Amazon Makes Sure Sharpie Shipment Arrives Very, Very, Very Safely

UPS delivered a large, light, somewhat damaged box to Erick’s workplace. What was inside? Gosh, what if it was damaged when the box was dented? Better open it to make sure.

That’s quite a few air pillows. Good thing the item was well protected.


Well, great job delivering those Sharpies safely to Erick’s office, Amazon. Though someone there might want to leave packaging feedback so higher-ups at Amazon can see this comically oversized box.


Edit Your Comment

  1. baineschile says:


  2. CrazyEyed says:

    Isn’t there a whole website dedicated to silly or ridiculous packaging like this?

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to go to your nearest corner or office supplies store first?

    • MarkFL says:

      If there wasn’t a website, there will be in a few hours.

      As for going to the store, well, you know, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores is just SO uncool. Better to order online and wait a couple of days. Or if you need it today, pay for overnight shipping and it will come tomorrow.

    • scoosdad says:

      Yeah, the website is called The OP ought to go and click the link there called “packaging feedback”.

      But if you already have Amazon Prime with standard two day delivery and didn’t urgently need the Sharpies in a hurry, buying them from Amazon is still a lot cheaper than a place like Staples– not to mention using time and gas to drive there and back. I buy little stuff like this for my home office from Amazon all the time. What disturbs me is the thought that it will probably cost my city more to cart away and recycle the cardboard boxes like this (which I also get occasionally) than I saved in the first place.

      • pamelad says:

        The cost to my city, as scoosdad mentions, bothers me. I’m also concerned about the global environmental cost of package-shipping waste.

        Excluding groceries, I buy more household and office products online than in brick-and-mortar stores. I save intact packaging, including boxes and bubble wrap, for re-use when I sell on eBay. When I have appropriate packaging on hand, I always make it clear in the listing that the item will arrive in re-used packaging. Haven’t gotten a single negative comment yet for doing this.

    • George4478 says:

      I’m an Amazon prime member. Driving somewhere to buy something that I don’t need immediately is more hassle and more expensive than having Amazon delivery it in 2 days.

      I get over 100 Amazon shipments a year, most of it stuff that I could drive down to Walmart and buy.

  3. MathMan aka Random Talker says:

    I appreciate also appreciate the use of 6 photos to showcase the ridiculousness.

  4. sparc says:

    you should have seen my officemax shipment for similar sharpies. It was in a plain unpadded bag. The sharpie box was crushed and torn. Everything rolling loose around the bag.

    I’d take the amazon packing job over the officemax version.

    • shufflemoomin says:

      The pens still worked, right? What’s the problem?

      • scoosdad says:

        Then you’ve never experienced an uncapped Sharpie in a padded paper bag.

        Red ones are especially dramatic looking when it finally reaches the outside of the bag.

      • sparc says:

        The issue is that the items barely arrived intact. I’d at least rather have someone overpack like Amazon than do no packing whatsoever like Officemax.

        As a customer, I shouldn’t have to tape the packaging back together. That’s pathetic.

  5. AngryK9 says:

    Sharpies are precious. They are to writing what duct tape is to general repair. You can never be too careful when shipping Sharpies.

  6. CalicoGal says:

    hahah that’s hilarious. But I don’t think packaging feedback really does anything. I don’t think they keep track of specific shipments, I think it’s an aggregate thing.

  7. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    ONE Sharpie from Amazon??? Must be a Prime member… Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to buy it locally? Maybe the packer was trying to tell you something.

  8. nybiker says:

    I wasn’t even thinking marker/pen, I was thinking, ok, somebody did a great job of shipping a knife or needle, or actually a box of those items.

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    Now I know how I will get my moving boxes.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      Even better, can you *order* moving boxes from Amazon? They probably pack each box into another box, then they mistakenly think that box is the original box you ordered, and you end up with a Russian nesting doll set of boxes plus all the free bubble wrap you want.

  10. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Well — they probably thought given the name “Sharpies”, it would be sharp enough to poke a hole through the box.

    So look on the bright side — apparently it’s secure enough that the “sharp-ies” did not deflate all the bubble bags.

    On a side note, I had my 15″ laptop cooling mat shipped this way too. When I picked up the package from our rental office I was expecting a small, somewhat flat box — I was surprised to have a 24 x 18 x 24 box waiting for me.

    • LEDZEPPELIN24 says:

      Laptop protection is always needed.

    • Cacao says:

      That’s just plain smart. People would steal a box that looks like it contains a laptop, right?

      Same with my last shipment of checks from the bank. They don’t come in a “box of checks” anymore. The box was included all right, but flattened, with instructions on how to fold it back into a box. Take that, thieves!

  11. Starfury says:

    Just wondering…why would you mail order a dozen Sharpie pens instead of just going to your local office supply store or other place that sells them?

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Sometimes you get cheaper prices online. Or maybe subscribe-and-save.

      Or just a plain slacker. I’ve ordered stuff like these online because I was too lazy to go to a store. :P

      • MMD says:

        I’ve ordered a bunch of small random items at once in order to spend enough to get free shipping. Sometimes that one order results in multiple packages if items are housed at different warehouses.

        • elangomatt says:

          What freaks me out more (especially since I am Prime) is that sometimes I’ll order something one day and another thing the next day and Amazon will magically combine both orders into one box if they are both coming from the same warehouse. I even get two different packing slips. This usually only happens if the first order was Subscribe & Save though since they sometimes take a couple days to ship those orders.

          • scoosdad says:

            What’s much worse is when you order say four of something and they send two from two different warehouses. Then if you need to return the order, it sort of throws them because they have to figure out where you’re supposed to send all of them back to. That happened to me recently. It took a day for them to finally send me the return shipping labels while they decided how to handle it.

            Then on my credit card, even though it was originally charged only once, I ended up with four separate credits– two for the two sets of merchandise returned, and then eventually two more credits for the return shipping fees which they processed twice on the basis of two outgoing shipments (credited back because I’m an Amazon Prime member and returns are free).

            Sometimes Amazon isn’t as bright as they appear to be overall.

    • George4478 says:

      I don’t need the markers immediately. So:

      a) 15 minutes to place order on Amazon prime.

      b) Hour+ to drive to Walmart to see it they have them in stock and buy them.

      Option A is more efficient, less hassle, less expensive for me.

  12. Roy Hobbs says:

    He might have purchased from Amazon, but it looks like the order was filled by a third party – that box looks different than Amazon’s packaging, including the lack of Amazon packing tape.

    • elangomatt says:

      I’m betting that the other sides of the box probably have the Amazon logo on them. Amazon doesn’t use the Amazon branded packing tape in all of their warehouses. I just got a package from them shipped from a warehouse in Nevada and it was the first time I’d seen the Amazon packing tape, but the box was not marked with the Amazon logo like I am used to from all of the more local (to Illinois) boxes.

  13. Torchwood says:

    I have a funny feeling that other items were ordered as well, and the best box size to use was a large box. However, because it was shipped from a different location, we get lots of bags of air.

  14. springboks says:

    Seriously Erick ordering 12 Sharpie pens online, support your Staples store for small one time purchases.

    • Hartwig says:

      If you have free shipping whats the point of wasting gas to go to staples for a likely higher price?

      • MarkFL says:

        1. This makes sense — if you never leave your home. If you drive to work or the grocery store, you won’t really waste any gas making a stop on the way home at an office supply store — or if it’s something as ubiquitous as Sharpies, you could stop at a Target, drug store or supermarket.

        2. The UPS truck uses gas making the delivery (assuming they weren’t already making a delivery at the same address. Plus, even if the Sharpies were in a reasonably sized box, there is cardboard and plastic that aren’t used when you buy in person.

        • ProfOrganizer says:

          As for #1 You assume that such places are in everyone’s normal driving path and that everyone lives in the suburbs or a city. I’m a professional organizer, and I have MANY clients for whom a drive to Staples or Target is up to 40 miles outside of the course of their typical jaunts in the course of a week — I often get calls the day before a session, asking me if I’ll stop at an office supply store or other location to acquire something we’ll need for a project. These are busy people for whom a 60-90 minute round trip would be very inconvenient; if they’re frequent Amazon shoppers, they likely have Amazon Prime and it saves them a great deal of time and money over the course of the year.

          As for #2, are you assuming Hartwig was making an environmental argument? I took it like “Hey, why would I spend my money on gas so I can spent more money on a product I could get less expensively and with less effort?”

          • MarkFL says:

            The majority of people do go out occasionally. It might make sense for your clients, but they are in the minority, and there are a lot of people out there who seem to make a point of doing things online simply because the option is available.

            Same applies to texting. I had a co-worker who was trying to text another person to call so we could find out if he could work later that day. She was fumbling with the pad, and finally said, “I’m really horrible at texting.” I answered, “So why don’t you just dial the number and call him?”

            She answered, “What if he doesn’t answer?” To which I answered, “That’s what voice mail is for.” (The guy we were calling only had a cellphone, so he definitely had voice mail.)

    • I look at both sides of the story says:

      “support your Staples store for small one time purchases.”

      Seriously? Drive a bunch of miles to support your local mom-and-pop Staples store?

      • jeepguy57 says:

        LOL – you beat me to it. Dont’t support the large corporation Amazon. Support the other large corporation, Staples!

        I buy small stuff all the time from Amazon. Their app is great – I can scan a bar code and it’s here in two days with Prime. No wasted gas, no hassle. Total convenience and I am helping to keep a UPS driver employed.

    • MMD says:

      Yes! Mr. and Mrs. Staples have been asking about you because they haven’t seen you in a while!!

    • LEDZEPPELIN24 says:

      When did Staples become a small business the government bugged you about going to to save the economy that the people in the government wasted on swimming pools and private bowling alleys. And ninjas. (The government *ALWAYS* needs ninjas!)

  15. Hartwig says:

    Reminds me of the package which came for my dogs leash, was about that size with a lot of packing bubbles. I wish i would have taken a picture.

  16. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    I’m disappointed to see the table in the last photo – I had thought this box was sitting on a kitchen floor with 12-inch tiles.

    • Sham says:

      Looking at the second photo (upper right corner), it appears the floor has the same pattern. While they aren’t 12-inch tiles, the floor still has the same pattern as the table.

      • elangomatt says:

        Ah, but if you look at the last picture it would appear that the floor in the next room over has the same pattern as the table top, but not where the table is actually sitting. Also in the last picture you can see the floor directly below the table and it appears to be carpeting under the table (and a cat carrier?).

  17. topgun says:

    Oddly enough, Amazon emailed me a survey just this morning asking about the size of the carton they used for shipping a recent purchase. Too Small?, Too Big?, Just Right?

  18. tennesseemom says:

    I worked as a packer for Amazon, and the computer tells you what box to use. You have to use the box listed and it can get kicked back if it isn’t. And if it’s totally the wrong size (like it won’t fit) you are supposed to bring it up to the floor supervisor. Unfortunately, doing that will cut into your hourly rates, which will get your a stern talking to and written up, and 3 write ups and you are fired, so it’s just easier to shake your head and box it and send it on its way. Customers reporting weird size boxes does help. Of course the packer could have put it in the wrong box anyway to begin with.

  19. t325 says:

    I ordered an external hard drive, a pretty fragile item from Amazon that was packed with two of those air pillows. My parents ordered a soft sided cooler (y’know, one of those things that’s an oversized lunch box), something that’s even if a UPS truck drove over it and parked on top of it overnight, wouldn’t be damaged, from Amazon and it was packed with about 10 of those air pillows.

  20. Cerne says:

    Here`s an idea: if you`re truly worried about excess packaging don’t order single sharpies over the internet.

    • MMD says:

      A) It was a 12-pack.
      B) It’s entirely possible that the Sharpies were ordered along with other items but shipped separately. You don’t know the circumstances, so get off of your high horse.
      C) Drawing attention to excessive packaging may help solve the problem. Who are you helping with your unwarranted snideness?

  21. zombie_batch says:

    Yeah, the Amazon packager is the idiot here. Definitely not whoever bought the Sharpies from Amazon instead of a local store. If I were packaging a single box of markers for someone too lazy to run to the store, I’d make sure to put it in a large box too. Unfortunately too many idiots can’t imagine they are actually the idiot and that the excess packaging would be my commentary on their “smart” purchasing decision.

    • George4478 says:

      Lazy? It’s lazy to spend 15 minutes ordering something online instead for an hour or more driving to the store for a higher cost?

      You prefer the slower, more expensive, less efficient method of shopping and someone who doesn’t is ‘lazy’.

      Your decision making skills, I question them.

      • zombie_batch says:

        No, you’re right. Having something shipped across the country, riding in trucks traveling hundreds of miles, wasting precious finite fuel, just so you can save 15 minutes of your obviously super important day because you’re in charge of purchasing Sharpies, that totally makes sense and isn’t lazy in the least! Jeez, its sure asking a lot to go to the convenience store and buy some markers, or get them at the grocery store next time you’re there. Good job George, you make excellent points.

  22. RenegadePlatypus says:

    Ever see the Chinese knock-off Sharpies you see at the flea markets, in the great big $1 sections where you can get fly swatters, scotch tape, sun visors, and batteries? You get a whole 12-color rainbow pack of Sharpie look-alikes and you really can’t tell the difference visually except for some very fine print in Chinese. Well, take my word for it, don’t spend the dollar. But if you’re in the market for a fly swatter or sun visor, go for it, great value.

  23. nopirates says:

    who the hell orders a single sharpie from amazon?????

    • TD99 says:

      Who the hell thinks a box with a giant “12” printed on it only contains a single Sharpie? ;-)

  24. callenjr says:

    By ordering a single item using Amazon Prime I am helping my local economy. I live one mile from the headquarters of the second largest natural gas producer in the U.S. The UPS trucks around here use CNG instead of “wasting gas”. Therefore I am being a good local, environmentally aware citizen by not supporting the local Staples.

  25. TheOnlyBob says:

    i bet sharpies make a mess if they are broken open, so they made sure that wouldn’t happen. I mean they are permanent.

  26. Robert Coogan says:

    This whole thing sounds very fishy…who orders a sharpie online for pete’s sake?!?!?

    Meethinks Erick just wanted some attention…

    Gratz, Erick!

  27. HungryHippo says:

    I got a keyboard wristpad delivered from Amazon last week with the exact same packaging and box size. Wasteful and hurts the planet? Incredibly.

    Not saying that its right, I have a feeling that Amazon just standardizes the boxes to very few sizes and this size is the most frequently used. I imagine they have a bunch of these box sizes already setup prepared to just throw product in, tape the top and send it off. They probably calculated the cost to get someone to deal with picking a small box, preparing it, wrapping it up, arranging its smaller size in the truck for shipment probably disturbs the uniform logistics process and ends up costing the company more than to just uniform it all to one size. In the end, its all focuses on the bottom line, even if that means shipping a sharpie in a ridiculously wasteful size box.

  28. TD99 says:

    I’ve had similar experiences from Amazon, but never to this extent. The worst I’ve ever seen was when I ordered a Logitech Racing Wheel for my PS3. I had selected the Gift Wrap option.

    What I received was a large cardboard box.
    Inside that was a large gift bag.
    Inside that was another cardboard box with the Logitech product name and Model number printed on it.
    Inside that was the actual color packaging you see in retail stores.
    Inside that was the product.

    Russian nesting dolls anyone?

  29. pattymc says:

    I buy quite a bit from Amazon and everything I have received to date has been packed sensibly. They obviously care about the issue as there is always an area for packaging feedback on every item. Two colleagues and I worked on reforming the entire promotional shipping standards at a large pharma company. Efficiency in packaging saves millions and I am sure Amazon is well aware of this since they ship everything they sell except for Kindle books. Someday they will have to buy UPS, FedEx or the USPS as they are highly vulnerable in this area to costs set by other, perhaps less efficient, companies.

  30. jeepguy57 says:

    15 minutes???

    If I know the item I need exactly, it takes about 30 seconds using my phone. I can scan the bar code, if I already have the item, or search for it. Either way, one-click buying makes it ridiculously quick.

    One of my dogs takes a daily pill and I use Pill Pockets. Whenever I run out of the 30-day supply, I take out my phone, scan the bar code and buy it in less than 30 seconds. It ships free with prime. Doesn’t get easier than that. (To answer the follow-up questions or comments, that product isn’t offered in subscribe and save, and I would rather just buy it monthly than in bulk, in case my dog stops liking them).

  31. quieterhue says:

    Every time I see one of these posts, I am baffled. I order from Amazon all the time and I’ve never had an item delivered in an innappropriately sized box.

  32. mikeami says:

    Instructions on how to do this: empty the box of what-ever bulky item was sent to you and replace with ridiculously small item, along with extra packing (that you always keep so you can save a buck and re-use). Then photograph as “documentation”.

  33. Skipdallas says:

    I order online for just about everything except groceries. I would order groceries online too if the service was available. I recycle all the packaging materials and the boxes I receive. I have a friend that reuses them in his business. So this is a win-win-win situation.
    Obviously this big box was a mistake, and there could be several reasons for this. I too use Amazon, and I have never had an inappropriate sized package used for any of my orders, so I imagine that this was a fluke. Good for a “raised eyebrow” nothing more. Move along folks, nothing to see here! :)

  34. bizzle says:

    How lazy do you have to be to order a single Sharpie over the internet? How far from a WalMart can you possibly be?
    Even if it was in a correctly sized box, what a complete waste of natural and human resources from every conceivable angle.
    Maybe they ordered 1000 Sharpies, and Amazon shipped 999, then one, only thing i can think of that doesn’t make this insane from a consumer end..