This is a guest post courtesy of one of our customers, John Hawthorne. View the original article here.
Receivingpackages in the mail is one of life’s little pleasures. You open your door and there on your porch is a little bundle of joy. No, not a baby (hopefully). It’s a UPS/USPS/FedEx package containing something you ordered or someone sent you.
You pick up the parcel of goodness and transport it inside with trembling, sweating hands. With baited breath, you delicately slice the packing tape, all while maintaining the precision of a surgeon. No room for error here.
But something is wrong. You look inside the package and feel your stomach drop. The shock is almost too much.
Is this some kind of cosmic joke?
Is someone out to get you.
Your package has been…
[INSERT RECORD SCREECH]
Image via Pinterest.com
How did this travesty occur? How can such gross injustice be allowed to exist in this world? When will it stop!
Unfortunately, it probably won’t. It’s pretty common for packages to get ruined during delivery.
Why does this happen? We’re about to take you into the dark, seedy underworld of package delivery service. Are you sure you want to go here? You can’t unsee this.
Okay, let the journey begin. Here are 7 reasons why your packages get destroyed in route to their destination.
#1 – Because An Old Box Was Used
Using old boxes to send package is a grade-A terrible idea, and is one of the prime reasons your packages show up looking like they were trampled by a herd of wild soccer moms on Black Friday. Here’s what happens.
You decide to save the environment by shipping your collection of false teeth in a box that already has a shipping label on it. You accidentally forget to remove the old label when you send the package, meaning there are now two shipping labels. When the mail carrier sees both labels, he has to guess which one is correct. It’s probably the newer looking one, but who knows?
He delivers the package to what he hopes is the correct house, and then goes on his way. Old Man Johnson comes out of his house, picks up the package, and sees that it was delivered to the wrong place, so he sends it back.
But guess what? THE BOX STILL HAS TWO LABELS ON IT! There’s a good chance it will be delivered incorrectly again. It’s like some sort of Groundhog Day time loop.
By the time the package arrives at the correct destination, it is beaten, battered, and bruised.
The moral of the story? Don’t use an old box to ship your stuff. If you really want to save the environment, plant a tree for every package you send.
Also, did you know that reusing Priority Mail boxes is a crime? Seriously! It has something to do with breaking standard postal regulations. It seems like to government could be focusing on other things, like preventing war.
#2 – Because Fragile Stickers Were Used
Image via DailyMail.co.uk
“Fragile” stickers are like “wet paint signs”. Putting one on a package practically guarantees that it will get punted around like a football.
Popular Mechanics actually put this one to the test. They loaded up a package full of sensors and shipped it all around the United States to see which postal company treats your packages the best.
When the test results came back, several things were clear. First, FedEx drops packages more than anyone else. Of course, that isn’t a huge surprise. Remember when this video made the rounds on the internet?
It shows a FedEx worker tossing a packed computer monitor as if it were a slab of meat.
And let’s not forget this one:
Additionally, Popular Mechanics discovered that packages marked “fragile” got beat up more than those without the markings.
I think we all know why this is. When someone tells us not to do something, we immediately feel compelled to do it. Marking something as “fragile” is basically like writing, “Please beat the crap out of me,” on it.
Your package will probably arrive in better condition if you don’t mark it as “fragile”.
#3 – Because The Instructions Weren’t Followed Precisely
Image via Redditgifts.com
This is one of those things that makes you realize there’s little hope for humanity. Let’s say you’re sending an antique picture to someone. You do everything in your power to make sure the picture is packed securely, swathing it in multiple layers of bubble wrap, surrounding it with packing peanuts, and using what seems like a tough shipping box.
Nevertheless, when it arrives, the picture looks as though it was put through a wood chipper. Who knows what happened? Maybe it was smashed when being thrown into the truck. Maybe elves did it. It doesn’t matter.
The problem is that when you go to file a claim and get reimbursed by the shipping company, they can deny you if you didn’t follow the packing instructions to the letter. A quick look at various packing instructions reveals a host of terms like “minimum bursting test,” and, “minimum edge crush test.” It’s like trying to understand a quantum physics manual, except quantum physics is easier.
If the package you sent doesn’t fit within these specifications, good luck getting reimbursed.
The unfortunate reality is that packages are exposed to all sorts of abuses. Punishing weather, drops from various heights, careless delivery people, mechanical sorting machines. It’s somewhat miraculous our packages arrive at all, let alone in working order.
Take a look inside this UPS sorting hub.
Every day, millions of packages are flying around, slamming into each other and being shuttled from one conveyor to the next. There are countless opportunities for things to be crushed, shattered, bumped, and bashed.
This is partially why shipping instructions are so precise. It’s just too easy to things to get broken, and if you don’t follow the instructions, you’ll pay for it.
#4 – Because The Delivery Person Was Having A Lousy Day,
Image via thejobmouse.com
We’ve all had this happen. We don’t sleep well, have too much to drink the previous night, don’t get our morning coffee, or just feel grumpy. When we’re having a bad day, we take it out on our coworkers. When a delivery person is having a bad day, they take it out on the packages.
Suddenly, you end up with scenes like this:
Or, you end up with stories like this:
One time a postal worker stole my $15.00. I sent an envelope of money (I know you’re not supposed to do this), and I has insufficient postage. So, I got my letter back, and my $15.00 was missing. But the top was sealed with cello tape. I complained to the post office, and they did nothing, even after a story about them stealing came out.
What annoyed me was that money was headed for a charity.
We’re not bashing the postal service or postal workers. Everyone has a bad day. While there’s certainly no excuse for smashing packages or stealing money, we certainly understand why it happens occasionally.
#5 – Because Of Traffic Accidents
Image via arlnow.com
From time to time, a delivery person will find themselves involved in a traffic accident.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the damage to the delivery vehicle, the packages can be banged up and even destroyed.
Let’s just hope the package didn’t contain something that could end up all over the road. Like marbles. Or hundred dollar bills.
#6 – Because It Was Shipped In An Envelope
Image via consumermediallc.com
By now this should be obvious. Don’t ship things in envelopes. There’s just too much that can go wrong. The envelope could get stuck in a sorting machine, stomped on by a careless person, dropped from absurd heights, or tossed around like a rag doll.
Look at all the machinery involved in sorting mail and packages:
There are so many moving parts for envelopes to get stuck in. If you’re sending something, particularly something valuable, put it in a box. A sturdy box. A box that can take some punishment.
#7 – Because A Thief Swiped It
Of course, there are some solutions to this problem. They are:
- Hire a security firm to patrol your yard at all times. This may be a bit expensive.
- Purchase an expensive guard dog and train him to only attack package thieves. Again, maybe a bit pricey.
- Fight back against the thieves by tricking them into stealing a box full of dog feces. This is probably your best option.
We’re grateful for all the delivery workers who ensure that most of the time, our packages arrive safely. We know that it’s not an easy job, and we respect those who ensure that billions of parcels arrive safely and intact.
If you really are concerned about this problem, skip the whole process and just transfer money. You know that won’t be destroyed!
Of course, soon this won’t be a problem at all given that all packages will be delivered by drones. Then we can just blame the robots for causing the problems.