Here’s How Fulfillment Centers Make Shipping Stupid By Making It Smart

Here’s How Fulfillment Centers Make Shipping Stupid By Making It Smart

We received a letter from J., who designs order fulfillment systems for a living. We would call him a “Stupid Shipping Gang Kingpin,” but that’s not really fair: he says that he does his best to make the system less stupid. The problem, J. explains, is that “sometimes the smart way to do things and the common sense way to do things seem at odds with each other.” [More]

A Single Camera Charger Shipped On A Pallet Looks Ridiculous

A Single Camera Charger Shipped On A Pallet Looks Ridiculous

When a single charger box arrived at a camera store strapped to a wooden pallet, it caused one employee to take a video of the unboxing, then post it to Reddit with the question: “How is DHL still in business?” Yet this international edition of the Stupid Shipping Gang isn’t DHL’s fault. It’s how such items have to be shipped across borders. [More]

Amazon Tosses Jumble Of Household Staples In Massive Box, Hopes For The Best

Amazon Tosses Jumble Of Household Staples In Massive Box, Hopes For The Best

“Is that $120 in formula tossed in willy-billy with a bag of dog food?,” writes reader Cheryl. “Yes, yes it is.” Of course it is. We get that Amazon has a lot of boxes to ship on a daily basis, but she did sort of expect her giant order of household staples like kibble and granola bars to arrive not arrive loose in a large box, crushing some items. [More]

UPS Follows FedEx, Will Start Charging Based On Package Size

UPS Follows FedEx, Will Start Charging Based On Package Size

When FedEx announced in early May that it would soon begin using both weight and size when determining how much to charge for delivering a parcel, we predicted that UPS would follow suit. Amazingly, Big Brown was able to hold off for an entire month before deciding it also needs to take a package’s dimensions into account for ground shipping. [More]

Newborn Kittens Survive Accidentally Getting Packed In A Box And Shipped 130 Miles

Newborn Kittens Survive Accidentally Getting Packed In A Box And Shipped 130 Miles

Warning: If you are prone to squees of delight and shrieks of adoration, the below story might not be safe for your coworkers’ ears. Because how could you not utter at least one “aww!” when faced with tiny newborn kittens named Mouse and Wifi that survived traveling 100 miles packed in a box shipped to a warehouse? [More]

Remember Those Late Holiday Packages? Don’t Blame The Carrier, Blame The Retailer

Remember Those Late Holiday Packages? Don’t Blame The Carrier, Blame The Retailer

We may be a few months removed from the holiday shopping season, but some of us are still stewing over the broken promise of pre-Christmas Day deliveries from online retailers. And it appears we have reason to be disappointed with those retailers now that a study has found the majority of delays were their fault, not the postal carrier. [More]


Amazon Now Using Lockers For Return Shipping

Do you know what’s an even worse problem for online retailers than customers who never get their packages? Shipping back the items that customers did receive, but don’t want. Fortunately, Amazon has found a way around this problem: since late last year, they’ve using their lockers designed for deliveries to send products in the other direction. [More]

(So Cal Metro)

Stranger Runs Up $856 On My FedEx Account, FedEx Won’t Help

William used his FedEx account to send a package. It only weighed a few pounds and wasn’t going far, and it cost him $13.75. They charged his credit card: all done. Then charges of hundreds of dollars from FedEx started hitting his card, and he had no idea where they came from. What was happening? [More]

The USPS does not deliver cats on Sundays, or any other day of the week. (Jenna Belle)

Insider Holiday Mailing Advice From A U.S. Postal Service Worker

The United States Postal Service shared some useful holiday mailing tips with us a few weeks ago, with some sensible suggestions to help you get your packages to their destinations faster and with a minimum of fuss. An anonymous postal worker complimented that list, but told us that she had some additions of her own: insights that can only come from behind the counter.  [More]

The Robots Are Winning: Amazon Wants To Use Autonomous Drones To Deliver Stuff To Your Door

The Amazon Prime Air drone that will eventually be hailed as the forefather of our future robotic overlords.

What’s the next step in door-to-door delivery for online purchases? According to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, it’s self-piloting drone helicopters, which isn’t at all terrifying. [More]

(<a href="Rrravenita">Rrravenita)

eBay Wants To Idiot-Proof Shipping Things, Maybe Should Talk To Amazon

It’s true that shipping can be pretty complicated. Heck, Amazon is the biggest retailer in the world, and they have an awful lot of trouble with it. It’s understandable that small-time sellers on eBay have trouble with it too. So it’s interesting that eBay has filed a patent for a system that will idiot-proof shipping for their sellers. [More]

UPS Not Experimenting With Exciting New Teleportation Service

UPS Not Experimenting With Exciting New Teleportation Service

Did you know that UPS is now able to teleport packages hundreds of miles in only a few minutes? It’s true. Well, that, or something went slightly wrong with the timestamps on reader Kain’s package. [More]

Efficiency in action

Amazon’s Order Fulfillment: Efficiency Through Inefficiency

Is Amazon’s shipping system spectacularly efficient, or woefully inefficient? The company’s success has come from getting items where they need to be as quickly and efficiently as possible. Reader Jesse sent along an illustration of exactly how this efficient inefficiency works: the windshield wiper blads that he got for his car last week. [More]

How does this happen?

Rockport Sends Me Same Size Shoes, Different Sized Insoles

If Aaron had different-sized feet, he’d be all set. Well, also if his shoes were different sizes. Neither is true. He ordered some Rockport shoes more than a year ago, then set them aside. When he opened the box, he discovered that they had two different size insoles. How does that happen? He doesn’t know, but Rockport isn’t willing to send him a replacement insole. [More]


Accidentally Sexist Toy Mixup Means My Niece Gets Pink Car Instead Of Awesome Shark Plane

At left is the totally awesome shark plane that J’s parents bought for Christmas for his niece. It’s an online-only item from Toys ‘R’ Us. Any child would be lucky to receive such a fun and cool-looking gift, right? The problem is that thanks to an accidentally sexist shipping mixup, they didn’t get the plane: they got a pink pedal car instead, a week before Christmas. This kind of thing happens all the time, though, so Toys ‘R’ Us should be able to handle a vehicle swap with no problem. Right? [More]


UPS Suddenly Won’t Leave Packages At My House, Makes Up Different Reasons Why

Chris lives in a neighborhood of single-family homes and apartment buildings, which pretty much look alike. For a long time, he received packages from a certain vendor with no problems: UPS would leave a “sorry we missed you!” slip, he would sign the slip, and the driver would leave the package the following day. This time, it didn’t work: he only received another slip. Why? Because he lives in a three-family house, which counts as an apartment building as far as UPS is concerned. They can’t just leave a package in front of an apartment building. [More]


Ex-Stupid Shipping Gangster Explains Why Your Purchases Are So Poorly Packaged

Reader T. would like everyone to know that the members of the notorious Stupid Shipping Gang aren’t necessarily stupid. There could be a perfectly valid reason why your bubble wrap is wrapped in bubble wrap, a small clock comes in a box large enough to store your fiancée, and every ten-foot power cord requires its own wooden pallet. They’re just working with what they have, within the rules they’re provided, and trying to get your item to you in one piece. On their end of the transaction, these decisions aren’t so stupid. What seems wasteful to us consumers may actually save the company money.


GameStop Offers To Ship Out-Of-Stock Item, Doesn’t Mention It Will Take 7-9 Days Instead Of 3

Joseph wanted to buy a PSVita, and went to GameStop to see whether they had one available. New or used, didn’t matter. They didn’t have any in stock, but told him that they could order one online for him, and it would arrive in three business days, with free delivery. That was fine by him, until he learned what he had actually bought: a refurbished Vita, yes, but one that would take as long as nine days to ship to his house. [More]