Crate & Barrel's Wooden Spoon Packaging Is Very Efficient

Reader Mark says:

I recently ordered two wooden spoons, a wooden spatula and a silicone spoon rest from – all in the same transaction. Today I received these two big boxes! One box (10x7x20) held ONE 13.5″ spoon. The other box (13x13x7.5) held the other spoon, spatula and spoon rest.

It’s obvious that all four items could have fit in the big box along with the big spoon. The amount of bubble pack, honeycomb paperpack and tissue paper was unbelievable.

Is it weird that we find this sort of hilarious? Why did someone think that all that stuff wouldn’t fit into one box? Why?

Maybe they should help Amazon pack their hard drives. Tee-hee!


Edit Your Comment

  1. num1skeptic says:

    can’t see the pic. anyone else?

  2. ptkdude says:

    Maybe the spoons have a history of fighting with each other and needed to be separated.

  3. num1skeptic says:

    there we go. wow what a waste.

  4. ManicPanic says:

    That is all the leftover packaging that Amazon did NOT use when shipping hard drives.

  5. num1skeptic says:

    i think they need to get together with amazon’s shipping department.

  6. Monkey4Sale says:

    They could have easily shipped in a bubble envelope. Labeled fragile if necessary, but most likely not for wooden spoons.

  7. num1skeptic says:

    @ManicPanic: dang you beat me to the amazon joke!!!!!

  8. ManicPanic says:

    Whoops, didn’t see that last line of the post–I swear I am not poaching ideas!!!!

  9. Veeber says:

    I’ve seen worse. I got a box from Office Depot, probably about the size of check in bag, which was full of packing material, a box of pens, and a pair of scissors. I thought the driver would just drop it off in a bag.

  10. num1skeptic says:

    how many rainforests does it take to ship a spoon? –about 5.

  11. num1skeptic says:

    @ManicPanic: wow i’m guilty of that as well.

  12. IrisMR says:

    wow. That’s a bit obnoxious.

    I hope she didn’t pay too much shipping (she probably did.)

  13. ffmariners says:

    Separate shipments is probably because they ship it out as it becomes available. But yeah… what a waste of paper… and money.

  14. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    We had a Crate and Barrel registry for our wedding, and I can confirm that this is how they package pretty much everything. It made no sense at all. Sometimes we’d get boxes *full* of stuff, other times we’d get boxes like the one described above with the sppon.

  15. num1skeptic says:

    i’m just assuming, but did these spoons cost an arm, or just a leg?

  16. Benstein says:

    Hmm, sounds like a place I want to order from when ordering something fragile.

  17. heinzs says:

    If you are ordering wooden spoons online instead of getting them on your next trip to the store, how concerned are you with efficiency and/or use of resources, really?

  18. internal says:

    Crate and Barrel is so over-priced, they get to use some of that profit margin for over-packing.

  19. IphtashuFitz says:

    Heh. Reminds me of an old company I worked for that bought a ton of computer hardware from Sun. The servers showed up missing the all important power cables, so we contacted Sun to let them know. About a week later we get a box from Sun that’s about 3 feet square. Inside the box are about 20 or so smaller boxes about 2x10x10. These boxes fit perfectly in the larger box, and each one was immaculately taped shut. Inside each of these 20 or so small boxes? One power cord.

  20. Daemon_of_Waffle says:

    The items probably came from two different shipment warehouses/locations. One location had the big spoon (its just a spoon) and the other location had the other items. Shipping from each location was then synchronized to arrive at the same time. Newegg did this on my last large order. The shipment consisted of 4 boxes; one shipping from their TN location, 3 from two different CA locations. All four arrived the same day. However, it was obvious that had the items all been in the same location, they could have been sent in the same small box, thus saving packing materials.

  21. jeblis says:

    They may have shipped from different warehouses. Also being the holiday rush, they may have run out of smaller boxes

  22. ancientsociety says:

    Oh, you’re all grinches. Don’t you know conspicuous consumption = Christmas?

  23. Beerad says:

    @heinzs: Yeah, I mean, they’re wooden spoons. Even if there’s not a Crate and Barrel near you are these really the sort of things you need to mail order? Although that lonely spoon in that big box IS kinda funny.

  24. shan6 says:

    That had to be a joke made by one of the employees.

  25. stevemis says:

    Try Spatula City next time.

  26. warehouse_guy says:

    Typically warehouse management systems will pick a box size based on the size of the item. To economize how many boxes you end up having in inventory, it’s common for a shipping company to choose a few very common sizes that will handle 95% of all shipments without wasting too much packing material (it’s not like a company wants to ship air and packing material to you, it costs a ton of money to do it). Every so often you get oddly sized product, like spoons or desk calendars that are longer than your smaller boxes, but don’t take up much cubic space. A warehouse would be forced to ship in the bigger box because the item literally won’t fit in the next size smaller.

    Not excusing the problem, just explaining why it occurs. It is a big thorn in the side of companies that take shipping seriously. Until something is created that makes custom sized boxes to order in an economical manner is invented, you can expect to have this happen.

  27. elislider says:

    if they arent sending you your purchase in a crate- or barrel-sized package, then whats the point?

  28. DrGirlfriend says:

    I agree that it is very wasteful on C&B’s part to pack these items as if they were Faberge eggs.

    I really can’t help myself from pointing out, though, that it’s not exactly carbon-footprint friendly either to request shipping of a rubber spatula and wooden spoons. So a wag of the finger to all parties involved.

  29. hi says:

    Also maybe the person who packed it read the order wrong and missed one spoon, then instead of reopening the package placed a spoon in another box.

    who orders big wooden spoons anyways… wouldn’t you rather have a nice lead tainted spoon from China(wal)Mart.

  30. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Thats what you get for ordering chinese fighting spoons. Ours keep us up all night banging into the sides of their cabinets trying to attack each other.

  31. Chaoss says:

    Seriously, cut ’em some slack. It’s not indicative of the company as a whole, I assure you. More likely the result of the dregs of society these places hire around holiday time to bodies in place to fill order. Not that that makes it any better, I’m just sayin’…

  32. Propaniac says:

    While it’s possible they may have been shipped separately, the company should certainly have boxes smaller than that for shipping something like a single spoon. (Unless they had run out of the smaller boxes as someone had suggested, but I doubt it.)

  33. Notsewfast says:


    C&B is actually not all that over-priced when compared with other aspirational/high-end stores. On the whole, I’ve found their stuff to be of very high quality while being reasonably priced as well..

  34. DeeJayQueue says:

    Xerox is terrible about this sort of thing. Apparently they only have 1 size box for shipping, and it’s for the biggest part they have. So when the tech orders a new cleaning web (comes in a triangle-shaped box about the size of a drafting ruler) it arrives in a 18x24x30 box. Good thing that most of the parts are pretty robust, since they don’t even put the air bubbles in there, or peanuts or anything. Just a part in a huge box.

  35. Walter Sobchek says:

    I used to get this all the time in retail. The reason is, they have a computer program that they plug the dimensions of their products into, and it converts those to an approximation of the smallest 3-dimensional rectangular box it would fit in, and then figures out how many of those imaginary boxes will fit in one of several standard-size shipping cartons they have, by volume. If the volume of 5 imaginary item-boxes exceeds the available space + estimated volume of packing materials, you get two cartons, nevermind that those boxes don’t really exist.
    Wow, just read that, and damn is it boring. The upshot is that I used to complain to The North Face (wholesale) about this very problem, they were supposed to be so eco-friendly, but I’d get a 28x20x12 carton with one shoebox in it, and 10 of those in a 60-75 shoe order. Drove me nuts, and I demanded an explanation. That’s what I got.

  36. Freedomboy says:

    Well until the value of the packaging is made known, with a return cash value modeled on returnable bottles/cans nothing will change, as soon as that becomes the new lawful mandated norm, everything will change, duh.

    Put a refundable $$ value on the “hard to recycle” things like monitors, chips, fluids etc and a simple way to return the packaging and things will seek their own solutions.

  37. b612markt says:

    “If you are ordering wooden spoons online instead of getting them on your next trip to the store, how concerned are you with efficiency and/or use of resources, really?”

    I work 16 hours a day from home and have little time to do brick-and-mortar shopping. I don’t own a car, use public transport and keep the thermostat at 65. I did *all* my Christmas shopping online and this was on someone’s list. I agree though – ordering four utensils online seems silly.

  38. b612markt says:

    @Daemon_of_Waffle: Nope, they both came from the same warehouse in Naperville, IL (to my place in Chicago) and arrived on the same day.

  39. spinachdip says:

    @heinzs: Well, we can compare the carbon footprints of a delivery truck making multiple stops vs a single consumer driving a private automobile.

  40. psyop63b says:

    Same deal with a Kohl’s order I made. The packaging wasn’t excessive, but I ordered 4 items, and got 4 separate boxes shipped to me.

    I had to order at least $75 to get free shipping, but when they ship it like that, they sure must waste a lot of money.

  41. Crumbles says:

    So let me get this straight… the consumerist complains when Amazon doesn’t use enough packing, now they are complaining about a company using too much packaging.

  42. gniterobot says:

    For two years in HS I packed mail at C&B (bout 6 years ago).

    During the holidays we run out of boxes daily, they actually get up to 4 trucks a week with product and another 2 for just packaging. And this was a house goods store.

    The typically use biodegradable peanuts for packing, the bubble is overkill.

    That looks like a #11 box if memory serves, they were likely out of 3s and 6s, or they were two short and wood does not bend.

    • KaralynK says:

      As someone who had a summer job packing boxes, two summers in a row, this sounds most likely to me as well. The real fun to be had, of course, was in “non-conveyable” – anything too big or oddly shaped to go on the conveyor belt and/or in a standard size box.

  43. gniterobot says:

    My bad, that is biodegradable on the left. It’s giami paper, I forget the spelling.

    I think the bubble was added, they never used it before…maybe changed in 6 years.

  44. Chryss says:

    What, does the Tick work at Crate & Barrel now?


  45. LeopardSeal says:

    @ptkdude: I don’t know why, but that made me laugh.

  46. Anjow says:

    I had a similar thing from when I ordered two £1.50 microphones, each in a slim plastic package. I received them in a 2′ x 1′ x 1′ box which was totally filled with those air packets.

  47. spinachdip says:

    @Crumbles: You’re absolutely right. You can either have too little packing or waaaaay too much. There is no middle ground. You have to vote for either Kodo or Kang. There is no other choice.

  48. heinzs says:

    “I work 16 hours a day from home and have little time to do brick-and-mortar shopping. I don’t own a car, use public transport and keep the thermostat at 65. I did *all* my Christmas shopping online and this was on someone’s list. I agree though – ordering four utensils online seems silly.”

    They sell this stuff at grocery stores. Surely you don’t order delivery for every meal?

  49. jimconsumer says:

    That’s nothing. I once bought 100 sets of rack mount hardware kits (bolts & washers, basically). Could have fit every single piece of hardware in all 100 kits in a single coffee can.

    They sent me a fracking pallet via a freight shipper. I wish I were joking. The pallet had 100 medium sized boxes strapped to it, each a little larger than a phone book. Each of those had some bubble wrap and a smaller box, about the size of a box of pens, in it. In the smaller boxes contained a couple dozen little bolts and such.

    They did it again a year later when I ordered a bunch more.

  50. eliteeggnog says:

    My spoon is too big!

  51. UpsetPanda says:

    @heinzs: That’s not the point. These weren’t for her, she ordered them as a gift for a friend. What are you going to do, be a jerk and tell your friend, “Sorry, I know what you wanted, but I was cheap and couldn’t inconvenience myself to click a few times on Crate & Barrel so I got you these grocery store versions instead.” Someone wanted the C&B ones.

  52. andrewe says:

    The real question here is why are you mail-ordering wooden spoons? They’re 19 for a dollar down at the Buckaroo Store.

  53. uricmu says:

    I had once received a single SD card from NewEgg packed in a 12x”24 box and full of packing stuff (for an SD card in its plastic shell).

  54. z4ce says:

    Heh, that’s nothing. Try ordering licenses from HP. Once a year as partners we’d get the chance to order permanent licenses for lab environments. So naturally, we’d order all of the products (never know which one you’re going to need in a year). Every single license (sheet of paper with a number) comes in about a 12x8x3in box. They then stuff these in a much bigger box (probably like 3ft^3). And there are about 16 of those boxes. All for what could have been transmitted in about a 5 page email.

  55. spryte says:

    A couple of years ago I got a gift card to C&B, but there wasn’t one near where I lived, so I ordered online – a vase and a set of glass mixing bowls. First shipment arrives and the mixing bowls were all majorly chipped along their rims, and the vase – which was inside its own box in the package – was cracked all the way down one side. Even with the fifteen tons of egg-crate packing material and shredded paper, the items were damaged because the idiot in the warehouse packed them along the sides of the box, with packing material shoved in the middle. So I call, they send out replacements…and the bowls are chipped even worse than the first time (the vase was okay the second time) because, again, they were jammed up against the side of the box.

    IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. I worked in the shipping department for a merchandising company for five years, it only takes a little common sense to package things properly…although, after reading some of the stories on Consumerist, I have to conclude that common sense isn’t all that common anymore… :)

  56. Major-General says:

    @num1skeptic: Amazon or Pacific Northwest?

    @uricmu: Wow. I thought Newegg packed well. Of course, if you have a problem entering your credit card number, that’s a whole different story.

    @stevemis: Where every 13th spatula is free!

  57. xl22k says:

    You guys complain about this…but have any of you worked in retail and seen how much crap the manufacturers waste shipping these items to the stores?

  58. xl22k says:

    (Not saying that this isn’t bad and unnecessary, but it’s not that HUGE a deal)

  59. yetiwisdom says:

    most of the stuff I get from AMZN is way overpackaged like this.

  60. theblackdog says:

    @m4ximusprim3: BWAHAHAHAHAH, you win!

    To the OP, send the picture to Consumer Reports, they love to report about this on the back page of their magazine, calling it the “Golden Coccoon Award”

  61. DJ-Pandemic says:

    You all need to realize one thing

    Standardized box sizes are king when it comes to shipping things, not necessarily weight. Postage for a non-standard size box that can not be handled by the post using their automated equipment can easily cost TWICE as much than it would for a smaller box that would have to be processed by hand.

  62. sibertater says:

    How about this: It came from 2 different areas of the warehouse. Right now people are shipping things like mad, they’re trying to get things out the door at the last minute as fast as they can so that you might have it in time for Christmas…just in case.

    They are also probably running low on kitchen gadgets boxes, so they grabbed the next best thing instead of back ordering your merchandise while they wait on more eco-friendly packaging.

    Also? Why order something in the mail that you can pick up at ANY grocery store, Target or, God forbid, Wal-Mart? After that why don’t you bitch about receiving your purchases?

    I will continue to assume whomever complained about this is a stay-at-home harpie with nothing better to do.

    That’s all.

  63. molife says:

    This is SOOOOOOOOOOO NOT a mystery or case of killing the trees!

    You’ve never worked in a warehouse obviously. I did as a kid.

    They ran out of small boxes! Simple as that. Big mystery! LMAO!

    And they probably didn’t have all the spoons at one time in one place. Either at one warehouse – where they got boxed at separate times on the same day. Or two different locations. Probably the same warehouse.

    Here’s how the big mystery goes down – warehouse kid gets the order, can’t find all the product so he goes to box what they do have but can only find that size box, later that day the order gets resubmitted and the same or another warehouse kid goes looking for the merchandise, he finds whats left to fullfil the order (as another group of kids are constantly unloading and restocking the warehouse shelves), but they’re still out of small boxes, so he packs that one into the same size box.


    You got your order. It probably cost them more as the box size you paid for was smaller than what they got charged for sending.

    SHEESH! Find a hobby! LOL!

  64. grant0 says:

    Obviously, his SPOOOOOOON was TOOOOO BIIIIIIG.

  65. CookieJ says:

    Stores often have different warehouses and if a part is out of stock at one, it will ship from another. There is often an option when ordering to wait until everything is in stock before shipping that can be checked.