September 21, 2010

Size Matters

Look, I'm no physicist. I'm not a mathematician or professional measuring person. But I sure as hell know that there's something extremely wrong bordering on obscene with this picture.


Seriously? The thing I bought was 12 inches long. The box it arrived in? Four feet long.

I don't collect gray water, attack whaling ships for Greenpeace or weave my own hemp clothing but I know what's screwing up our environment (and driving up shipping costs) and it's things like this. And packaging in general. You know, whenever I buy something for my kids, it takes about a month and a half to free it from its plastic prison. (And yet, ironically, the fish sticks I like are just shoved right in a box, nothing between them and the world except a crappy little box.) I do a fair amount of online shopping - rarely set foot in stores these days - because to be quite honest its easier and its cheaper. But if the packaging keeps being an issue, I might have to rethink that.

How much online buying do you do? And is packaging ever an issue for you?

Posted by Chris at September 21, 2010 7:15 AM

OMG, yeah! I cannot believe how really bad Amazon is packing things! What the heck did you buy anyway?

Posted by: Maribeth at September 21, 2010 8:02 AM

I totally agree about the packaging. We bought a very small toy for our daughter - about the size of a rubix cube - and it was shipped in a box that was at least a foot square.

Ludicrous, but I can't say I'll be eschewing the online shopping. As you said - more convenient and cheaper.

Posted by: TeresaLynn at September 21, 2010 8:27 AM

I could not help but to laugh when I saw this, because this same thing happened to me just the other day. Unreal.

I do not buy much of anything these days because I am flat broke and damned near homeless... but when I do need to purchase something, it is usually online.

And the fish stick thing makes me SO mad. Would it kill them to put it in a bag?? I mean, really? LOL.

Posted by: jen at September 21, 2010 8:27 AM

I bought a pair of Teva flip flops from ShoeBuy last week. The box was a little dented but it just fit the flip flops which were in plastic and a piece of paper for returning if necessary.
I do most of my shopping online because I know if I go into a store for something, I won't find it. Easier to order it and wait for it.

Posted by: NancyJ at September 21, 2010 8:41 AM

Amazon is absolutely the worst when it comes to packaging waste. I think they must have people who make a game out of finding the most ludicrous boxes to pack stuff in. However, a couple of years ago my husband bought school supplies online from Office Depot and they came in a plastic bag, no box, and everything was mangled. That was the dumbest thing I ever saw shipping-wise. I buy lots of stuff online too, but not clothing as I need to try stuff on first.

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 21, 2010 9:37 AM

Yes, I agree. Particularly items wrapped in sealed plastic. I bought an SD card at Costco that came surrounded by (I shot you not) six inches of plastic. There was more to the packaging than the product.

Other side of the coin: The best packaging I've ever seen is from Dyson (vacuum cleaner people). It was art. Four dabs of glue, and the rest was intelligently folded cardboard... you'd have to see it to believe it. Second place goes to Apple.

Sandisk stinks.

Posted by: Martin at September 21, 2010 9:45 AM

Online shopping is quite comfortable. Sometimes it missed out. To make sure this doesn't happen we must talk to a support person of Amazon and confirm about all our queries. From product quality till delivery. All online business does have some issues. Know the better way to use it for our best.

Posted by: greetingsvirginia at September 21, 2010 10:22 AM

The funny thing is, Amazon is actually working with several manufacturers to get rid of that awful plastic packaging for some products. Maybe they need to check out their warehouse practices first.

Posted by: Jaime at September 21, 2010 11:21 AM

Online all the way! I honestly cannot remember the last time I set foot in a mall. The packaging can be an issue but I always break down and save the packing materials and boxes to reuse when I ship something.

Posted by: Laineydid at September 21, 2010 12:39 PM

Unreal, but unfortunately many of us prefer to shop online. We can shop in our PJs and most of the time it is quicker and easier.

Here, we can recycle our boxes with our recycling, but that is one waste of a box for a tiny package.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at September 21, 2010 12:52 PM

and i just read something recently about amazon making their packaging better :)

Posted by: kati at September 21, 2010 1:14 PM

Damn, that is ridiculous. It's funny, too, because I just read somewhere that Amazon is leaning on companies to lay off the crazy plastic packaging that everyone despises so much.

Posted by: Erin at September 21, 2010 1:39 PM

I do quite a bit of online shopping - and you're right - some of it is really bad.

THOUGH, I've also done packaging research for a company once - and I understand using a standard size box versus custom creating a bunch of different options. Saves retooling costs, etc. From a bottom line standpoint, it's cheaper for the company.

As a customer? It kind of blows.

Posted by: sarah at September 21, 2010 4:50 PM

Uh oh, I "might" work for a company that "might" do the majority of Amazon's shipping. While this method seems a little silly, I can't tell you the amount of money and systems we have in place to pick the perfect box for product. There are rules, special packaging and all sorts of machines. It's really pretty cool to watch. But, I'm just guessing since we "might" not be doing the shipping for Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, etc and I can't tell what your product is.

Posted by: Jill at September 21, 2010 7:09 PM

A few years ago, I ordered three different things from Amazon in a short time span (like, a month). A CD came in a textbook-sized flat cardboard box. A DVD came in a box slightly bigger than a shoebox. A paperback book arrived in a book-sized cardboard box with no other protective packaging. None of this made any sense to me at all. They are notorious for their dumbass packaging!

Posted by: Stephanie at September 21, 2010 8:04 PM

I do almost all my shopping online, and I am in complete agreement that it's a sinfully wasteful. Amazon shipping is almost always "free" to me, but at a terrible cost to the environment.

Someday, my grandkids will judge me they way I judge my own for their racism/sexism. And I'll say, "but it was normal for the time." And they will still judge me, rightly so.

Posted by: Laura Gato at September 21, 2010 9:05 PM

I'm always amazed at the giant boxes that arrive when we order something. My facewash comes in a box you could easily pack work boots in. And 8000 syrafoam peanuts. It's not even a glass jar. When I lived in Japan, I was astounded at the packaging. If you buy something in a shop, they literally "wrap it up" in at least two layers of paper, twine and a bag. At minumum. All this said, I'd rather the big box than a trip to the mall if I can help it.

Posted by: Annie at September 22, 2010 1:40 PM