Amazon Sends Medium-Sized Box Of Air, Includes Free Watch Batteries

Amazon chose the worst possible packaging to send this card of watch batteries to catastrophegirl. Well, that’s not true: they could have used an even bigger box and included more air packs. See, she tells Consumerist that the air packs arrived perfectly, but the watch batteries slid between the box flaps and hid.

A teeny card of watch batteries arrived barely inside the box. The box was full of air packing and the batteries were between the box’s flaps, where they had undoubtedly slid during shipping. A padded envelope would have done a much better job getting this to me. There was no invoice in the box but it was shipped by Amazon, not a third party.

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  1. rpm773 says:

    I saw a movie once where some dude in a big spaceship sucked all the air out of planet with a giant, upright vacuum cleaner. And people were consuming air from cans.

    Something that terrible has *got* to be true. The OP would be wise to save these so-called bags of air for the dystopic hell that awaits us in the future.

    • Xin says:

      the movie in question was SpaceBalls by Mel Brooks.

    • Doug81 says:

      Just don’t protect your precious air with the password 12345 whether it’s in a planetary barrier or a suitcase. We’ve seen how that ends up.

      Save your self some trouble and just switch Mega Maid from suck to blow if the spaceballs do come to steal our air.

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      I’ve already started stocking up on Perriair.

      Then again I remember about 25 years ago the Maine State Penitentiary Store was selling canned Maine air.

  2. Genocidicbunny says:

    Yeah, companies ship stuff in boxes too big for the objects being shipped. It happens. A packer at one of Amazon’s warehouses probably had the box ready for another order or something, it got canceled, they took the box, packed it up and sent it out. I can’t see how this is really news.

    Even more so, the item arrived undamaged, so this just seems like a whine. If you want something done, contact Amazon, not consumerist.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You would have a point if not for the fact that wasn’t just a case of little item in big box – was the item sent slid between the flaps, making it easily crushable, and making the air packs pretty irrelevant.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        From the photo, it appears the batteries arrived undamaged.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          they did arrive intact but when the box arrived the corner of the battery package was actually sticking out from under the flap. it slid back in when i picked it up to take it inside so it was loose during shipping.
          considering delivery drivers have been known to hide boxes under my shrubbery in a three day rainstorm, i’m just glad they got it near my porch at all

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I thought about the stupid shipping gang this morning. I got an email notifying me my order had shipped, and I realized as I was looking at the email that my five items had been grouped into three separate boxes, each with its own tracking number. One item is a little big, I admit, but my order before this one also had multiple items, some that were kind of bulky, and it all came in one box. And then I got another email saying an additional item from my list had shipped – all in its own box. So I have three boxes carrying five items, and then another box carrying one more item. I have four tracking numbers for six items!

    • psikic says:

      Did you ever think that the items could have been shipped from different warehouses?

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Well, are they being shipped from the same warehouse?
      Even if they are – they probably have different areas – different employees – for faster shipping.
      There’s an option to wait longer if you want all items shipped in the same box (if it’s possible)

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I checked the tracking and all of them are coming from the same warehouse, and were shipped out the same day. Also, there wasn’t an option to get everything shipped together. One of the larger items I understand being in its own box, but it’s strange that everything else is being divided in such a way, especially since none of them are breakable. I guess their boxes aren’t very big.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          That’s weird. I wonder why that option was given to you.
          I always just tell them to ship it as soon as possible, though.
          I always need boxes for mailing stuff back to friends and family back home.

        • terrillja says:

          Yes, that option is there under shipping options.

          Choose a shipping preference:
          Group my items into as few shipments as possible
          I want my items faster. Ship items as they become available.

          As for me, I have prime, so items regularly ship out from all over the place, whoever has it ready to go ships it. I’d see your complaint as valid if they just sent out tracking numbers, but given the fact that they make it easy to track your order online and track all the packages together, it’s not a relevant concern.

    • Mariushm says:

      It happens when some items are certain sizes … for example one that’s close to a DVD gets packed right away in a DVD style anvelope and then obviously nothing else fits with it…
      Another product might fit in an envelope fit for books but other items won’t fit with it inside, well without damaging them.

      Items are randomly placed in a large warehouse, in islands, the same product being in several places at the same time so that automated robots can calculate the fastest route to pick several items in one travel and deposit them in a basket.

      Sometimes one item may be in stock but because of demand it’s not available in one of those islands in the warehouse (it’s not unpacked from bigger boxes for robots to pick up) or may not even be in stock at all but Amazon expects a shipment in about 2 hours – when this happens it’s easier to just skip the item and ship several packages, for speed reasons.

      Keep in mind Amazon doesn’t pay postage like you do, they probably pay by volume and get a discount if they ship a certain volume each month, so for them it doesn’t matter how many packages they send and…

      In theory sending bigger packages is better because the chances of losing packages is smaller – if one package out of 20 is lost during shipping (falls off the sorting lines or routed to another place or something) or damaged (batteries in a dvd carboard box… what if someone presses something on the box) shipping the item a second time does more pollution and costs more than simply using bigger box in the first place…

  4. pantheonoutcast says:

    Where do you live that you can’t walk down the street to a store and buy watch batteries? The McMurdo Research Station?

    Also, there’s an error in the byline: You spelled Phil’s name wrong.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      they are for a medical device and i need a new one every couple of weeks. buying them from amazon saves me over a hundred dollars a year.

      • curlyfro says:

        have you tried office depot? I use these and they are cheaper there than I’ve seen anywhere, even cheaper on their website.

  5. The Lone Gunman says:

    I’m astonished that anyone would order 3 number 357 watch batteries from any online source.

    These things are not that uncommon. I can stroll down to the corner and pick them up instead of waiting for a shipment as I write this. Unless the purchaser lives on the fringes of the back of beyond, why do this?

    • Benjamin Stearns says:

      Be careful. Consumerist will censor you if you attack the person reporting the “problem”.

      • Jeff_Number_3 says:

        It’s also possible that they didn’t need them immediately and there as a good price on them (after shipping of course). Plus Amazon shipments can be a good source of cardboard boxes, even if it was an unexpected surprise in this situation.

    • Kitty Conner says:

      That’s the beauty of Amazon Prime. As long as the prices are comparable, I order stuff from Amazon that I could buy almost anywhere. Food, cleaning stuff, batteries, vacuum filters, etc. But I don’t have to actually go to any of these places, my items arrive in two days, I can check reviews as I’m buying and I can double check prices.

    • mac-phisto says:

      i’m not sure that she did order them. did you read the part where it says, “There was no invoice in the box but it was shipped by Amazon…”?

      even if she did order them, who cares? even TP is bought online these days.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        yeah.. but then it says
        “A padded envelope would have done a much better job getting this to me.”

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Well – they could live in the middle of nowhere.
      They also could have an Amazon gift card and decided to buy these with the gift card.
      They could have been on sale – I lived in a small town for a few months and there was a little pharmacy but they would charge like $13 for a similiar package of watch batteries.
      They could be disabled.
      They could be lazy.
      They may hate going into stores.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      I’m thinking that these were ordered to bring the total order up so they could get free shipping for some other item ordered at the same time.

  6. Benjamin Stearns says:

    Big deal! Just recycle the box!

    • err says:

      Exactly, what’s the problem? Some people just want to complain about anything.

      • brinks says:

        I don’t think it’s a complaint. It’s just funny how ridiculous that packaging was.

        • leprechaunshawn says:

          Saying anything negative about the packaging is complaining, including calling it ridiculous. The item arrived undamaged, end of story.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            I don’t think so. It’s complaining when you want to talk to Amazon about their shipping mishaps, but there’s also just being amused by a pack of teeny batteries showing up in a big box. That’s all.

    • dreamfish says:

      Recycling isn’t the magic solution to waste and the environment.

  7. Bob Lu says:

    I though Amazon has sort of computer program telling their packer which box to use and even how to pack the stuff? and I know Amazon has small boxes for CD/DVD/book. I am wondering how this still can happen? Personally I never order anything this small from Amazon, so I can’t say whether this always happen when you buy small stuffs?

  8. narcs says:

    why are you buying batteries from amazon? have you not heard of a store… and to a lesser extent a dollar store? I guess ordering batteries from amazon is okay if you are a recluse… should we call you Boo Radley?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i don’t trust dollar store batteries in my medical appliance. and they were on sale at amazon

  9. osiris73 says:

    Just two days ago they sent me a 4 ft long box for an 18″ torque wrench.

  10. psikic says:

    Amazon has a “packaging feedback” page where you can voice your concerns with a specific shipment and how it is packaged. This is not it.

    • mac-phisto says:

      you must be new here. otherwise, you would know about the stupid shipping gang.

    • ecwis says:

      I don’t think people really care about the occasional “my box was too big and now I’m sad” stories. If the OP is actually upset, contact Amazon through the packaging feedback page on their website.

      Just save the box and reuse it!

  11. jibo says:

    Dear consumerist, please don’t make big box, little item stories a regular feature. They are boring and pretty dumb.

  12. common_sense84 says:

    No one cares. Why does the consumerist keep pretending like this is an issue?

  13. Bob says:

    If it was cool air we all could use some in the USA. This is a summer that I long for mere hellfire.

  14. PTB315 says:

    Really gotta agree with the padded envelope comment in the story. As long as the value of the object that could fit in a padded envelope isn’t too high, that should be the go-to shipping method for flat, thin objects. I use them consistently to ship things, they’re great.

    • ecwis says:

      UPS requires shippers to package batteries “to keep them from being crushed or damaged.” A padded envelope wouldn’t necessarily prevent the package from being damaged.

  15. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Staples does this to me at work ALL THE TIME. But they cram about 50 air pillows in the box, which I love because then I can use them to pack the stuff I ship. Free pillows!

  16. Mariushm says:

    It happens when some items are certain sizes … for example one that’s close to a DVD gets packed right away in a DVD style anvelope and then obviously nothing else fits with it…
    Another product might fit in an envelope fit for books but other items won’t fit with it inside, well without damaging them.

    Items are randomly placed in a large warehouse, in islands, the same product being in several places at the same time so that automated robots can calculate the fastest route to pick several items in one travel and deposit them in a basket.

    Sometimes one item may be in stock but because of demand it’s not available in one of those islands in the warehouse (it’s not unpacked from bigger boxes for robots to pick up) or may not even be in stock at all but Amazon expects a shipment in about 2 hours – when this happens it’s easier to just skip the item and ship several packages, for speed reasons.

    Keep in mind Amazon doesn’t pay postage like you do, they probably pay by volume and get a discount if they ship a certain volume each month, so for them it doesn’t matter how many packages they send and…

    In theory sending bigger packages is better because the chances of losing packages is smaller – if one package out of 20 is lost during shipping (falls off the sorting lines or routed to another place or something) or damaged (batteries in a dvd carboard box… what if someone presses something on the box) shipping the item a second time does more pollution and costs more than simply using bigger box in the first place…

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i don’t think the whole box would have been lost. since the batteries were partially sticking out of the box when it arrived, i think the chances of me getting an empty box would have been more likely.

  17. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i replied to pantheonoutcast above about the savings being the reason i order these batteries from amazon.
    i was wrong about my math in that comment. so for those who are curious:

    just did the math. this style of batteries i save about $47 a year on buying from amazon as opposed to staples or target where it’s about $3.50 a battery. those are the only stores near me that carry that battery.
    i also go through AA and AAA pretty fast for the remainder of my medical devices and that’s where the real savings are buying in bulk from amazon or sams club [who doesn't carry 357 batteries in my local store]
    and no, i wish i could use rechargeables but it would void my warranties.

    • The Lone Gunman says:

      Try these folks then:

      http://www.dexknows.com/business_profiles/the_battery_xperts_inc-l809176904

      357 batteries are $0.99ea with them.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Also, I buy the same batteries (only generic) on EBay – I usually get a couple of sheets for $1.00 ea
      They seem to last just as long as brand name batteries.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        thanks for the suggestion but i’ve tried some of the off brand/discount batteries and i get poor results from them in high drain medical devices. maybe they are fine for some things but if the alarm in my continuous glucose monitor doesn’t go off when i am asleep and have a glucose crash it’s a lot more problematic for me than a stopped watch. the continuous glucose monitor is what i use the silver oxide 357′s for.

        and i know they are the same size as the LR44 which is also cheaper, but i cannot under any circumstances change the batteries any more often than the 5 days each sensor lasts – if you change the battery halfway through it reboots the sensor cycle, screws up the programming and calibration and i’m out an additional $87 for the sensor plus i have to put a new hole in my body.

        most of the batteries last me at least 15 days, some of them 20 days. if i use one that only lasts me 3 days it’s going to cost a lot more in the long run.

  18. DarkPsion says:

    I had a good one from Amazon last week. The item I ordered came in their “Frustration Free Packaging”, otherwise known as “Everything in a plain cardboard box”.

    But apparently someone in shipping had not been trained on this because they put that box in a much bigger box.

    And there was my shovel I ordered a few months ago, the shovel was 3ft by 6inches and the box was 4ft by 3ft. And the other tools on the same order were all shipped separately as well and there was room for all of their boxes in the shovel box.

  19. pk says:

    I once complained to Amazon about their big box for a tiny cd. They gave me a $10 gift card. I love Amazon.

  20. CyberDave says:

    This would be the perfect time to submit packaging feedback to Amazon so that they can try to improve this in the future, instead of griping on Consumerist:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200325950