless you use priority mail, the man behind the counter told her she could buy some packaging tape off the shelf for three dollars to seal the top of the box. So guess what this smart shipper decided to do? She chose to use the scotch tape that is behind the counter to seal the box instead of springing for a real roll of packaging tape. It took about ten minutes to get all those thin strips of tape to actually close the box and keep it closed, and the line was getting longer and longer.
I just keep wondering why she didn’t choose to buy a roll of tape. She paid the money to insure the item and also cared enough to buy delivery confirmation so she could see when the package arrived. So, why would she not pay the money to make sure the box was properly sealed? This is one of those cases where I really don’t think it pays to be frugal, and she was definitely old enough to know better.
After watching these two events, I am inspired to write a future post offering tips for shipping packages. Not the most exciting topic in the world, but people may find it useful.
Have you ever received a package that looks like it could have been shipped by one of the people mentioned in this post? Have you ever been guilty of poor packaging/shipping practices?