Friday, February 19, 2010

Hi, My Name is Karen & I'm an Over-Packer

Remember the line in the out-takes of the movie "Liar Liar" with Jim Carrey when an actress improvises and calls him an "Over Actor"? It's hilarious because he didn't see it coming. Quite often I think of that scene when I'm packing my wares for travel via the US Post Office. I tend go a little overboard.

See the small white bundle below by the 3" yellow candle holder? It is three bead listings wrapped separately in foam padding and then wrapped together with another piece of foam. The 4" box on the postal scale above has one 7 x 13 mm bead in it, wrapped in foam sitting in a bunch of packing peanuts. The box weighs in at 2.6 oz. (an empty box weighs 1.8 oz.).

Of course, all this isn't really necessary to get a few beads safely to their destination.

Or is it?

Many years ago I had safely padded, bubble wrapped and shipped some earrings in a padded envelope only to find out later the post office had destroyed them somehow. Haven't used a padded envelope since. Call me paranoid, it fits.

Here's another order going out in the morning. It consists of a bundle of beads, one 4"-5" votive candle holder, and three tea light candle holders. The unwrapped yellow piece is to show how much bubble wrap is on the other tea light holders. You'll also notice the top, bottom and sides of the box are lined with 1" styrofoam pads. Had the styrofoam (and the 16" x 12" x 12" boxes) here because they're the perfect size for shipping my oak bead displays in.

Here's a picture after packing peanuts were added along with the bundles of glass goodies. Yes, I added some peanuts to the bottom of the box first. Used to order from a large well known glass company and they would put your goods in the bottom of the box and pour the packing peanuts just on the top. DUH???

Ready for the packing list and business cards before sealing it up with way too much tape. ;-)   The styrofoam pads add extra support if heavy boxes are set on top of it during transit. They also keep the box from collapsing if the postal workers abuse the heck out of it. I've heard you should never mark a package "fragile" since it might be too much temptation for bored workers to resist.

A few other things I've learned about shipping your goods.
Paying extra for insurance is more about peace of mind than actually being able to collect on a claim if needed.

I once shipped two 18" bisque-ware molds from MI to CA. I had taken the time to open each box they came in and wrap them with several extra layers of bubble wrap. Then the two boxes were taped together and wrapped again more layers before going into a huge box with padding. One of the molds was broken by the time they reached CA. I went to the UPS shipper I used to file a claim. The claim had to go through the account holder with UPS which was a local drug store. They said UPS would pick up the package and the packing materials for review. I emailed my customer who was an online friend and asked her to set everything out for them since she would be at work when they came to pick it up.

UPS denied the claim due to "insufficient packing". Later I found out UPS had only picked up the small box the mold came in, not the huge box it was shipped in or the packing/padding materials. I was pissed, how could they review my packing job fairly when the UPS guy only took 1/4 of the stuff back with him. The owner/pharmacist of the drug store was there when I went back to explain this to the clerk and said he would cover it. A few days later I had a check and refunded my customer.

I usually ship via the US Post Office and used UPS for these molds because of their $100 of insurance coverage, and the rate was cheaper on such a large box going to CA. The Post Office has broken things too so it really doesn't matter which one you use.

The way I see it, over-packing is my best option for hassle free safe arrival. Being a little paranoid, sometimes I document how an item was packed up just in case. LOL, your looking at it now!

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