packaging


I finally found the obscure screwdriver bits that work on my 1962 Kenskill travel trailer windows, “clutch type,” on a website called Zoro Tools. I’m happy to have found this company in almost every respect. They had my obscure parts for very reasonable prices, and shipped them to me quickly and for free. My total cost was $3.90.

So the following complaint is a small, fixable part of my experience with this company. But look at this: My two screwdriver bits arrived in a two-gallon cardboard box, stuffed full of packing bubbles.

The size and durability of the objects shipped does not seem to be a factor in choosing the volume or type of the shipping container, nor the amount of cushioning. A small envelope would have gotten them to me unharmed, even if a truck ran over them en route. A small padded envelop would have done the job if the bits’ packaging was somehow precious. 

This is not just a complaint about Zoro Tools–I have the same experience with Amazon and most other shippers I’ve used. I’ve gotten an extremely durable hard plastic container of skin cream in the mail from Amazon in a small box packed in a much larger box filled with bubble plastic. I’ve gotten an ace bandage packed the same way.

Now it may be that Zoro Tools normally ships to larger companies, so they only have large boxes to ship in. (Though Amazon does not have this excuse.) It may also be that they ship mostly to retailers for whom the state of the packaging actually is precious. And there are certainly other shipping considerations that companies make that I am not aware of.

But it actually hurts me a little bit to see this kind of waste of energy, resources, and space. I don’t want to be part of it. I’d like it if there were a “Not Fussy” shipping option to choose from: “Please just slap an address label and a stamp on the actual product and put it in the mail, if at all possible.” Something like that. The company that does that will get my business.

A while ago I wrote a list of things that almost always make me happy, so I thought I should make a list of things that almost always make me unhappy. For symmetry, you know? In no particular order:

All things “scented”: soaps, lotions, deodorants, colognes, candles, cleaning products etc. I like the smell of roses, hate the smell of rose-scented soap.

Small talk: Please do not talk to me about things that you are not actually interested in.

Unripe fruit: I would much rather not eat a banana than eat a green banana.

Unsalted butter and peanut butter: In these cases, unsalted is often better than nothing, but generally disappointing.

Buying airline tickets. Or, really, buying any pretty expensive item that might not work out as I’d hoped.

Shoes that are the slightest bit uncomfortable in any way. Don’t tell me that they will break in. That’s the line of a lazy and/or evil shoe salesman.

The hard sell. This is the only real downside to being nice–you become a target.

Unpleasant sensations, especially pain, nausea, and cold feet.

Injuries that do not heal or that take a long time to heal.

Bigotry.

Spots on my camera lens that I cannot remove.

Not being able to see the stars for man-made reasons.

Packaging of most kinds.

Dust jackets for books. They are supposed to protect the book from dust? All they do for me is give me another, more fragile, thing to try to keep nice looking.

Being helpless in the face of injustice on any scale.

Bad food, especially Amtrak, airline cuisine.

Almost made the list: mild and sharp cheddar.