Overstock And Amazon Comically Overpackage Readers' Orders: Newegg, Not So Much

It’s time for another installment of the Adventures of the Stupid Shipping Gang! We’ve packaged three reader stories in one post to make sure they stay extra-secure. In this edition: Amazon overestimates the fragility of Pyrex, Newegg underestimates the fragility of computer parts, and Overstock sends someone an awful lot of crumpled-up paper.

Receiving this package from Overstock.com, Marci was moved to e-mail the company, writing in part:

In a time where consumers are trying to be conscientious about the earth, environment, economy (personal and global), I wanted to share with all of you a picture of my recent Overstock.com purchase.

I am very happy with the product itself (and the price paid) – however, I am very unhappy with the excessive packaging used to ship such a small product. Admittedly, I will definitely rethink any further purchases from Overstock until smaller shipment boxes are used. This is quite unfortunate, especially with the Holidays nearing.

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While Marci’s package was in a comically large box, at least there was some padding to protect her purchase. Sam wasn’t so lucky with his Newegg purchase. He writes:

Recently I have noticed a huge problem with Newegg’s packing practices. The last few packages I have received have been poorly packaged, which I have let go, until this one, I cannot let this one go. In the attached photo notice the hard drive that is 100% unprotected and left to bounce around in shipping. Not to mention the DVD-RW Drive that does not even have any type of wrapping around it. This is exactly what I saw as I opened the box. I find this unacceptable. What do your readers think? Thanks!

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If these were, say, sweaters, tossing them in a bag without protection wouldn’t be a bad idea, but that type of packaging doesn’t work for electronics.

Ed’s Pyrex measuring cup from Amazon, meanwhile, was very well protected. Amazon packed it, declared that box “ready to ship,” and then lovingly nestled the box among air cushions inside an even bigger box.

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Pyrex measuring cups are a wonderful thing, it’s true, but don’t need that much protection.

PREVIOUSLY:
Behold One Day’s Worth Of Stupid Shipping For A Retailer
Amazon Introduces Packaging Feedback
Amazon Ships “Ready To Ship” Box… Inside Another Box
Boy, This Tiny Microfiber Cloth From Amazon Sure Is Packaged Efficiently
It’s Not The Size Of The SD Card That Matters, But The Size Of The Package

Comments

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  1. agent 47 says:

    Headline fail.

    • TorontoConsumer says:

      Yeah, Consumerist, tell me I’m not crazy and fix it!

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      and this is where the email addresses for the editors come in. i’ve sent one. usually after they make a fix like that it does take a little while to show up though for different people.

    • sixsevenco says:

      My question is not personally directed to agent 47…

      Is it just me, or is anyone else getting tired of the use of the word ‘fail’?

      • jefeloco says:

        I was getting tired of “fail” until a local scumbag got arrested; the headlines said his name was McPhail.

  2. thompson says:

    Newegg is WELL known for doing a piss poor job packaging OEM hard drives.

    • Alessar says:

      Yeah but usually they’re at least wrapped in 1 sheet of bubble wrap, not tossed in there loose!

    • Marlin says:

      Thats a big bug for me. I like reviews so I can see if something, esp like a hard drive, is prone to fail. But they way Newegg ships their OEM drives you can;t tell. Every drive I read has a lot of DoA HD’s.

      My last HD from Egg was wraped well but pictures liek these seem to be very common.

      • thompson says:

        I stopped ordering OEM drives from Newegg after getting two separate shipments where the drive was packaged as such:

        Hard drive
        inside an anti-static pouch
        in a box full of packing peanuts.

        Of course, while the box may have been packed with the drive in the middle surrounded by peanuts, it eventually settled to the bottom so that the drive was flush with the outside wall of the box. I shudder to think of the G-forces and impacts that drive was subjected to.

    • kkevin6154 says:

      Completely agree. I’ve only bought one HD from newegg and due to poor packaging, will never buy OEM hard drives from newegg again……and yes, the HD had to be replaced under warranty about a year later.

      I love newegg but will only purchase non-fragile computer parts and electronics from now on.

      Maybe this article will kick newegg into gear to fix these packaging problems.

      • Ryan says:

        Was the drive that failed manufactured by Seagate? If it was a Seagate drive and especially if it was from their desktop 7200.11 line, the drive was just waiting to fail. Seagate drives and the 7200.11 series have a few reliability issues which are probably not as bad as the infamous Deathstar series from IBM, but present none the less.

        As for the packaging of the drive itself, or the lack there of, I’d also place blame on Seagate as well as Newegg. Some manufacturers, Samsung I know for certain, also put the drive in a clear plastic clam-shell case in addition to the standard anti-static bag. The clam-shell is made in such a way to act as a shock absorber so as to help protect the drive from damage if dropped.

        Also, the packing jobs I have seen on recent Newegg orders do look atrocious. Whether or not the packing job is actually insufficient, depends largely on the return rate to Newegg and number of insurance claims to UPS, which we don’t know about. The packaging might look insufficient, but it could very well be appropriate. This is a case where I’d defer to actual experts in appropriate fields. I’m not sure I’d necessarily accept the word of Newegg, but I also know that my common sense on the issue might not be correct.

  3. veg-o-matic says:

    Who packed who into the what now?

  4. Ouze says:

    Newegg is the greatest electronics e-tailer ever. That being said, their packaging of bare hard drives is horrific, and has been for at least 2 or so years,

    • friendlynerd says:

      Bare CPUs aren’t much better. It thankfully hasn’t happened to me (yet) but there are always lots of comments in the reviews about bent pins.

  5. StuffThingsObjects says:

    I ordered a very small box of Tofurky Jurky from amazon and the box it was shipped in was around 10 times the size of the actual box and filled with the big pillow things.

    I had also ordered a Wireless Router from Newegg. It was maybe 1.5 times the size of the router box and was filled with brown paper.

    I need a happy medium for my packages.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      They make Tofurky Jerky? Off to find!

      • StuffThingsObjects says:

        It’s a bit expensive but it’s pretty damn good. Amazon had the best deal I could find.

    • jeff_the_snake says:

      that sounds adequate for a router. they don’t really have any delicate parts, just a single circuit board. there’s nothing to break loose or rattle around.

      • StuffThingsObjects says:

        Yeah, I honestly wasn’t very upset over it, it was just strange comparing the two things side-by-side: one thing that really couldn’t have much harm come to it and one thing that a couple of good drops could debilitate the thing.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If you read a bunch of Newegg reviews, you start noticing the same piece of advice: do not get free eggsaver packaging – it wrecks products. Pay attention to this.

  7. sirwired says:

    FWIW, the “Ready To Ship” sticker on the Amazon box is just a signal to the stock picker that the box is one complete SKU, and not a multi-item case. It does not mean that the box should simply have a label slapped on it for it to go out the door.

  8. winnabago says:

    There is a small blurb about diapers.com and their robotic packing system and 23 sizes of boxes this week in Businessweek:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-07/diapers-com-takes-on-amazon-in-huggies-delivery-time-smackdown.html

    Pretty cool stuff.

  9. sirwired says:

    Hmmm… every time I order an OEM drive from NewEgg, it’s mummified in layers of bubble wrap and packing tape. Maybe some warehouses “get it” and some don’t…

    • moorie679 says:

      I think he took the paper filling/peanuts out of the box on the top for more of a “Dramatic Effect” also they have amazing replacement/return policy so i really do not wort about it.

    • jefeloco says:

      I have ordered at least 15 OEM HDDs from the egg over the last seven years (some for me and my wife, most for family/friends that I built computers for) and have never seen one get packaged like this. You’re probably right about the warehouse knowing or not knowing how to package something. I live in Idaho and have had all but one shipment (of well over 100) to me drop from Industry, CA. The one exception was a case that shipped from New York State (don’t remember what city the warehouse was in).

  10. c!tizen says:

    I just received a parted out system from New Egg yesterday, and the hard drive was wrapped in bubble wrap and placed securely in a small box. The DVD drive was loose, but it was wrapped in bubble wrap. Everything else was in it’s original manufacturers box. The processor box was a little beat up, but nothing too bad.

  11. Dragon Tiger says:

    I am surprised that the Newegg box wasn’t filled to the brim with foam peanuts, because that’s how they used to ship stuff. I wish they’d use the puffed starch ones that dissolve in water.

  12. RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

    Am I the only one who’s tired of hearing “in this day and age, when we’re trying to be earth-friendly, blah blah…”? Yes, it would be nice if they’d use less packaging, but that’s starting to grate on me almost as much as “won’t someone think of the kids?!?!”.

    • TacomaRogue says:

      No, you are not the only one. I am so sick of all this faux eco-friendly b.s. rhetoric people are spewing these days. If you really want to be earth friendly freaking re-use the box and all the paper for gift wrapping (what with the holidays coming). Also, paper products are now bad for the earth! I don’t care what anyone says about trees being cut down and such, the paper industry uses responsible logging practices and they replace the trees they cut down with new baby trees and rotate through the crops of trees every few years. Also, it’s freaking biodegradeable, and that paper doesn’t look like it was bleached so there are no chemical worries.

      /rant.

      On topic, I kind of like the overkill shipment packing. I’d rather my one tiny product come in a giant box filled with paper or packing peanuts or air bags than having it come in a smaller box where it’s more likely to bump the sides.

  13. D0rk says:

    I absolutely hate how Newegg ships OEM hard drives. It’s been terrible for years. I’ve seen pictures of their new shipping system, and it’s not really much different. It’s a bubble wrapped, static-bagged drive in a sleeve of cardboard. It still flops around in the box with peanuts/filler paper.
    Still looking for a decent retailer that I can buy from locally, even if it means paying a premium.

    • AliceAitch says:

      Dunno where you live, and dunno what your definition of “decent” is, but if you can follow the following rules, MicroCenter’s not bad. Their prices are usually about 10% higher than NewEgg’s. We use them in emergencies, i.e. I need a hard drive RIGHT NOW, because it’s an hour one way to their location, otherwise we use NewEgg. (I’ve never had problems with NewEgg’s packaging, the only thing I find annoying is eating shipping and return costs on failed items.)

      1. Don’t trust their online purchasing system to get the correct item into your hands. It *sounds* great to be able to pick up something in 18 minutes, but when it’s the wrong item it’s not so whippy. What’s worse is when your spouse buys something and asks you to go pick it up without detailing exactly what it’s supposed to be, you make the drive all the way across Denver to pick it up, and get it home to find out that what you brought home was a lot like what he needed but isn’t quite right.

      2. Check the packaging to make sure what you’re getting is still factory-sealed. If it’s not, make sure that what you’re getting is what you’re expecting. But that goes for most retail stores, I think.

      3. Be sure to grab a handful of USB drives on the way out the door. It’s the best part of the MicroCenter shopping experience. They’re all pretty and sparkly, like hard candy.

  14. enomosiki says:

    The last time I ordered from them was at least seven months ago, and back then they still shipped the components inside boxes full of packing peanuts. Only obscenely large things such as full sized computer cases are shipped in their manufacturers’ boxes, although those have styrofoam barriers inside.

    Perhaps this is specific warehouse issue. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve purchased things from Newegg, but I haven’t had any problems with them in terms of packaging. Granted, like someone here said before, OEM hard drives are protected by nothing but bubble wraps, but the sheer amount of packing peanuts that they put inside the box nulls much of a chance for damage.

    I would take a look at the order history and track down which warehouse the package originated from, and then forward that little piece of information to Newegg along with the photos.

  15. majortom1981 says:

    I orderd 4 hdd’s and they came in the styrofoam tray and had about 5 layers of bubble wrap around them.

    I have never gotten anything from newegg that i thought wasn’t sufficiently pachaged. I live in ny so maybe like others have stated its a warehouse thing?

  16. Beeker26 says:

    If the stuff works why do you care how they were shipped? Really, you’re going to stop shopping at a website because you don’t like the packing material? You seriously don’t have better things to worry about?

    So by all means, pay more to shop someplace else. That’ll learn ‘em.

  17. Macgyver says:

    Whenever I order something from Newegg, the boxes are just the right size, and the contents are very well protective.
    I rather have something over protective then under, or no protection, and protection is always good anyway.
    And I always reuse the box to ship something on ebay, or find some other use for it, or I recycle it.

  18. Primarylupine says:

    I don’t know where they got their Newegg order from, but I’ve never received anything from them that wasn’t packed in 6km of bubble wrap.

    I ordered a motherboard that came with a free pen(!). I think the pen was wrapped in more plastic than it took to make the pen. The pen was in a plastic sleeve, in a ziplock bag, in a foam bag, in a cocoon of bubble wrap.

    I just opened a package that contained a single stick of laptop RAM, and it was packed in bubble wrap that made it about the same dimensions as the new Coke 2-litres.

  19. VaultComplex says:

    Apple, a proponent of being “green,” is just as guilty of this as well. Look at what they packed my two tiny iphone docks in a few weeks ago.

    http://yfrog.com/c91alj

  20. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Ooh, free air pillows. I love those. I use them at work all the time and have people trained to bring them to me when they get a box that contains them. :)

  21. TuxRug says:

    Contact Newegg, and tell them how upset you are at their shipping. They might offer to pay return shipping of any damaged items, but knowing how out-of-the-way they go sometimes, especially for publicized stories like this, they might just send you a new batch and tell you to keep what they already sent.

  22. Newegg_Support says:

    Dear All,

    Newegg.com takes its customers’ shopping experiences very seriously. This of course includes the condition and packaging of orders for shipping. The packaging as it is described and shown here is certainly unacceptable. We would like to encourage this customer to contact our service agent at: Maverick.B.Iniguez@Newegg.com or call him at 800-390-1119 ext: 25062 for any item replacement(s) that might be needed and to provide us with his specific sales order number. Rest assured this will be brought to the attention of our shipping departments to ensure this is corrected.

    Thank you,

    Newegg.com

    • golddog says:

      My experience w/Newegg packaging has been that its always the right size and protected appropriately. I am wondering…with so many people reporting issues, especially w/OEM HDDs…could this be an issue w/one regional warehouse/shipping center?

      • Firethorn says:

        Might even be one shift or packer, which would be why Newegg is trying to track it down.

        Items damaged in shipping can quickly get to be more expensive for Newegg than what it costs to employ a packer. So replacing the bad worker, or at least reeducation could be in order.

        Then you get into if Newegg has a bad reputation for shipping drives, well, that’s costing them business.

        BTW, I’m another satisfied Newegg customer. Built my last 3 computers with parts purchased from them. Never had a problem. I’ve since moved and will have to see.

    • Torchwood says:

      Yo, Newegg.

      My last hard drive order was on May 27, 2010, and was for two Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Hard Drives, which was a Shell Shocker deal. The drives were in a small Western Digital brown box with adequate padding, and NO bubble wrap. They continue to work fine. I was impressed.

    • Beeker26 says:

      And this, dear Consumerist readers, is why Newegg ROCKS!

    • Sandstar says:

      Well, I gotta give you credit for coming here, and owning up to the problem shown in the picture. If only all companies were as forthcoming about their mistakes.

    • gman863 says:

      Honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen any company post a direct reply to a Consumerist story (+1 to Newegg).

      Other than the time I received two 80mm cooling fans in a 9″ x 12″ x 6″ box, Newegg has done a good job of box sizing and packaging.

  23. Sandstar says:

    You still haven’t changed the title? Do you even care anymore? Oh, I see a “support the consumerist: Donate today” button next to this. I don’t think so.

  24. dragonpancakes says:

    Amazon books and DVDs come in special book & DVD boxes that fit PERFECTLY.

    • AliceAitch says:

      My husband ordered an Xbox game a few weeks ago that arrived packed in a larger box with so much of the air pillow bubble wrap stuffed around the game that the box was bulging. The game case was warped, and we were surprised that the disc itself wasn’t damaged from the case being pressed around it.

  25. Corinthos says:

    I order at least 1 thing every two weeks on amazon and I’ve never got a huge box. I live in an apartment so maybe they take that into consideration.

  26. Snake420 says:

    The large Amazon box looks like the size they used to send my cast iron skillet. Much too big and the skillet was protected only by a couple of air cushions so it arrived broken. The return process though was very, very easy.

    First time anything I ordered from Amazon arrived broken…

  27. Saltpork says:

    There are 2 secrets to buying hard drives from newegg.
    The first is to not go with their newegg free shipping. Pay the premium.
    The second is to buy several hard drives at once.

    In my experience when I buy 3 or more hard drives at once they package them in the styrofoam containers that they are shipped in from the manufacturer. So you have a styrofoam shell outside of the plastic case and the whole thing is taped & bubble wrapped inside the box. The weight helps keep it from shifting too much and it’s secure enough that damage is lessened severely.

    The downside to this is that you have to buy 4-10 hard drives at a time, but if you’re like me, that happens every couple of years anyway.

    I just recently bought an AMD Phenom X4 OEM off Newegg. Large box filled with crumpled paper stuff with this little processor in the middle of it wrapped in bubble wrap like a softball. It was strange, but kinda cool.

  28. jennesy says:

    This reminds me of when I bought a half pound of coffee from Fresh Direct and it came delivered in a box that was about 2.5 feet long and 1 foot deep.

  29. pyrobryan says:

    Try ordering a car battery from Amazon. They ship a 40 pound battery in a box that’s twice the size of the battery with no, and I mean NO, padding.