Dell Sends You An 8 lb Shelf In A Truly Gigantic Box

Ok, at this point, we’re starting to suspect that Dell wants to be on our blog. Why else would they hire a freight truck to deliver a gigantic box on a pallet that contained an 8 lb shelf?

Reader Nyck1118 says:

Just received this today. I giant box…on a pallet sent via a freight truck (not UPS or Fedex) a freight truck.

Contained inside: One 8 lb server rack shelf.

We asked Nyck if he was serious. Just a shelf? On a pallet?

That’s all that was in it. We were amazed, one of our techs actually fit in the box himself and hes a large guy.


Edit Your Comment

  1. timx says:

    algore be damned!

  2. flyairdave says:

    Because Dell sucks?

  3. theblackdog says:

    Does dell contract out their shipping to another company? If so I suspect said company is grossly overcharging them, and this would be proof.

  4. Snakeophelia says:

    Something tells me that last year, these retailers misjudged the future economy when ordering boxes. “Sure, people will be ordering TONS of stuff from us in 2008! They’ll need to fill up those huge houses they’ve bought! Let’s triple the order of super-large boxes and reduce the order of smaller ones!”

    Admit it – that WOULD explain this phenomenon….

  5. Tiber says:

    Whenever someone comments that these posts are pointless, and that it’s just a little wasted space due to pre-made boxes, I think I’ll point them to this post. There’s wasted space, and then there’s this.

    This just isn’t a waste of cardboard; they could have Fedex-ed it, and saved the freight truck a good bit of gas.

  6. nicemarmot617 says:

    It’s funny to me that no one seems to notice the connection between all of these, what’s really causing the problem. It’s the frickin’ people working in shipping. If you pay people minimum wage, they are not going to work very hard. They will not care about saving you waste. They will only care about putting in their hours and going home. Ginormous boxes filled with tiny objects are the result. Hell, if I worked filling boxes for Dell for $7 an hour, I might do stuff like this just for shits and giggles. Gotta be a boring job.

  7. ZekeSulastin says:

    @Tiber: Because certainly it is possible to use a single extreme example to justify the existence of an entire line of mostly-useless posts?

    Someone shipping a DVD or widget in a somewhat oversize box? Not news, unlike what the bloggers here seem to believe. The idea of the oversize packaging exposition would be much less reviled if the examples chosen actually were bad, like this one.

  8. MexiFinn says:

    I guess everything is bigger in Texas…

  9. madfrog says:

    I think that they pack their boxes in India, and then send them here. Makes sense since their award winning, all knowing trouble free tech/customer support is from India!!!

  10. Farquar says:

    There is another pallet in the background. Was this one part of a larger shipment from dell?

  11. JohnMc says:

    Awwwww come on!! This is a variation of why the Mexican boy crossed the border every day by bike with a load of vegetables. Dell didn’t care about the 8# flat pack. They wanted to get rid of the pallet!!

  12. relax_guy says:

    I work for a major shipping company and that box. WOW most likley it cost 2x the amount (or more) than the shelf.

  13. gibbergabber says:

    The box looks pretty surdy. Paint it and use it as astorage trunk. No more waste.

  14. HFC says:

    See those indentation lines around the inside of the box? That’s so they can fold it down to make the box smaller. If they had done that, it wouldn’t be so bad. It certainly didn’t need to be on a pallet. Did the truck driver use a pallet jack to bring it out or just hand the box over?

  15. Can Consumerist try to contact the major shippers(Dell, Amazon, NewEgg, etc.. and find out how their shipping is decided? I know Amazon packs according to a code that is on the invoice picked by the computer, so that’s how the person in shipping knows what box to use. Do the other comapnies do something similar? Are they bound by their contracts with UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc… to have a minimum size that they are allowed to ship in the form of boxes to get their rate? Do they only have a certain number of box sizes to choose from, so that yes, sometimes a box is huge, but 99% of the time, it’s packed efficiently. Maybe once all this info is out in the open, we can then PROPERLY call out the companies for violating their own Rules&Policies.

  16. @HFC: The pallet wrap looks like it goes down to the pallet, so he would have used a pallet jack. Otherwise you would have needed two people to carry the pallet, and who wants to touch them after all they’ve scraped over. Ewwww. Also, by the looks of it, the top was cut off of the box, and I suspect that that is it behind them on the floor in front of another pallet. I think they folded it down, but didn’t cut the box so they could fold it smaller. That is a little understandable, depending on who is in the shipping dept, as you might not want them handling box cutters.

  17. hank18 says:

    I used to work in a warehouse and I dealt with certain companies that would require us to ship out, for example, 1 small 12″ by 6″ box on a pallet through a freight company. Every week. I’d have trouble getting the pallet onto a pallet jack because there wasn’t enough weight for it to slide through the pallet. I’d normally just drag it onto the truck, driver shaking his head.

  18. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    If they keep shipping things in big boxes and that creates more posts here, any other bad Dell posts get buried by these shipping posts, and the company doesn’t seem that bad.

    /just a theory

  19. orielbean says:

    Some of the larger boxes would be useful to prevent fragile items from being crushed, but there’s obviously a different issue here – highlighted above: low wages for shipping companies and no incentives for management to reduce shipping costs.

  20. dogcow says:

    Dell sells shelves?

  21. shufflemoomin says:

    Good to know that they immediately got on top of things and found out if a man could fit in there. I’m sure that’s what we were all wondering…

  22. deapinside says:

    How come nobody understands that they probably had an empty slot in freight truck that cost them nothing as opposed to shipping it any different way for additional cost?

  23. The_Gas_Man says:

    I wish Dell would send me these boxes. I’m actually kind of jealous.

  24. RChris173 says:

    They need to hire industrial engineers that actually know what they are doing. The logistics here is insane.

  25. mzhartz says:

    Dell just has the kids in mind. You get your shelf, and your kids get a new cardboard fort!

  26. @Git Em SteveDave displays attention-grabbing vanity: Consumerist policy is not to do any independent reporting or verifying of anecdotes.

    I agree with JohnMc, they just wanted to get rid of a pallet and a big box.

  27. se7a7n7 says:

    If you notice the horizontal lines on the inside of the box, those are made to customize the size of the box. You just cut the corners at the point you want and fold over the sides. They couldn’t even do that!!!

    I run an eBay consignment store and ship about 40 packages a week by myself. All my packages go out tailored to the correct size, if I can make them smaller.

    If you do a lot of shipping, invest in a “box sizer”. It makes the boxes smaller so you can use less packing material, weight and spend less on shipping.

    If I worked for one of these companies, I could save them a hell of a lot of money on shipping just using common sense…

  28. jrubow says:

    There could be a few reasons why it was shipped in a large box. A few of the reason could be:
    1. Dell might not actually do their own shipping but use a freight forwarder. Some companies actually use 3rd party companies to ship their product as a way to save money in that they don’t have to pay a lot of employees to ship. This is unlikely in that my company actually did some consulting with them in their shipping department.
    2. They are trying to rip their consumers off by shipping product in larger boxes thereby being able to charge you more in shipping. Its a way for them to make more money off of you since they don’t pay street rates for shipping but have much lower negotiated rates.
    3. Like someone else mentioned they probably don’t pay their shipping employees all that much. So they probably don’t really care that they ship something in a container that is a bit extreme. It might be their way to stick it to the company.

  29. jswilson64 says:

    @theblackdog: Overcharging would be when they charge Dell to ship a shelf-on-a-pallet, then ship the shelf UPS. This is just inefficient as all get-out.

  30. tkozikow says:

    I don’t understand the need to overpack the shelf in the first place. Why didn’t Dell simply slap a shipping label on the box containing the shelf? I can see the need if it is a bag of small parts or a manual, but this really doesn’t make any sense to me.

  31. trixrabbit says:

    there’s another pallet in the background… perhaps they got multiple skids in same the shipment (and it didn’t come alone).

  32. seamer says:

    Its probably more related to the dimensions rather than the weight of the shelf.

  33. MrEvil says:

    I have a collection of similar photos of what the short-bus riders with Decision One do with Dell printer parts. They’ll send me parts to repair a printer, in a box big enough to hold the whole printer…with packing materials.

  34. TVarmy says:

    It’s a postmodern answer to Ikea. We fill our lives with furniture, and yet the furniture itself is mostly a void :(

  35. Two words, dimensional weight. If a box is really large, it will get billed a lot more. An 8 pound package will get billed the equivalent of a much heavier package. Some companies get huge discounts on shipping due to their volume. It was probably just as cost effective to ship freight versus FedEx or UPS (it’s kinda hard to judge the size of the box the shelf is in). A yardstick in pic or another overhead shot would of been nice…

  36. blankhorizons says:

    @dogcow: Rack servers are made in various sizes from 1U to 4U usually (U meaning rack unit), and a full rack is 42U, and they have very specific measurements and mountings associated with them, so it’s not like dell is shipping a piece of furniture :)

  37. I actually run a business that ships UPS and LTL (less than truck load, also known as motor freight).

    Our shipping volume is no where near the volume of a company like Dell, but I understand the issues.

    UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL use dimensional weight in addition to shipping weight to compute shipping costs. A box that is less than 3 cubic feet in volume will be generally billed actual weight. Shippers have NO incentive from the shipping companies to use small boxes, or use several different sized boxes for relatively small in volume products. Above 3 cubic feet in volume the shipping companies compute a dimensional surcharge for light weight products that require a larger box.

    For companies like Dell, the best, most effecient warehouse operations will have the fewest possible boxes as having multiple boxes consumes warehouse storage space, increases employee tasks and impacts the company’s concentrated purchasing of boxes. In the typical shipping operation the vendor may only use 3 or 4 boxes.

    Which comes back to the shelf. Even a metal, difficult to damge product must be double boxed.

    Packing Box #1 (3 cubic ft) can not be used because the box is not long enough. Box #2 (4 cubic ft) can not be used because the box is not wide enough. Box #3 (6 cubic ft) can not be used because the box is neither long enough nor wide enough. Box #4 (8 cubic ft) is large enough, but the box would require 7 cubic feet of peanut fill (about $10 in peanuts) and would be billed at UPS OS/3 classification at the 90 lb rate. 90 lbs shipped UPS Zone 5 is about $40 (after fuel surcharge) standard retail prices.

    That product is typically purchased in BULK. Not a single shelf, but usually hundreds of shelves. So Dell determines the shelf will be routinely shipped LTL and plans there shipping department accordingly.

    Absolute minimum charge for LTL shipments for a company like Dell is about $70. $70 is not much more than the cost of shipping via UPS, and the packaging of the product is a lot easier AND the product is routinely shipped in bulk thus justifying the standard LTL shipment.

    It may be hard for a consumer to understand these issues, but the simple fact is companies are not trying to waste money.

    I spend a good portion of my business day just planning shipping logistics. Number of employee handling units per hour verus packing peanuts versus shipping costs is a common equation. IF I could reduce box sizes & peanut usage without harming employee efficiency I would do it in a heart beat. I am quite sure Dell would do so as well.

  38. mzhartz says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Makes sense. But that’s obviously a size-able box, which makes it easy to reduce in size and would save on packaging materials. Why not at least size that box smaller? What’s the point of buying the adjustable boxes if they’re not being taken advantage of?

  39. @mzhartz:

    Yep it sure is. It also takes a couple minutes to cut the box down…. and the shipping costs for a short distance (under 500 miles) would be the minimum charge, thus the freight charges would neither increase nor decrease if the box is cut or not. The cost of the cut down box is not significantly different than a standard box.

    Bottom line, should the employee have cut down the box? Sure. Is there cause to whine if the employee did not, nope.

  40. vladthepaler says:

    Great. So take apart the pallet, turn it into a shelf, and return the shelf Dell sent you for a refund.

  41. Phil says:

    @dogcow: THANK YOU. That was my first question!

  42. mrearly2 says:

    To hell with Dell! I’ll get my shelf from The Home Despot.

  43. SuperJdynamite says:

    “on a pallet sent via a freight truck (not UPS or Fedex) a freight truck.”

    We get a large portion of our stuff delivered from Dell via a freight truck. Said freight company has delivered unto us some of the most compacted and destroyed packages I’ve ever seen.

  44. Meathamper says:

    Maybe the freight truck company had some sort of “use our services, waste our gas” deal?