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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Buying from the USA - over zealous packaging

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by PeterUK, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    What is it about sellers from the USA and the overzealous, excessive packaging?

    I don’t buy much directly from the USA nowadays because of the value of the British Pound versus the US Dollar (the Pound is on its knees due to our ‘interesting political situation’) so I have more expensive items shipped to the Atlanta office of the company I work for. This is perfectly legal as I’m allowed to import £350 worth of goods personally but only £17.00 by post before tax, duty, and in the case of postal deliveries, a handling fee.

    In the past, for smaller items, if packed discretely, HM Customs have ignored the item because the goods are likely to be low value. So onto my beef.

    Over the Christmas break Stewmac, from who I buy mainly tools, we’re offering a random discount and I got just over 50% so I had to decide to order something of high value and have it shipped to Atlanta or low value and have it posted to the UK.

    I went for the cheap and cheerful option. I ordered 3 wooden shims coming at $20-ish. Depending on the exchange rate I should be okay and expected a small Jiffy bag to arrive.

    This morning a box arrived! The three shims were sent in a box, 9.5 x 6.5 x 2.5” box!! The shims are 3 x 2 x well nothing at all, and the huge box seems totally unnecessary.

    This is not the only example. I’ve had a strong tree send in a 4 x 4 x 4” box and lots of similar examples.

    Is this totally excessive or is it just me?

    The box was picked up by Customs and they slapped on a additional £11.27 ($15.50) of fees and handling for a $20 item.

    It’s not so much the extra cost as the excessive packaging.

    Seriously, is it just me?

    :( Peter

    Attached Files:

  2. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I think you haven't seen the YouTubes of what US delivery people are capable of...
    LowThudd, clintj, studio1087 and 6 others like this.

  3. VintageSG

    VintageSG Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    No, not just you.
    I bought some custom billet performance parts for a motorbike that just weren't available outside the US at the time. Think oil filter, oil control and divert valves, small stuff. The whole order would fit, wrapped in bubble wrap, in a shoe-box.
    Now visualise a 2x2 stack of shoe boxes. Now put that in an outer container, lined with unflavoured Wotsits. Wrap the whole thing in heatshrink black clingfilm. Now use logo'd tape to add another wrap. Stick the delivery details in a self-seal stick-back envelope and ship.
    Yes, customs picked it up and slapped a nuisance charge on it too.

    3 months later, a UK distributor was formed :(
    PeterUK likes this.

  4. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    I work in airline baggage so I could probably trade you a story or two! :lol:

    :D Peter
    Jakedog and nojazzhere like this.

  5. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2008
    Peterborough, UK
    I think it's just as bad here. Loads of the Christmas presents I bought off Amazon came in big boxes with metres of brown paper, big bubble wrap etc. In 2018 I'm trying to buy direct from local shops as much as possible, partly to support them and also to use about a ton less unnecessary packaging.
    Smiff and PeterUK like this.

  6. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    I just doesn’t make sense, does it?

    :( Peter

  7. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    I hear you. I purchased a set of locking tuners from one of the online retailers and they arrived on a huge 12x12x12 box with a huge amount of bubble wrap.

    I fitted them and put the standard tuner on eBay, and I will post them today - in a Jiffy bag.

    Curiously, the address label claims ‘Responsibile Delivery - CO2 Neutral’. I’m guessing they didn’t factor in all the fresh air and excessive packaging?

    It’s a crazy world!

    :rolleyes: Peter

    Attached Files:

  8. duzie

    duzie TDPRI Member

    Jul 8, 2017
    Nw New Jersey
    I can tell you from my experience that trying to put all the labels and international documentation on a very small package is difficult lol!
    PeterUK likes this.

  9. RM8485

    RM8485 TDPRI Member

    Jul 18, 2010
    It does seem excessive. But I've heard some pretty bas from a friend who worked for a shipping company about the lack of care that packages were handled with. On top of that just over half of the guitars I've ever had shipped to me have arrived with the this end up arrow pointed straight at the ground. So overall I'm kind of glad things tend to be over packed.
    PeterUK likes this.

  10. Lonn

    Lonn Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2007
    Is it really that big of an issue?
    nojazzhere and sjruvolo like this.

  11. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    If your concerned about the CO2, massive overconsumption of materials, increasing levels of waste, massive use of oil-based products, etc.

    If you’re not concerned by this stuff, then no.

    But I am.
    pondcaster and koen like this.

  12. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Holic

    Sep 21, 2017
    I have received well packaged goods beaten to beyond recognition. I have shipped heavy (for their size) cutting blades and the guys got an empty box with a gaping hole in the side delivered. The only way this could happen is if you were throwing the box.

    After that day, everything I shipped for work got a complete duct tape wrap followed by packing tape. Never lost another part again.

    Lastly, sometimes it's logistically cheaper. You may use 1000 little boxes a year but 100,000 middle sized. Your piece price ends up cheaper, you don't need another bin, and less confusion means quicker shipping.
    PeterUK likes this.

  13. Gmountain

    Gmountain Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jun 7, 2015
    I've received stuff in a box with bubble packaging that could have been put in a first class letter envelope. It's crazy.
    PeterUK likes this.

  14. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 21, 2006
    Vienna, Austria
    It's not just US sellers - ever order anything small from Thomann in Germany? They only seem to have two box sizes on hand - large and larger...
    PeterUK likes this.

  15. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    Large and larger!!! That’s funny!

    It’s also frustrating to hear. I’ve never bought from Thomann but these things do make a difference to me.

    It’s good to hear from you.

    :) Peter
    RomanS likes this.

  16. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    It's probably the smallest box they have at the shipping facility.

    If they had packed them in an envelope, it's likely that they would have been damaged in shipping, and then you would have been upset because they weren't packed well enough to make it overseas :)
    studio1087 and Tele1966 like this.

  17. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2003
    Nottingham, UK
    Three thin slivers of wood laying flat in a padded envelope? Being damaged through the post?

    As I mentioned above I’m in airline baggage and know how sortation systems work, how baggage and cargo is handled, but if properly packed (i.e. not overzealously packed) these would have arrrived in good order.

    The folks at Mastery Bridge get this. I’ve had two small parts orders from them in the last 2-months, and they were packed in small Jiffy bags and arrived undamaged.

    I just thinks it’s a waste of the planet’s resources.


    :) Peter

  18. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    You could snap those shims in half by breathing on them too hard. So, yeah, if that envelope gets bent a little bit, they're going to crack right along the grain.

    I'm a little amused by the fact that we're talking about saving trees in packaging and not in how much wood is wasted in making those shims. I'll bet they turn about twice as much wood into sawdust as is left in one of those shims. :)
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    sjruvolo, LowThudd and PeterUK like this.

  19. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I've done some packaging design work. The box for the shims is a good thing. They probably used the smallest standard box of theirs. Shipping is evolving into a different animal nowadays. It does seem wasteful at times, but the Corporate MBAs are looking at different avenues to save money in the long run. Some ideas will survive and some will be replaced. IOW, just be glad that your order made it in one piece.
    KokoTele, PeterUK and Tele1966 like this.

  20. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2015
    This was from shipping, with it heavily padded to the point it couldn't move AND the recommended 4 inches of space all around. Just a chassis, out of the cab. They also broke a wire loose, and not just any old wire. It was a wire UNDER the main board, and required pulling the board out to repair. I've also received a Hammond organ chassis that required work with a vise and hammer to repair shipping damage.

    Your package carriers must be far more delicate (or respectful) than ours. One would swear ours just flew over the address and kicked it out the door at the right time. IMG_20180111_084205.jpg

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