Unusual Packing Methods & Materials


When I got home from work on Friday, I noticed a large box (61.9 oz) of kellogg's Frosted Flakes sitting on the dining room table. I thought it very unusual since my wife and I don't eat cerials and wondered why my wife had bought it.

Turned out that a notepad computer I had bought on ebay had been shipped by UPS in the cerial box. The computer was surounded by styropone and stuffed into a cerial box for shipping. Forturnately the computer was okay.

This got me to wondering what unusual packaging others have received and used.

Here's a HP calculator packing story to start it off:

Last year I had bought an entire collection of 12 calculators. Since it included two HP-42S, a HP-71B, a HP-41CX , a HP-15C, and an assortment of other lesser valuable calculators, I was looking forward to them. When the box arrived, it obviously had a rough trip - one entire seam of the bos was torn open and the box was quite squished.

When I nervously opened the box, I found that each calculator had been placed in a plastic grocery bag and then the bag rolled up around the calculator. Then the shipper had padded the box out with hundreds of plastic grocery bags. No wonder the box was squished - it had no internal structural support. The good news was that all of the calculators were in good condition and nothing was harmed.

There was one other unusal part to this story. The top of the box was completely covered (with only the space for Ship to and ship from not covered) with individual Christmas Stamps. This was well after Christmas and someone had decided to use up their supply of Holiday stamps. It turns out that the local post office had done it - not the shipper. The person at the post office told me that ever so often they take a package and use up all their loose stamps they have cluttering up their desk drawers.

The top was so collorful that I cut it off and plan to frame it to hang on the wall. If anyone interested, I could post a photo of it.

What stories do you have?



A hard drive I ordered from eBay came packed in the out put of a cross cut shredder. What a mess!

Chris W

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Hi Frank,

Thanks for the link to the pictures. I especially like the care taken with the monitor - just a little foam to protect tube. Great site to make us appreciate when a shipper does it right.



Not exactly a calculator (or E-bay) shipping story:

I used to be on the scientific staff at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (1976-1979). The EEs there were responsible for building the very latest in low noise amplifiers, basically from scratch. One day, the latest in solid-state amplifier chips arrived. This was the actual tiny piece of doped silicon (actually, it probably was a GAsFET chip). It was about 1 millimeter square and perhaps 0.1 mm thick. This chip was in a little container which was in a bigger box which was in a bigger bigger box which was ..... The outer box was about the size of a shoe box. I figure the box to product volume ratio must have been at least 10e6!

Perhaps apochryphal, from the same place: the shipping department figured they needed some packing noodles (styrofoam peanuts). How much to order? Well, a few hundred pounds sounds about right. Oops! That's a whole truckload!!

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