Revealed: Apple's Secret Membership In The Stupid Shipping Gang

Apple may have Al Gore on its board of directors, but that won’t stop them from shipping teeny tiny remote controls in cartoonishly large boxes.

Last year, the Loraxes at Greenpeace accused Apple of hating trees and raping the environment. In response, Apple announced that it was transitioning to L.E.D. screens, and that they would shrink their retail packaging. Clearly, it was all for show. Welcome, Apple, to the stupid shipping gang!


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  1. people actually buy those remotes?

    discounteggroll gmail if you want 1 (or more) packaged greenly at a reasonable price…

  2. says:

    this is just dumb

  3. krispykrink says:

    Yeah, when they sent me my anti-glare film for my iPhone it shipped in a huge box. Completly uneeded since it cold have been sent in one of those small cardboard envelopes. He’ll, the product is small enough to fit in a standard #10 envelope.

  4. ClayS says:

    Al Gore lives in a very large box himself and his home’s energy comsumption is astronomical.

  5. madanthony says:

    I’m pretty sure that most stuff ordered from Apple – at least accessories – drop-ships from Ingram Micro, a 3rd party distributor/logistics company. This looks like standard ingram micro packaging, and Apple probably has limited control over it.

    Also, keep in mind that UPS and other shipping companies are very strict about packing rules, and won’t honor claims if they don’t meet those rules, so companies would rather overpackage than have claims denied for stuff damaged in shipping.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Yeah, sure. But that wad of shipping recycled hemp paper is arranged so symmetrically! It totally accentuates the remoteness of that remote control.

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    @ClayS: So you bothered to get up out of your crustladen bed to write that? Take another nap, troll.

  8. sisedi says:

    @madanthony: Can you guys believe it? A logical and thoughtful response to the accusations against company shipping policies from someone in the know. Thank you madanthony for clearing up this company hate mongering for large packaging. And here I thought companies loved spending more money on bigger boxes to satisfy us, the consumers and our hunger for super mega large things.

    I personally love big packaging, means I can reuse it for ebay shipments.

    @ClayS: Hey Al Gore’s my dad and you better not make fun of him, got any pills?

  9. Concerned_Citizen says:

    If they made boxes to fit each item, he items would be hard to stack during shipping. This would mean less items could be shipped, more gas will be wasted per item, and costs all around will go up. So stop complaining about companies using standard size boxes.

  10. zentex says:

    @sisedi: Who says madanthony is right? Just because something seems logical, don’t mean it’s right.

    One might also say that companies standardize on X number of boxes and small stuff just gets ‘over packed’ as a result. You could also theorize that companies will only pack so much weight in a box and/or so many items in a box. Perhaps it’s lazy packers who just grab whatever is in front of them.

    Until we get an official response from a logistical manager, we’ll never know.

  11. badgeman46 says:

    There is actually a reason this happens in Mail order and warehouse environments. The people who pack orders are usually paid in piecework, or a rate based on the average of how many orders they can pack in an hour. So if its quicker to grab an enormous box, throw the item inside and stuff it with paper, that is what they will do.

  12. badgeman46 says:

    @zentex: See my post above. I used to be a supervisor of shipping for a mail order catalog. It will all become clear.

  13. agb2000 says:

    @Carey: Not that packing stuff like this is good, but the retail packaging (not the shipping material) on that Apple Remote looks pretty darn small to me. It’s not “clear” that it was “all for show.” And even if it was big, you’d still be making sweeping generalizations from one specific example.

    @madanthony: Companies may outsource their distribution (or repairs or advertising or trash pickup or whatever) but they still share responsibility for the actions of the companies they choose to outsource to.

  14. Nihon no Purin says:

    you know, in my mind the point of the consumerist is to:

    1. improve the consumer’s experience by providing information that previously might not have been easily accessible
    2. provide the consumer with a larger voice and more leverage against large corporations.

    with that said, blind and sarcastic accusations such as this post only serve to incite further blind accusations, resulting in highly inefficient (and imbecilic) “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE” (ever watch south park?)

  15. kspray-dad says:

    @Trai_Dep: You don’t like it when people tell you the truth about Al Gore? Crush much?

  16. landsnark says:

    @ClayS: You mean Al Gore’s house that he spent a small fortune to retrofit so that it is powered entirely by green power and has a zero carbon footprint? Is that the box you mean?

  17. krispykrink says:

    @madanthony: Actually, everything I order from Apple–iMac, Macbook, iPods, iPhone–all ship directly from Apple from their Elk Grove, CA facility and arrive overnight via FedEx, whom I work for.

    You are correct however in regards to how an item must be packaged for insurance validity. iPods and accessories, like the remote in this story, must be sent in a box with enough extra room for packaging filler. But for an iPhone screen film that I ordered, that’s flat and can’t “break” it could have been shipped in a standard flat shipping envelope to save space on the truck, thus allowing more items to be loaded saving on fuel.

    But, we have to keep in mind that company’s can’t stock all various sizes of boxes to do their shipping. There’s no way a company can justify the cost and storage space to hold every size box for every kind or order combination. They usually try to stick with a standard small, medium, large set.

  18. Me - now with more humidity says:

    @ClayS: His home is fully solar-powered. Find some new talking points, asshat.

  19. albo23 says:

    Wow, you’re an idiot.

  20. mxjohnson says:

    @Me: His home is not “fully solar-powered.” He did renovate his home to make it more efficient, but since then, he’s actually using more electricity, not less.

    Now, the Gore camp says that their electricity use is up, but their gas use is way down. And of course, they buy electricity made from renewable resources — solar power, wind, etc.


  21. Have any of you people who send in your complaints about their packaging actually written to them to ask why they do this, rather than continually just sending in your photos of huge shipping packages?

  22. Ramrod says:

    When I read it, I took ClayS comment as a joke, not a subject altering political stand. As for the box, it obviously was chosen to accommodate the shipping invoice.

  23. ludwigk says:

    Step 1. Find a company that sells a fair amount of stuff.
    Step 2. Order one item from them that is physically the smallest item they sell.
    Step 3. Whinge when the box is too big.

    C’mon guys. Everybody can’t carry every sized box everywhere. That is clearly less efficient. Standardizing box sizes to certain ones can save time, energy, materials, etc. It’s not that this box is unusually large, its that This particular order was unusually small. Buy more stuff next time. Problem solved.

  24. redwall_hp says:

    Man, I wish you could vote comments up here, like on Reddit or Digg. You have a good point.

  25. Televiper says:

    @ludwigk: Yah, but Apple specializes in small things such as iPods. They ought to have a smaller shipping box than that. Though, I must say the worst for packaging will always be the semiconductor companies. You get a box half that size, but for something the size of a AA battery.

  26. B says:

    You forgot some steps
    4: ?
    5: Profit!

  27. packetsniffer says:

    None of this is harming the consumer, so it’s ironic these articles are being repeatedly posted here on a site called Consumerist.

    Companies like this aren’t run by blithering idiots. They watch the bottom line. If they knew they could save money by using an inordinate number of box sizes to fit every type of product, they’d do it.

    They’re actually saving money by doing it this way whether you guys think it’s causing global warming or not.

    If you really feel that guilty about the environment, then you need to either A) find a way to order more products at a time (just like you do when make one big trip into town to save on gas), or B) beg the company to allow you to pay more to get your product shipped in a smaller box.

  28. packetsniffer says:

    None of this is harming the consumer, so it’s ironic these articles are being repeatedly posted here on a site called Consumerist.

    Companies like this aren’t run by blithering idiots. They watch the bottom line. If they knew they could save money by using an inordinate number of box sizes to fit every type of product, they’d do it.

    They’re actually saving money by doing it this way whether you guys think it’s causing global warming, killing off the trees, wasting money, etc., or not. And they’re passing the savings on to you.

    If you really feel that guilty about the environment, then you need to either A) find a way to order more products at a time (just like you do when make one big trip into town to save on gas), or B) beg the company to allow you to pay more to get your product shipped in a smaller box.

  29. packetsniffer says:

    Sorry for the double post; comment system lagged up again.

  30. bilge says:

    You’d probably help the environment more by not purchasing “necessities” like an Apple Remote.

  31. battra92 says:

    Heh, I’m finding it funny that people all jump on ClayS for pointing out hypocracy.

    Seriously, I wonder why people get so upset. I’d rather not have a broken item. Besides, 99.9% of packing supplies can be reused/recycled so what’s the big deal?

    @packetsniffer: So true. This isn’t hurting anyone.

    I used to ship silverware for a living and we had like 3 different box sizes that we would use and to cut down a box for smaller shipping would take a lot of time and tape.

    Seriously, just reuse/recycle the supplies.

  32. BrokenGlassHurts says:

    “they would shrink their retail packaging.”

    What’s really scary is you have a guy working for a site called The Consumerist who doesn’t know the difference between RETAIL PACKAGING and a SHIPPING BOX. Amazing. Maybe time to find a new line of work?

  33. LUV2CattleCall says:


    Dumbass… first of all, Gore paid a significant amount more than the usual power customer because he requested “Green” energy from his power company – from windmills and such

    Second of all, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research is a BS organization



  34. differcult says:

    I hate these post. Obviously no one has ever had to deal with a UPS insurance claim. Or had to deal with logistics.
    First Point.
    In order to get paid on a shipping claim, there must be 2″ on all sides of a product to be insured. Making the box a minimum of 4X4X4 The shuffle looks to be about 1X2X4 making the net box size, 3X6X8….omg it is. (well more like 4X6X8)

    Second point.
    In order for Apple to get discounted shipping rates they have a signed contract with UPS/FEDEX/WHOEVER that says how they have to package items and how they need to be processed, I bet you that all items leaving their warehouse have to be on pallets. To save pallets and labor there is this thing known as pallet configuration, which maximizes the OVERALL use of a pallet and my guess is Apple has hundreds of these pallets with these size boxes on it go out every week.

  35. differcult says:

    @zentex: Read UPS’s website and their shipping Rules!

  36. houston2882 says:

    when we eventually find out how much money Al Gore and his cronies have invested in companies that benefit from selling “global warming” equipment we will all know why they are promoting this farce on the American people.

  37. battra92 says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: Dude, you realize that Media Matters is a left-wing group. So you can’t discredit a source as partisan with a partisan source. Pot meet Kettle.

    @differcult: Sorry bro, facts and logic don’t make sense to people who want to complain about non-issues.

    Personally I hate small boxes. They get lost in the mail.

  38. spryte says:

    @houston2882: Oh lord. Please go away.

  39. theRIAA says:


    just what I was thinking. imagine 1000s of these size boxes stacked on a crate ready to ship, now where do you put a couple small boxes? Maybe is it was all organized by a computer robot it would save time and space, but it’s just some guy with gloves on stacking boxes neatly.

  40. Everything small that I’ve ever gotten from Apple (iPods, airport Express, software) have come in fairly small boxes and I wish they didn’t. The little boxes I get are good for nothing and I have to put them in the recycling bin.

    I wish I would get ALL product shipments in a decent size box because at least then I can reuse it or put things in it for storage.

    I also think Apple might be shipping things in larger boxes because small boxes from Apple just might disappear in transit. One item I ordered from them got “lost” in transit and they had to re-ship it. I’d imagine it would be pretty tough for a UPS or Fed Ex warehouse worker to walk out with a big old box under their arm.

  41. Meathamper says:

    Well, on the bright side you can now use those huge boxes to suffocate little toddlers.

  42. Televiper says:

    @BrokenGlassHurts: Well, at least he didn’t break with the usual Consumerist standards and actually do some research.

  43. That box is the largest box that is allowed to ship at the weight of the goods per UPS/FedEx oversized standards. That means that box can be used for a wide variety of products. Very wide variety. And it doesn’t cost the shipper any thing extra to ship light weight goods in the box.

    The vendor could use multiple size boxes to accomplish what the one box is able to accomplish. It would make the tree huggers happy. It would also increase the operating costs of the shipping center that processes all of the packages. Increased costs will be passed onto the consumer. I, for one, do not want to pay more for my goods just so you can feel good about your tree hugging efforts.

  44. differcult says:

    @michaelleung: because the death toll from death by box is so high.

  45. QabilAulus says:

    has anyone ever ordered boxes… hell i would hate to waste money
    ordering a box for each sized product apple has to ship… would eat
    into the value of my stock…

  46. says:

    @sisedi: logical answer? just because a 3rd party does it doesn’t make it acceptable. This packaging job was probably done on a friday. It could have been mailed in a padded envelope.

  47. is there any sort of surprise here, or is the pic the surprise. I see this everytime I order anything(pretty much)

  48. GJCATL says:

    I know that no-one probably wants to accept this answer, but in my business, this is the way that it goes – quite often, shipping contracts are negotiated based on the shipper using certain standardized box sixes and shapes. This system allows for standardized pricing, making the shipping less expensive for the shipper. We’ll ship a pack of brochures in a box that could fit 20 packs. I’m sure that many other companies are in the same situation, as dictated by the shipping carriers. Regardless of how counter-intuitive this may seen, its just the way that it is. Of course, companies could design 200 different sizes of boxes just to avoid posts like this, but I imagine that the shipping and handling costs would skyrocket…which would we rather have?

  49. BAF says:

    @Televiper: Have you ever ordered an iPod? It comes in a form fit special box, at least the iPod Classics do. Not a box that would work for the remote. And in all reality, how often does a customer buy just a remote like that? I bet it’s more wasteful to store little boxes for this rare case than it is just to throw it in a big box and be done with it.

  50. yevarechecha says:

    I bought an iPod nano from Amazon the other day and it arrived in a huge box. I opened it to find that the Nano, including headphones and instruction manual, fit into a little tiny plastic container the size of a cassette tape. Yeah, thst’s on Amazon and not on Apple, but still!

  51. madanthony says:


    It may depend where you are. I work for a college, and order Mac stuff as well as equipment from other vendors, like provantage, that use Ingram Micro. I’ve gotten stuff from Apple (iMacs as well as accessories) with the same shipping address – which is “micro drive” in jonestown, PA, so I know it’s Ingram Micro.

    And if you order some configure-to-order items (say, a 17″ MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of RAM) it will ship directly from China.

  52. Seanross says:

    Can’t you guys see they didn’t wanna bend the receipt at the bottom of the box… sheesh >_>;

  53. Will_ND says:

    Al Gore is a hypocritical huckster so this makes perfect sense to me.

  54. phelander says:

    @Will_ND: And you’re a fucking asshole. How you like them apples, bitch.

  55. Keavy_Rain says:

    Wait…they SELL those remotes? I got one for free with my MacMini and I’d assume any other Apple product needing one would include one.

    Then again I didn’t get any sort of video output cable with my MacMini. Just a DVI->VGA adapter that kept popping off. Thankfully my monitor came with a VGA cable which held me over until my $16 DVI-D cable came in from NewEgg.

    I guess the people at Apple are like the people at Sony that give you composite cables with a PS3.

  56. phelander says:

    @Keavy_Rain: The remotes COME with the mac mini and other apple products, so you just made a strike there with your anti apple smart assitude.

    Also, if anyone’s adapter kept popping off, they must be a total retard who couldn’t connect it in the first place.

  57. zucchini says:

    having too many box sizes at the packing plant might reduce efficiency=more wasteful? its possible.

  58. LVP says:

    Hypocrisy at it’s best. []

    How much energy does even one of those monitors use? Do they have a carbon credit counter?