How The Stupid Shipping Gang Sends A Bottle Of White-Out

We’re sure that Staples has a very, very good reason for packing a single box of white-out in a massive box full of air pillows. Perhaps that product was in a different warehouse than the rest of the order going to Ian’s company. Perhaps they were out of small boxes or padded envelopes, and speed in shipping is more important than sanity in packaging. Or perhaps Staples employees fear the stink of correction fluid, and wanted to make sure everyone stayed very safe from it. Whatever the real reason: it’s ridiculous.

Ian sent us this picture, and explained:

Recently, my company placed an order through Said order
included many smaller items (packages of highlighters, pens,
white-out, tape, etc.). The day it arrived, we received this box of
air by itself (attached), containing only one bottle of white-out. Two
hours later, the rest of the shipment arrived in a single box. There
is no reason the white-out could not have been included in that box
(which also contained numerous air packs). When the white-out first
arrived, the box literally felt empty it was so under-filled.

You know, some companies have to pay good money for air packs. You’re so lucky!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    That is the limited edition White-Out crystal bottle made by
    Swarovski. You should be so lucky that Staples packed it so well.

  2. nishioka says:

    > There is no reason the white-out could not have been included in that box (which also contained numerous air packs).

    Sure there is. The reason is because it would make too much damn sense.

  3. Not Given says:

    Sometimes I get subscriptions from Amazon and it’s in different boxes because it didn’t all come from the same warehouse. Why wouldn’t they put the White-out in a padded envelope?

  4. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The real reason is that packing is done in a fast paced assembly line environment. It’s faster and cheaper to use packing supplies on hand than stop and run around looking for the perfect box.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Who are you and why are you posting common sense answers on Consumerist?

    • dicobalt says:

      Yea pretty much. Someone ran out of supplies and didn’t have time to walk all the way across the warehouse to restock. You have to keep that productivity level up or the boss people go ape shit bananas. Productivity numbers are all that matters, understand that and you understand how most large companies with a high volume of customers work.

  5. NanoDog says:

    Whatever..this isn’t really worth the article…
    . obviously they shorted and caught it or from a different location… why can’t you be happy they didn’t short you or leave it out? and:

    You just ordered one?

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I would reuse the pillows when I shipped samples at work. So this didn’t bother me. What drove me crazy was when I ordered a box of Sharpies or something similar, and they put the box in a plastic envelope. It would get crushed, and I would open it and all the Sharpies would fall out. There was plenty of room in the big box that had all my other stuff!

  7. druidicawen says:

    I got a Quill order yesterday and a single pack of self-stick adhesive tabs was in a box of similar size all by itself. The kicker, they forgot to include the packing slip, so it was in a separate bubble envelope.

  8. Costner says:

    I was sort of thinking when you order one bottle of white out you sort of lose the right to complain about packaging. The fact is not all orders are fulfilled from the same warehouse or even the same line within a warehouse, thus it probably would have made more sense to buy locally or plan ahead in order to be able to order larger quantities if you honestly wish to reduce your environmental impact.

    Sure it would be nice to have companies use efficient packaging, but in the case of a shipment like this, it probably doesn’t impact shipping cost one bit to use a box versus a padded envelope after you factor in minimum shipping charges, risk of damage to the item, increased risk of loss due to a smaller package, additional time for a delivery driver to find the small item etc.

    Plus – if we are honest – the people on the fulfillment line are humans just like every one of us. They have good days and bad days. Some of them probably hate their jobs and are only doing it to put food on the table or until they can find more fulfilling employment where they can put their liberal arts degrees to work. Others are probably fans of one of the many websites which specializes in featuring horrible packaging and they are honored to see their work featured.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised, seeing as how brutal the working conditions are at these “fulfillment centers”, that this is the wage slaves way of sticking it to their employer in extra costs.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      the OP said white-out was ordered, but not how many. maybe this single bottle was part of a multi white out bottle order. if twenty bottles were ordered and one arrived by itself, that would be extra humorous to me.

  9. RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

    We get orders like that from Staples all the time. I’m happy about it, because I save the boxes and air pillows for stuff I have to ship out. It’s a win for me!

  10. sparc says:

    it’s possible the order got split and fulfilled by two different warehouses. Then they use a standard sized box.

    I’d still take this over OfficeMax’s complete lack of packaging. Anyone who wants truly minimal packaging will start buying from OfficeMax.

  11. Bob A Dobalina says:

    Let’s see

    Cost of cardboard box in quantities Office Max uses, maybe $.005. Air pillows, $.001 apiece. Ordering smaller quantities of different types of custom packaging would increase per unit as well as storage costs. It’s cheaper just to have a few generic sizes.

    Not only do they save money using the same packaging for all small items, it also saves money by standardizing boxes to enable automated packing.

  12. pyropixie says:

    im not sure if white-out falls under this category but it could possibly be considered something that would have to have an orm-d label and easier to ship by itself?

  13. Good Grief says:

    White out is flammable and has to be shipped with a hazmat label by an approved shipper. If excess packaging bothers you so much, order more or go to the store! Geezz!

  14. AngryK9 says:

    Or perhaps the person doing the packing was a Consumerist reader, and did it intentionally, just to see if it shows up here? I know I would. :p

  15. sig331 says:

    Probably one of two reasons for the order being split:
    1. The White-Out may have been shipped from a different warehouse or directly from the supplier.
    2. Inefficiency in the ware house where it’s more time consuming to consolidate the order than to just get it boxed and out the door.

    Either way, no excuse for the waste of packaging.

  16. Marshall Cypress says:

    Pfffft…. That’s nothing I used to repair printers I would routinely receive tiny parts from HP in box that big. Sometimes I would order multiple parts for a printer all of them would fit in a single box 1/10 that size… They would ship them in individual boxes the size of the one above.

  17. soj4life says: