Discussion in 'Packing & Shipping' started by blhagstrom, Oct 22, 2017.
Yeah--not as much fun to "pop" as good 'ol bubble wrap
I've gotten to the point that I get out my phone to take pictures of the box before I even open it. Pics along the way just to show how it was packed, and then of the item inside. If all is fine I just delete the pics but I figure it might be useful in case I end up with something destroyed in shipping.
I have gotten to the point of selling nice gear locally or I am willing to deliver up to 50 miles or so . I just don't want to see nice stuff get damaged .
Some good points here. I too trust FedEx best of the options but have been told by them that packaging should be able to withstand a 6' drop. I believe it is the conveyers they use, not as much the deliveryman hurling packages as we sometimes see. I have never had physical impact damage on anything I've sent (on any of the sides) but much like the transformer story above have had one tonearm post and one rubber mounted turntable motor come loose purely from inertia. Like the transformer tearing out story above no impact problems from the outside just gravity and inertia doing it's thing...and most likely one hell of a drop.
Makes me particularly conscious of heavy/delicate parts that are inside of the pieces not just outside impact. I was particularly surprised that a secure tonearm with no headshell, cartridge, or weights of any kind was floating with the still secured post hanging off of it upon arrival. All else was perfectly intact as it had left. This was even shipped with it's original box/foam inserts, packed within a secondary heavy carton and additional foam sheet all around. I've since started padding around arms with small sections of foam and securing the whole mess to the main structure itself.
And my sympathies to the amp and it's owner...
How many G's (force) would it take to accomplish that? I'd say shipper is responsible. Sad.
hm, I actually did save some pics. This is a Metz console amp I bought a while ago. I saved the pics because it was such a good packing job.
This what I saw inside the outer box. The bubble wrap had me a little worried.
More bubble wrap inside the inner box. More initial worry.
Inside the bubble wrap.
Under the pink foam, at which point I went from concerned to impressed.
under the front hunk of foam
Under all that was just the amp, exactly as it was pictured in the ad. Tube amps are always a little dicey just because of the heavy transformers but this one came through fine.
I got to see the shipping box today.
It traveled from TX to WA.
The box and packing were pathetic for that amp.
If UPS pays, I'll be shocked.
This Sanusi sr-929 arrived yesterday. I had the mail lady witness me opening the box because the seller shipped it off 11 days earlier and I had a bad feeling. Took pictures and sent them to seller and now have a full refund. The seller and I talked about shipping and I told her Greyhound bus is the very best way to send the turntable. She agreed and said that is how it would be shipped. I felt the table would arrive safely until tracking showed it was shipped USPS. All
It is unfortunate, but I too adopted that policy a couple years ago as well. Start taking pictures before even opening the box and then do a photo essay of the entire unpacking process and final condition of the contents. I got burned on a couple things (eventually resolved in my favor, but only after a lot of unnecessary hassle), a couple years back, so I try to "document" everything.
As a seller, for anything of significant value, I employ pre-emptive security measures like taking pics of serial numbers, marking and photographing key internal components, and applying seals over case screws in inconspicuous areas.
i think few people have interest in packing audio that dont really know audio, or maybe are to young to care, indestructable packaging is possible but takes some love and time, usually once the money is sent the fun is over for some sellers. then its just ship it outa here
I have no idea, but from what I observe, the only theory I can defend is that most people don't/won't/can't think.
I can't stop thinking about what I'm doing and need to do and what needs to be considered and what can go wrong and what must go right and....
I swear, most people must be not thinking at all.
The biggest clue is their situational awareness.
Deer in the headlights situation.
This is the case for the estate sale scroungers and thrift store addicts--look at a seller's history and see if they have ever sold a TT or "monster receiver"--if they haven't--run, don't walk away. If the majority of their sales history is figurines, china and other chochky--they are way out of their league in shipping audio gear and the results will not be good.
I had my share of mishaps. One was a Harman Kardon turntable (T15, maybe?) that looked nice in the eBay listing. Thing is, those H/Ks were cheaply built turntables, and it did not take much of a shipping jolt to knock the flimsy bearing out of the plinth. So the platter was just sort of laying there cockeyed under the dust cover. The counterweight also flew off and bounced around inside the dust cover. I forgot who said it, but what comes to mind is the saying, "You can't fix stupid."
Amazon's first attempts at shipping LPs were pathetic. One box size they used would allow the LP to sit on a diagonal between corners, and the box was too long so that it slid back and forth inside. One or two arrived OK. I had two LPs in one shipment arrive badly warped. Others got torn up. Some that came from one of Amazon's EU shipping facilities were sent via DHL, and those dickheads at DHL would either ship it to arrive to me after the Amazon due date (so I nailed Amazon for a replacement for a lost shipment), or they would totally destroy the boxes enroute. Here is one example of those dickheads' handywork on one of my LP purchases (click to enlarge):
I complained to Amazon about this a few times, and they really don't care. Their response is they use "whatever" when they ship. Funny. I occasionally had the UK Royal Mail ship LPs to me from Amazon UK, and they arrived in six calendar days, unscathed, perfect condition.
And yes, I receive merchandise from Amazon that often is not well packed. I am lucky that some of it arrives and still works. Yet other things are not fragile and can handle it. Still...I was not taught that way.
That is exactly it. When I bought audio components by mail order starting back in the 1980s, I would always receive these large boxes. Opened them up, and there would be at least three inches of those styrofoam peanuts around all sides of the inner box with the component in it. The key there is that yes, the inner box "floats" to absorb the shock, but there has to be sufficient styrofoam peanuts to keep that box suspended properly. Slightly overfilling the box so the peanuts compress was crucial. If not, any movement of the cushioned inner box would start crumbling the styrofoam peanuts, which would cause more movement, which would destroy more peanuts...vicious cycle, and all you'd receive is a box of styrofoam crumbs. I have seen similar done with the bubble wrap using the large bubbles--they can provide that similar cushioning needed. Packing hard styrofoam between inner and outer boxes won't cut it--there is not enough "give" to hard styrofoam to properly cushion from shock.
It still annoys me that some think "double boxing" is proper packaging, when they only slip a package into a slightly larger box, like a glove. I almost went ballistic when my Oppo 105 arrived this way (Oppo sends them to dealer 2-up in a double-walled outer corrugated box). It's a wonder the player survived. Yet it was flawless. I just got lucky the box wasn't dropped or anything.
Having shipped about 5,000 packages per year for several years in our family biz, I was taught the right way to pack something early on. There should be no movement inside a sealed box. There should also be cushioning. And packing small, heavy parts inside a box requires that there be adequate packing material. We sold industrial parts (different types of bearings) and we made sure everything was packed tightly. Our product never arrived damaged unless something really bad happened with UPS (maybe once a year, at most). Yet when customers returned things to us, they'd be in a larger box, with one token wadded up piece of newspaper, and the parts would bounce around inside and sometimes destroy the threaded portion of a part or at least nick things up so they were not salable.
I only wonder how and why UPS has gotten so bad. Back in the 80s and 90s we rarely had an issue out of tens of thousands of packages shipped. At least in my neck of the woods, the UPS drivers today beat all the others due to actually following instructions to leave packages at the side door, and leave my boxes in plastic bags if it is raining. If they are delivering something from Tire Rack, they always put them in the backyard for me. FedEx usually does a "dump and run" on the front porch, as does the USPS. (And I hate that, since it's not that far to the street, and it's easy for the rampant package thieves to snatch them up and take off.) FedEx also does not wait for a signature--knock, wait three seconds, bolt back to the truck.
the volume of shipments has increased dramatically. the entire delivery chain is stressed and
people are overworked. the infrastructure is being stretched beyond original target parameters.
us audio guys are competing with shoes, pet food, toiletries, underwear, and a zillion other
things. You can drop toilet paper from 100 feet up.
our stuff is heavy AND fragile.
the dilemma is whether you can pack against the worst possible conditions.
my tips: get printer boxes with handholds. they already weigh a lot, survive the shipping blues.
my guess is that the last-mile deliverer sees the handholds (esp with top-side large notes)
and uses them. and that takes precedence over hurling (not chunking). for TT, have three
sections (stiffened by internal side braces): bottom for platter, middle for unit, and top for
I gave up on UPS this year after they left an some equipment unattended at the front door of a buyer. Refused to refund my money saying it was delivered. They are THE most haplessly incompetent shippers in my opinion. I went back and forth for several months. Sometimes they would say they would refund my money and when it didn't materialize I had to go through the whole request for refund. Sometimes they would argue it was delivered and sometimes they would say I'll get a refund. I'll NEVER, EVER USE THEM FOR SHIPPING AGAIN AND I TELL OTHER PEOPLE HOW BAD THEY ARE!
I had a UPS claim for a G9000 that was double boxed with foam and insulating sheets. The whole heat dissipating fin section was jammed right into the caps and transformer. UPS would not honor my claim because the G9000 was not packaged in its original box (from 1978!) Anyway, after considering how extremely well I had packaged it I am sure that the idiot I sold it to dropped it...its the only explanation I can really feel comfortable with...
im a sub contractor for canada post
the volume and rush is unbelievable this time of year.we are already working christmas hours.
i am expected to make 140 to 160 stops in 7 hours
bear minimum of 22 stops an hour
locally ups is atrocious ... stuff just left on front steps in plain view
tho fedex left a sansui amp on my front stairs and i was not happy, but all was well
the driver has no idea what he is delivering, weather its worth $2 or $2000
all should be treated as $2000
since it happened to me i make sure not to do it to others
nothing seen from the street, weather permitting, at your back dorr and i leave you a note.
bad weather it must be covered, open shed, roofed patio, dog house, most common in your bbq.
can t be seen and safe from weather... and of course a note.. or you may not find for a few weeks.
the driver also receives stuff knowing its damaged before he gets it ... he still has to deliver it, and take the fallout from the customer
that being said, i flip my share of stuff to get more stuff.
i refuse to ship turntables.
i know they take a beating at every place they get sorted.
i have never sold a turntable for more than 200 cause thats all the local market will bear.
the hassles involved in a claim for 200 is not worth my effort, in most cases i would rather not ship anything.
i'd rather sell cheaper here than to do all the leg work and purchasing to pack correctly.
and sometimes have the buyer back out when he finds out shipping is going to be $60-70
and thats at no gain to me
but i do ship amps and receivers, as a last resort.
the heavier it is the harder it is to toss in the sorting plants. believe me they do toss.
Another reason I avoid USPS.
They have gotten impossible to collect a claim too.
I got word that the buyer got a refund.
I was sure eBay would force that.
No word from the seller about the claim.
We will never know.
Was the shipment specified as signature required?
If yes, you had a case.
If no, they delivered the package as requested.
I receive crap packing from Amazon too. But, I have yet to need to return/claim anything as damaged.
It occurs to me they are playing the numbers. Doesn't make sense to spend a bunch of money on super packing everything if the amount of stuff that is actually damaged to the point of return/refund is a tiny fraction of the total.
I would not expect that to change until the claims make it in their better interests to pack better.
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