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How Not To Ship Computers 1554

jutus writes: "I recently relocated for work from Canada to Florida, and on a suggestion, shipped my equipment (well-packed), with UPS Ground. I've posted some images of the destruction my shipment was subjected to by UPS. UPS Ground does not insure international shipments, so basically I'm up shit creek, no paddle. They have been giving me the textbook run-around for the past week. UPS Canada blames UPS in the U.S., and you can imagine who UPS down here in the States blames. As of yet, UPS has not even attempted to negotiate any compensation for my loss due to their severe negligence ... For Gods sake, use FedEX." My luck has gone the other direction -- I've mostly had good luck with UPS and some misdeliveries with FedEx. Would be nice to hear from any UPS employees reading this about what could have led to the damage jutus illustrates.
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How Not To Ship Computers

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  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:31PM (#2571349) Homepage
    I've always found it a bit "funny" that you have to pay an extra fee to make sure they don't break the items you're shipping.
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by jms ( 11418 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:31PM (#2571350)
    You probably shouldn't have requested delivery by "International Trebuchet"

    Now you know.
  • Your Mistakes (Score:5, Informative)

    by SamBeckett ( 96685 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:31PM (#2571353)

    You made a couple of mistakes...

    1. You shipped without insurance. Don't expect any money, ever, without some kind of lawsuit.
    2. You wrote fragile on the box. My roommate works for UPS and he tells me that if they see "Fragile" on the box, they will actually kick it around in the warehouse. A better bet next time would be to write "Indestructable" or some such.

    Sorry for your loss, but, yes you are up shit creek!

    • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketch@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:45PM (#2571525)
      My roommate works for UPS and he tells me that if they see "Fragile" on the box, they will actually kick it around in the warehouse

      Why not test this to see if it is more widespread? Send a package with an audio recording device to record peoples voices and idealy with some kind of camera thing looking out to see what's going on outside the box (to get faces). Make sure the package has fragile clearly marked all over the box and send it across the country (or to re-create this poor persons experience, send it from the same place in canada to the same place in florida hoping it will take the same route). It would probably be best for the audio recording instrument to be sound activated to conserve audio recording space and to keep some sort of time stamp on the various recordings, same with the video.

      Just my opinion.
      • Re:Your Mistakes (Score:4, Interesting)

        by arnex ( 238036 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:49PM (#2572050)
        When I worked in radio we regularly shipped audio equipment for remotes via UPS and FedEx. Everything was always insured and marked "FRAGILE" but we also had these little "BB-in-a-paint-capsule" things we'd tape inside the crates... these were rated such that the BB would break the glass at a given G-force, so you'd know just what trauma the package had suffered in transit. Regardless, I never saw one arrive with an unbroken capsule.
    • Why don't you mark it "Anthrax" and when the FBI delivers it to you personally you can just show them the fact that their is an anthrax shirt and CD in there along with whatever else you are shipping.
    • by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:20PM (#2571826)
      My father had a similar experience.

      He shipped three collectible rifles via UPS Ground (the only legal way to ship them) they were so damaged that the barrels were bent and engravings on the stock were damaged beyond repair.

      After six months without receiving his insurance money (almost $5000), he got his revenge. He filled 6 pickle jars with concentrated deer urine (very nasty smelling stuff) he packed them together, marked the box fragile and didn't insure it.

      Not suprisingly, the box was never delivered :D
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:23PM (#2571869) Homepage
      F log
      R elentlessly
      A nd
      G rind
      I nto
      L imp
      E xtinction
  • Insurance (Score:4, Informative)

    by DonalGraeme ( 171589 ) <slashdot@pairofsixe s . com> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:31PM (#2571357) Homepage
    Does your house or renters insurance have any provision to cover moving related problems.
  • by migstradamus ( 472166 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:32PM (#2571359) Homepage
    I sold a server on Ebay and had it packaged at a "Mailboxes Etc." in Manhattan and shipped UPS to Pennsylvania. The person who got it says it looked like it had been dropped from at least four feet, enough to crack the entire (metal) case. I had bought insurance, and UPS sent someone over to the guy's house to examine it. They have to make sure it was packed to spec or they blame the sender (Mailboxes Etc. in this case).

    Despite their basically admitting it was damaged during shipment and that it was packed correctly, this was over two months ago and I'm still waiting for something to happen. They don't give me a point of contact so I have to start from scratch every time I call. Total mess.
    • Don't hold your breath. I had insurance, UPS damaged the keyboard (CPU and monitor were OK). First they wanted me to ship it back so the persone who paked it (that would be me) could talk to UPS. I convinced them to come out and take a look at it. They agreed that they were at fault and told me to buy a replacement. I sent several copies of the recipt for the new keyboard and never got a response.

      Remeber, UPS is pronouced "oops"
  • UPS lately? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:32PM (#2571362) Homepage

    I've been shipping things with UPS for the past few years, and only in the last 6 months have started noticing a large amount of damage to my stuff and to my friend's stuff. 3 of my friends had to send stuff back due to UPS damage during shipping.

    Has anyone else noticed an increase in damage lately, or is it just me?
    • by JennyWL ( 93561 )
      My partner used to do onsite shipping/receiving for an environmental lab, handling samples which were often liquid and frequently hazardous, and which have mandated hold times. She told me the lab's policy was to use nothing but Fedex for outgoing and prepaid Fedex for incoming, because not only were damaged/lost samples a common occurrence, (despite being shipped in sealed coolers the size of a piano bench) but also UPS' internal tracking was terrible and their on-time delivery guarantee was worth less than the paper it was written on. It was cheaper to prepay Fedex to deliver incoming samples than to call the client, explain that the hold time had expired while the sample was mistakenly sent to Texas instead of Oregon, and ask for them to resample and resend. That was in 1996-1998 inclusive.
    • Re:UPS lately? (Score:3, Informative)

      by peterjm ( 1865 )
      i haven't noticed so much damage recently, mainly because I really don't like shipping with ups, but christ all mighty, it's as though ups doesn't hire people who can read. I'd have to think for a few minutes to actually come up with a package that they didn't screw up. all sorts of problems, from them not delivering to house (at least no note on my mailbox or front door) and reporting to the website that they skipped me b/c I wasn't home (i was, I was unemployed, where the hell would I be?), to them essentially scratching off the label of a box they nearly turned into a cylinder and then obviously not knowing who to take it to. I also had a mother board coming from louisianna sit in the santa cruz distribution for about a week before it finally made it onto a truck, after taking only three days to make it across the country. sooooo iritating when you're waiting for this critical part so you can use your computer.

      at this point, I usually just ask if people can ship it usps rather than ups as they tend to be faster (figure that one out) and infinately more reliable.

      I've got some friends that have had the opposite experience of mine. I just don't get it. it's like they have a database of people that they just don't care about (and people that they do) and then they use that information to find out which packages they should purposely screw up.
  • funny tag? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rudiger ( 35571 )
    i don't know how most feel about this, but i wouldn't find getting all my stuff destroyed funny, and i know there is a long tradition of laughing at other people's misfortune, but come on, thats a horror story.
  • by jmccay ( 70985 )
    The only safe way is to move it yourself from Canada to the US! There is no way to inusre that who ever handles your stuff will even be able to speak English--or will even care if they do. Just rent a UHaul and take it yourself next time.
  • Funny? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Talisman ( 39902 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:33PM (#2571380) Homepage
    Why this falls under the 'Humor' icon, I can't figure out.

    You need a :( icon for such things.

    A video of this guy giving the local UPS delivery person a DDT would have been funny, but not a destroyed computer.
  • How long does the claim process take?
    Once the claim paperwork is received by UPS, a check is typically issued and mailed to the shipper of record within five business days.

    link []

    I assume its been more than five days? .. Darn misleading FAQs anyways ..
  • by MooRogue ( 223321 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:35PM (#2571401)
    Well, not to defend UPS, but i thought i'd share my own experiences.

    I shipped a number of packages via UPS ground when moving from TX to CA, among them was a computer and a few boxes full of books.

    For the computer, I actually had the original box that the computer case came in, along with styrofoam padding on top and at the bottom with a sturdy cardboard box. I also made sure that all the screws were tight, all the wires were bundled up inside. Box arrived slightly banged up, but no major damage. The computer booted up on the first try with no errors. I had actually thought that some connections would have been shaken loose during transport.

    However, the box full of books arrived in pieces. In fact, when the UPS man came to deliver the box, it fell apart before he made it to the door. It was the same kind of cardboard that the computer box was made of, but was significantly heavier... I didn't care much about the books since they were just textbooks.

    Moral of the story? Well... use the original box if you can, don't make things too heavy or the UPS people will most likely kick the heavier boxes around, and insure things that are expensive!
  • by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:35PM (#2571411) Homepage Journal
    According to the UPS web site, international shipments are automatically insured for $100, and if you want more, you have to declare the shipment's value and pay an additional premium. This matches my experience shipping within the US (I recently shipped a PC to a friend and of course I bought the additional insurance).

    So when you say that UPS doesn't insure, what you mean is that you neglected to ask for or buy insurance. Did you assume that you shipment was insured, or did you just forget to ask?

    I'm sorry that your PC got busted up, dude, but face it: you screwed up.

    • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:49PM (#2571562) Homepage Journal
      I recently shipped overseas. The $100 insurance was there. For every $100 over that, it was like $5 or something like that. Practically nothing for anything that you want to see again.
    • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:50PM (#2571585)
      While I've never seen damage to a shipment done by a shipper that even remotely resembled the damage in his pictures, I don't think I should have to "insure" something to recover the value of the goods when what his pictures showed is a clear case of neglect on the part of the shipper.

      I don't use UPS for a host of completely separate customer service issues I've had with them, but one thing I've noted at their drop off point here in Minneapolis is that they don't accept sealed boxes. This is so they can check the packing material (and I assume other things as well).

      The only way our poster really screwed up was to not save the boxes that his equipment came in, especially the G4 box. That would have been a much more secure shipment container than some left overs.
      • by OmegaDan ( 101255 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:50PM (#2572053) Homepage
        I have seen damage worse then this ... A buddy of mines father (used to) resell compaq servers.

        He shipped one UPS (insured) and sometime during shipping, UPS put the arm of a forklift thru the package. There was *an actual hole* that went all the way thru the package (and the server).

        Naturally he hauls it down there, and they refused to pay the insurance. I think after a few months he got his money -- but UPS put him on a "shit list" and now they inspect *every* package he tenders.
    • by donutz ( 195717 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:54PM (#2571619) Homepage Journal
      You can take comfort in the fact, that at least Tupperware has a lifetime guarantee on their products. Take that bowl to the nearest Tupperware party and the Tupperware representative can either get it replaced right then and there or possibly give you a voucher to get it replaced. Good luck.
    • The milspec for packing most things is the ability to survive a 20 foot fall (6 meter). The packge most cases come in is a good start, but don't use it if it's too old as acid paper deteriorates and looses it's strength. New boxes are better. Never try to fit two things in one box. They will collide. Make crush space around the inside box fill it with foam of some sort. Peanuts, the blue stuff that goes on walls, crumpled newspaper. Use judgement here and don't go too tight exept in the corners. Use good tape. Tape every edge and corner, many times and wrap the centers too. The tape will stretch out before yielding and hopefully keep the contents in.

      Having worked for RPS, I can vouch for it. Shipping is not done by angles, it's done by $5.00/hour strongbacks. They hum stuff from trucks to conveyor belts. They hate heavy boxes they can't get their hands around. Big light boxes are a joy to them. Sometimes things fall down. Yes, I was a stong back for two or three years. The worst boxes were from a beauty shop. They broke every time, sending sheen and other goo onto the floor! Did I mention plastic wraps inside?

      Your boxes look like they recieved significant drops. It's hard to tell how those boxes were packed, and if indeed you used more than one. The cardboard, however, is clearly old and the box should have been discarded.

      Thank you for posting the pictures. They are good examples of what can happen. My condolenses for your parts. The folks who did this, I'm sure, cursed when it happened but did not waste too much time with it.

    • by stilwebm ( 129567 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:05PM (#2571715)

      As a former shipping company employee, I have to agree. This guy screwed up big. Worst of all, if he had paid for insurance, UPS would still deny his claim. Looking at the pictures, the package clearly was packed improperly. There was insuffcient packing material between items and especially between the items and the boxes. Moving fairly boxes are strong, but when you cram a heavy CRT monitor in there with a bunch of other computer equipment you need to pad it well enough that it will stabilize.

      The G4 case clearly was not stabilized and protected from potential forces subjected to the outside of the box. Take a look at the factory box your G4 came in. Same with the monitor. There are several inches of solid styrofoam padding on each side of the case, form fit to both the item and the exterior of the box. Some tightly packed packing peanuts or other packing material would have helped a lot in this case if originial packing material was missing. If the exterior of the box was damaged and packing material was falling out, UPS would have taped it back together (besides, they don't want to clean up loose packing material everywhere).

      Before you make it the shipping company's fault, perhaps you should do things like read the big signs in every UPS customer counter and most other shipping outlets that give minimum packing standards. The only mistake UPS made here was not refusing the package in the first place, but that is beyond their responsibility since they cannot possibly inspect every package for proper packing.

      • So because most shipping companies have been screwing over customers in situations like this that makes it o.k.?

        Just because this poor sod was naive doesn't mean it's ok for people/corporations to take advantage of him.

        Your arguement is just about as lame as the classic "it's her fault she got raped, she shouldn't have been walking in the park at that time of night!". Obviously someone beat the shit out of his gear. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense can see that this was not accidentally dropped but literally worked over. Look at how extensive the damage is... you would have to go out of your way to break something that badly.

        I don't care what they put on their signs or in their small print. UPS should take responsibility for this and foot the bill.
      • by jutus ( 14595 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:19PM (#2571824) Homepage
        Uh.. dude. I didn't just throw 3 tower and a 17" monitor in a box and ship it.

        The PC was packed in a small 2 cu ft box.
        The PowerTower Pro and G4 were packed in a 4 cu box.
        The 17" monitor was packed in a seperate 4 cu ft box.

        I used a LOT of padding, although I did not have the styrofoam cutouts that came with the units. Instead I used bubble wrap for padding and made sure that nothing could shake around/loose.

        The shipment packing WAS inspected at the port of origin.

        Please see my post regarding the latest correspondence. It details the reasons for lack of insurance. Insurance is not an option.

        To me, the basis for my claim is that this is beyond normal shipping stress on items. IMHO, this is severe negligence on the part of UPS.
        • "Proper" packing (Score:5, Informative)

          by Wanker ( 17907 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @09:06PM (#2572479)
          Soft padding simply won't work through the mail. I made this mistake once, thankfully on far less expensive items. It's especially pathetic when combined with hard, heavy objects like books (for me) or computers (for you).

          Although I've seen several "you should have known better" postings, I disagree. Most packing guidelines are very poorly and/or ambiguously written. Just what does "adequate padding" mean? What could be more adequate than padding with several pillows, right? Wrong.

          The packing material must not compress or else your packing is useless and you get "exploded" boxes that look, well, like yours. This is why computers are packed by the factory suspended in the middle of the box by styrofoam holders. The holders transfer the load of the other boxes stacked on top through to the boxes stacked underneath without collapsing. Bubble wrap is great for a thin protective layer around individual items, but it won't hold them in place within a box.

          It's unfortunate that your lesson was so expensive. I wish you luck in your attempts at getting some reimbursement, however next time be sure to use professional packing materials (sounds like you did-- bubble wrap), leave absolutely zero air space, and plan for several hundred pounds to be sitting on top of whatever you ship.
        • by Naikrovek ( 667 ) <jjohnson.psg@com> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @09:57PM (#2572670)
          you should have read a bit about shipping computers. Only ship the case in a large box. Remove all add-on cards and package them in another box. remove the harddrive and pack each of them in their own box, packed *tightly* in bubble wrap. Hard drives are the most fragile computer component, and can only survive a ~1500 G shock. Thats about a 1 meter fall onto carpet, or a ~12 inch fall onto a desk. Bubble wrap will extend this to acceptable levels.

          If you want to ship a computer safely, its gonna take some work. DO NOT SHIP IT WHOLE. Take everything out, even the motherboard, although you can probably leave the CPU's on the MB, but not the fans.

          Don't be lazy or cheap when it comes to this - as you have learned, its not worth it.

  • by ( 536700 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:35PM (#2571412) Homepage
    I recently bought an SGI Indy off of eBay, and the seller shipped it US Postal Service Priority Shipping. It was *cheap* and arrived in a mere 2 days!! I highly suggest USPS Priority Shipping if the product is packed well with packing peanuts and such. They really have a good service.
    • by ksheff ( 2406 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:42PM (#2572008) Homepage

      USPS Priority Shipping is now handled by FedEx.

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @11:30PM (#2573008) Homepage Journal
        On a related note:

        Several times at Xmas one of the local TV stations has run a test: They do a moderately-good packing job on a ceramic mug (an item that is breakable but not real fragile) and ship 3 identical containers via three typical carriers:

        USPS: this one costs the least and ALWAYS arrives first, AND in the best condition both for packaging and contents.

        FexEx: this costs more but arrival trails the USPS service by a few hours; packaging sometimes suffers some dings (going direct to the shipping warehouse being more hazardous than being sorted first in USPS back rooms?) but contents are never broken.

        UPS: this costs more than USPS, always comes in dead last (sometimes by days) and usually arrives with packaging somewhat trashed and contents broken (one year the contents vanished, tho the box was so badly mauled nothing could have stayed in it anyway).
  • Step one (Score:3, Informative)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:36PM (#2571418) Homepage Journal
    Step one in using shipping companies: don't buy extra insurance for expensive shit.

    Dude, if it was so important, how come you didn't spend $5 or even $50 for insurance on the shit?

    Not sure how it works in Canada, but you might say in the US that giving the package gave them a bailment. They have to take care of your shit. Now, it would be expected that you might have some dings on your boxen, and some other problems. But showing the condition of your stuff should prove more than exceptional incompetance. So, even if they denied the bailment, you could show that the damage was so agregious that it should have been forseeable.

    At this point, I think the real question is: what is the condition of the drives? This might be your only recourse at this point.
    • Re:Step one (Score:3, Informative)

      by hearingaid ( 216439 )

      Bailments are medieval English common law. Works pretty much the same everywhere that used to be an English colony, plus England of course :)

      The guy who shipped this stuff should get a lawyer, and sue the bastards. He's got some pretty excellent evidence, and he gets to sue in Florida.

      Florida courts aren't the most generous in the United States, but they're not bad. I could see punitive damages, yes: hire a lawyer, it won't be hard- any lawyer will look at those photos and think "oooh, an easy case, huge contingency, mmmm" :)

  • I shipped a computer from New York to Arizona, and had it packed with a local Mailboxes, etc. It arrived looking like someone rolled it down the stairs. Cards were broken and the frame was severely bent.

    First they tried to say I packed it incorrectly, until I explained that one of their representatives did it.

    Then they tried to say that since I built the computer myself, they couldn't reimburse me because they couldn't tell how much it cost, and that it might have been that I put it together wrong that broke it.

    I eventually got back ~66% of what was broken. I hate UPS with a passion. This was right before the strike, and I suspected at the time that it was broken by disgrunted employees wanting to punish the company by making them pay insurance claims on something clearly marked "fragile" and "electonic equipment", but evidently its just poor employees.

    As an FYI, the Mailboxes, etc where I got it packed was pretty annoyed with UPS and well, and helped me w/ the claims process.

  • I thought on packages going ground they stated that they must be packed to withstand multiple 10 foot drops. I'm almost sure that's the policy.

    I don't see anything about it on their terms page though: ht ml
  • I've had decent luck sending things in the origional packaging (So they can't gripe about the packaging) and sending it the first level above UPS ground.

    And you have to watch your insurance carefully. Often times, they insure everything BUT electronics.
  • ..
    Its obvious, you need to sue.
    Talk to a lawyer, sue both UPS Canada, and ups USA.
    this is, at the very least, negligence. waiver or no, companies are always liable for negligence.
  • Why did you ship several thousand dollars of delicte equipment uninsured? That's kinda asking for it isn't it?

    If they won't insure the shipment you should probably assume that there is a reason for that.
  • Just out of curiosity, why ship it with UPS if they don't insure the ground shipments? I'm not defending UPS in any way, they fucked up and you're paying the price and that blows. Why did you go with someone who wouldn't insure your pride and joy?

    You knowingly sent it without insurance, correct?. Was fed ex too expensive? Airborne Express? I guess I'm just wondering if you are paying the price for the cheap way out?

  • how was it packed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by hyrdra ( 260687 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:38PM (#2571444) Homepage Journal
    I saw your pictures and I must say that's a real bang up job. However, you should note that it's rather foolish to ship a tower in the size box you shipped it in.

    If you absolutly need to ship PC parts, disassemble them and ship them in containers with lots of foam, packing "popcorn", etc. Even empty ATX cases arrive in boxes two and three times their actual size.

    I'm not defending UPS nor am I saying they are at fault. The processes involved in sorting boxes often include large belts and ramps, and yes, two and three feet drops. The belts that load boxes onto FedEx planes often have five foot drops at the top. And this is FedEx.

    This is why you need insurance, and you need to be wise about packaging your goods. I sure hope you didn't pack all the things pictured in a 4 cu foot box you showed that was beat to death (probably from stuff rolling around inside of it).

    I would go the route of getting moeny from UPS if you insured it. Other than that you're screwed.
  • Actually, I myself have just had an older model (new in box) big Apple ColorSync monitor shipped to me via UPS and they got that one as well. Major damage to the monitor case was done in shipping, but it appears to work fine. At any rate, I contacted them and it took a couple of weeks but they tell me they are sending me a check. (The monitor was insured). What I don't get is that if a box is dropped off at your address with the outer shipping container beat to hell, why is there no notice left with the package that damage had occurred in shipping? That would be the honest thing to do.

    In general, I too use FedEx, but chose UPS this time for who knows what reasons. I guess I will be going back to Fed Ex.
  • Always pronounce it "OOOPS!"

    UPS put my business out of business by their inept delivery service.

  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:42PM (#2571481)
    Born Slippy by UNderworld - 12" vinyl, they shipped it to me using UPS in a Padded envelope with a Big sticker saying 'Do Not Fold'

    Vinyl may be fragil but it must've taken a fair amount of force to Produce the neatly folded package I recived, I was amazed at how symmetric the fold was as well.

    Needless to say amazon have used Boxes ever since.
  • Ummmmmm, no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:42PM (#2571484) Homepage

    and on a suggestion, shipped my equipment (well-packed),

    I saw your images (faster than a speeding /. effect, whoo). I don't mean to sound cruel, but that wasn't "well-packed".

    Every so often I get Sun hardware shipped to me. I have learned a few things:

    • If anything can move around inside the box, you're fucked.
    • Wadded-up newspaper, styrafoam peanuts, and those little air-cushion pillows can all move around inside the box. See above.
    • The only air space inside the box should be the space inside the computer case itself. Heavy things will be set on top of the box. Air is compressible.

    Basically, if you aren't use molded solid foam, you're in trouble. At minimum you should use foam blocks for the sides of the box, and then fill the gaps inside with stuffed eggshell foam (e.g., you don't have custom-molded foam, e.g., you threw out the foam pieces that the computer/case was originally shipped in).

    The other day I got a hardware board about the size of my hand. It was shipped in a box the size of my torso. The outside of the box had gone through a war zone, but thanks to all that foam, the card was pristine.

  • by Silicon_Knight ( 66140 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:44PM (#2571509)
    I know the grief. I was able to finance the purchase of my laptop because I shipped my desktop (P200MMX back then) and put $2000.00 insurance on it. When my box arrived the hard drives tumbled out of my case and I was like "Oh, my God..."

    My housemate recently shipped a downhilling mountain bike from Wyoming, with insurance on it. When the bike arrived they had bashed in what everyone thought were bomb-proof front shocks and bent the rotors on the disc brakes. The typical insurance run-around that they use in *both* cases here are:

    - "Oh, it's not our fault, you packaged it incorrectly".
    - "Oh, the item was damaged before we shipped it"
    - "We'll conduct our own evaluations and keep you informed"

    So, this is what you should do, and in my experience works quite well:

    * Keep all receipts of the packaging.
    * Have it shipped from an authorized shipping outlet, *and* have them sign a letter saying that they packaged it.
    * Photo document the packaging if possible.

    And when they give you shit about it being not packaged properly, show them but do not hand over the documentation. And if they still give you crap, this is what my housemate did:

    * Have a lawyer, lawyer friend, etc, write a letter to UPS, threatening to supeona the records that they have on your package, and the insurance claim paperwork and the inspection results.

    Boy did they pay up quick after that. They weren't going to even take a second look at his bike, the lawyer did his thing, and now he's at least getting his disc rotors replaced.

    - SK
    • =( (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hangtime ( 19526 )
      Its sad that if want anyone to take responsibility for their actions you have to threaten them with a lawsuit. Just keeps the courts clogged and lawyers churning out of law schools.

  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:46PM (#2571528) Homepage Journal
    In the surplus-electronics business, it's almost an industry axiom. UPS Blue (2-day air) is fine, and FedEx 3-day Express Saver service is a good compromise between cost and delivery time. UPS Ground, however, guarantees that your equipment will receive the most abusive possible treatment at the hands of heavily-unionized goons who have zero accountability to management.

    In fact, you're lucky if your shipment doesn't magically vanish from the distribution hub.

    I usually use FedEx when it absolutely, positively, has to get there in one piece. That being said, I have not been hearing good things about the new FedEx Ground (formerly RPS) service. Apparently the integration with FedEx has not gone particularly well, and they're not providing reliable service with low breakage risk.

    Before using any carrier or service, it's a good idea to search Google Groups to see what the various collectibles groups are bitching about lately. And always, always pack your gear to survive a 3-foot fall into a concrete floor. If you catch yourself flinching at the thought of such an impact, you didn't pack well enough.
  • by Calle Ballz ( 238584 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:51PM (#2571591) Homepage
    NEVER EVER EVER send anything by UPS unless you get in insured and 2 day aired or less. If you have ever seen one of their distribution centers, you would be shocked. Imagined miles of conveyer belts going 5 stories up. Boxes on each one... as they roll across, a barcode reader reads the UPC code and an arm will push the box off the conveyer belt to the next level down, depending on it's destination. I saw TV boxes drop 5 stories and onto the ground, the maintenance person just picks it up and throws it back on the belt. They do this for efficiency, but with absolutely no regard to the contents of the packages.

    The reason I say 2 day air or less, is because those packages are not as automated... they are taken by actual people from truck to plane to truck to plane. This is probably the only way you can get something shipped intact to it's destination.
  • by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @06:59PM (#2571661) Journal
    Next time you ship a computer with UPS, label the box with "BIOHAZARD" (with that nifty, sharp, menacing logo). Chances are, shippers won't want to break it open, exposing themselves to strange, white powder. Of course, they may call the FBI... which would only lend more scrutiny to the package care... and if it's damaged, you could sue both the FBI & UPS. Right?

  • Hassles with UPS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gma ... m minus language> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:01PM (#2571678) Homepage Journal
    Years ago I used to rewire old monitors to display funky patterns when I ran my stereo wires through them. Some day I may put up a web page describing the process. I have made a winamp pluggin that simulates the effect, which I will also post some day when I am not so lazy/busy with other things.

    Anyhow, I bought an old Mac at the Goodwill for $5 and then modified it to make the funky patterns and shipped it to a friend for his birthday.

    I went to Mailboxes Etc. and told them I wanted to ship it UPS. First they wanted to double box it. That alone would have cost $150, and would have substantially increased the shipping costs as well since double boxing makes things huge.

    After convincing them that I had spent all of $5 and about two hours of my time on this, I conviced them that they could single-box it. However, they made me sign something that stated that it they broke it, it was my own fault.

    Then while filling out the form there was a box for value. I put a sideways '8' since it was a one-of-a-kind item. They went crazy again and asked why I had done that. I replied that it was a work of electronic art that interacted with music in a unique way. That really worried them. This all occured in Palo Alto and maybe they were used to shipping strange expensive stuff.

    Finally I crossed out the value and put in a big '0' and claimed that if it wasn't art then it was junk. That confused them but finally they shipped it, single boxed, for a total of about $70.

    The moral of this story?

    Mailboxes Etc. doesn't appreciate a smart-ass.

    addendum: My friend painted it with gold paint and used it at parties. It was even more popular than his lava lamp.

  • by Incongruity ( 70416 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:02PM (#2571689)
    After having boxes mangled, mushed and otherwise beat to hell by shipping services, I began to think about WHY it happened to MY boxes and MY packing jobs, but not when I have had many MANY computers and other things shipped to me via UPS and other's what I have come up with:

    First: you must match the package to its contents. DO NOT try to fit as much as you can in a single, LARGE box. Instead, use smaller, properly sized boxes for each major piece of equipment. The biggest reason for this is that a lighter package, when dropped, will not produce as much force on impact. Inevitably, all impact forces are first applied to a specific part of the package or a specific item in the package. Therefore, a heavy package, loaded with many items, when dropped, is more likely to apply enough force to one of the items in it to break them, as compared to similar drops of the items packaged individually.

    Second: The items, shipped in the box should NEVER end up as the primary load bearing members of the package structure. This is why computer and monitor boxes a)use double layered corrugated cardboard boxes and b) have heavy-duty Styrofoam pieces to provide an internal structure underneath the skin created by the cardboard. Bubble wrap does not provide such a structure. Additionally, the Styrofoam is resilient, like bubble wrap, but more so. Styrofoam keeps its shape much better.

    Now, most times those factors are what keep computers, as shipped from the factory, in retail packaging, safe in shipping. Sometimes, EVEN those factors aren't enough and that's a clear indication of major incompetence on the part of the shipping company.

    Those two requirements, it sadly seems, were not met by Jutus (the shipper). So, as much as I hate to point any blame, it seems that some blame does reside on the shipper, not all on the shipping company.

    Again, this is my opinion, based on my experience, working in purchasing for the IT department of a med/small company and from years of purchasing my own machines via the 'net or mail-order.


  • by jutus ( 14595 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:04PM (#2571706) Homepage
    "Thank you for your inquiry. We sincerely apologize for the condition in which your merchandise arrived. We are unable to determine when or where any damage may have occurred to your uninsurable personal effects from Canada. Personal effects imported from Canada to the United States cannot be insured. We are unable to process a Damage Inspection Report for your computer.

    Thank you for using UPS Internet Services.


    So basically I'm screwed, period.

    UPS Canada does not know if the shipment was damaged in the States, and vice versa. In accordance with UPS's policy on these matters, my only choice is to suck it. UPS does not respond to customer needs as one entity. It has a billion departments internally to shove your issue around to for weeks.

    Again, if they had offered insurance, I would have taken it. They advertise "dependable" service, and this is my first (and last) time shipping with UPS. Obviously in hindsight I am a moron.

    My oversight was in assuming "dependable" service includes your items arriving in one piece.
    • KEEP FIGHTING (Score:3, Informative)

      by mach-5 ( 73873 )
      NO, NO, NO. You are right! Don't give up your fight. The reason that insurance exists in the first place is to secure un-replaceable items (i.e. an antique or valueable piece of art that does NOT have a replacement). Unfortunately, insurance has become a means to financially back any old item, at least in the shipping world. I think your packages were mistreated. I'm don't care what methods the shipping company uses to move packages, but by buying their service, you are making an implied agreement that they will get your package from point A to point B UNHARMED! Don't listen to most of these posts, your packages were fine and, again, you were mistreated. Take them to small claims court. SUE! SUE! SUE! Really, I'm appaled and this is completely un-called for.

      Go to the nearest UPS office, or location, talk to a face, not just a voice or a computer. Let them know you are upset! Let, them see your glaring eyes and red face when they tell you, "There's nothing I can do." If you yell loud enough, things will get done. Keep up your fight! Don't let the pessimistic /. posts get you down, you can win this thing.

      What has happened to business these days? What ever happened to the "deal" that was based on a handshake? What ever happened to doing business face-to-face?
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:05PM (#2571714) Homepage
    Last summer, I was a-wanderin' down my street, and lo, there was a Fed Ex truck double parked to the right of me.

    Overhead and moving fast, a package launched from the truck landed hard and skidded on the greystone's front stoop.

    I looked at the driver; he said, "You didn't see that."

    I agreed I didn't.

    Fed Ex, UPS, it's all the same -- don't judge by brand. Men will still throw packages around, because it's fun.
  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:06PM (#2571723) move the following of my personal stuff:

    • computer equipment
    • stereo equipment
    • LP/CD/LD/DVD collection
    • art

    We recently moved and let the gorillas move everything but the things I listed above. Sure I had to rent a small truck but nothing was damaged. It was well worth the small cost.

    Many years ago, a ``professional'' moving company found a way to severely dent a peuter plate wedding present given to me by the EE faculty where I was teaching. It was packed in the middle of a bunch of china which miraculously managed to survive the move. Of course the moving company found some reason that they weren't liable.

  • Use palettes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eap ( 91469 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:08PM (#2571738) Journal
    I was reading one of the ham radio web sites the other day (I think it was [] and they stated that the best way to ensure your package survives is to strap it to a 48x48 wooden palette.

    This assures no human will try and lift (and possibly drop) it, and that they will have to handle it with a palette lifter.

    Also, have the UPS associate inspect your packaging before you send it off, so they can't complain about improper packing. There should be 6" between your cargo and the container wall packed with shock absorbing material.

    As for the claims, yes they can take months. It's much better to prevent damage entirely and dummy proof your package by attaching it to a large object like a palette.

  • by EccentricAnomaly ( 451326 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:09PM (#2571744) Homepage
    The computer was shipped via UPS flight 1331 which is occasionally used by the Canadian Secret Police for black ops. It seems that a group of terrorists from Greenland were attempting to infiltrate Quebec and poison the Maple Syrup harvest and blame it on the OntarioFirst! movement, thus giving more fuel to the Quebec independence movement. (If Quebec gets its independence Newfoundland will be cut off from the rest of Canada and ripe for invasion by Greenlander nationalists who have strived for centuries to liberate Vinland from the yoke of Canadian oppression.)

    Well, flight 1331 was diverted to drop paratroopers into Northern Quebec in an attempted to foil the dastardly Greenlander plot. After the paratroopers were dropped, unexpected windsheer downed flight 1331 over Hudson bay.

    Search and rescue failed to find any traces of flight 1331, but the copilot, Red McFearson miraculously survived. Red managed to swim his way onto an iceberg.

    On his iceberg, Red had many adventures... including a near fatal attempt to milk a polar bear in desperation brought on by hunger. However, it turns out that polar bears like to be milked and Red was able to survive.

    Only two things kept Red going during those months stranded on the iceberg suckling the polar bear... his special relationship he developed with a hocky puck, Marsha... and his drive to fulfill his duty and DELIVER YOU PACKAGE which he was able to salvage from the wreckage.

    So, you see, you have no room to complain and you should be greatful for the patriotic, dedicated men and women of UPS.
  • by wankel ( 521593 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:14PM (#2571792) Homepage

    I had similar problems shipping a recording console with UPS. They refused to even return my calls until I started threatening a lawsuit. I have made the entire story, including photos and contact information, available at []

    As for FedEx, I have sometimes had problems with them (though far less often). The important difference, however, is that it has never required a threat of a lawsuit to get FedEx to cover my damaged or lost packages.

  • UPS + Electronics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:16PM (#2571803)

    I work in a small computer store that gets the majority of its supplies by UPS.

    If it wasn't for the quality of the packaging supplied by most computer equipment manufacturers, I'd suspect a significant portion of the equipment would be damaged in transit.

    The items in question were all shipped from a national wholesaler (techdata) via UPS. A motherboard I recieved had a partially crushed box. I've seen Athlon processors arrive in dented boxes. Some of the boxes look like they have been torn apart. However, the parts usually arrive in working order, despite the damage.

    To UPS, its just a package, that is handled and moved by a bunch of low-paid workers who have no interest in treating your package with TLC, and the management doesn't seem to add any accountability. Until management cares enough to track where and when the damage occurs, and uses that information to remove the problem employees, nothing will improve.

    Just my $.02

  • by Mandelbrute ( 308591 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:18PM (#2571815)
    They're called UPS ground. The stuff is not quite ground up, but they had a fair go at it.
  • by DigiBoi ( 139261 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:24PM (#2571874) Homepage
    After spending a few years in the shipping/recieving docks of UPS, I give this piece of advice:

    Your package is nothing more than something to take aggression out on. $9.00/hr for shit work makes one very angry, and it is your package that loses out. A fragile package just means it breaks easier when it's thrown into the trailer.
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:30PM (#2571918) Homepage
    Let me get this straight: You put a Powermac G4 tower, an PowerTower Pro, and a monitor all in one box, and expected them to survive?

    I don't see how all three would even fit in one box, as the box looks to be the size that a normal monitor (plus copeous styrofoam blocks that the manufacturer uses (hint, hint)) comes in.

    Did you just pile them in with some newspaper and think that it would be okay? In general, 'fragile' or not, expect your box to get dropped from 4 or 5 feet a few times in transit. Basically, there should never, ever be direct contact between your valued hardware and the interior of the box.

    As for insurance, that's a different issue. I hope you get your money, but it reminds me of a friend who says he wouldn't mind getting hit by a car as long as he had medical insurance. Me, I'd prefer not to have the pain and suffering in the first place.
  • by geoffeg ( 15786 ) <> on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:40PM (#2571990) Homepage
    A few months ago, I took a tour of a shipping company that I will not name but will refer to as FooBar Inc.

    The tour was at night, when shipping companies come alive and really start moving things. The tour was fun (seeing the shipping crates, all the people running around like crazy, etc) until I got to one of the sorting wharehouses. The packages to be sorted would be pulled into the wharehouse where people would go through each package and THROW it onto one of three conveyor belts. The topmost belt was about 5 feet high, the middle at about 3 and the bottom on the ground. I was totally shocked to see the the people doing the sorting THROW (not toss) printers, iMac's, monitors, tv's and other fragile equipment onto the belts. Sometimes they would miss and the package would fall to the floor, ignored until someone came around, picked it up and tossed it onto the wrong belt. Higher up in the wharehouse, where the smaller packages where sorted, the sorters would also throw the packages into the wrong chutes, toss the packages on top of the equipment or onto the floor.

    Now, I'm not blaming the sorters (completely). They are payed minimum wage to do a horribly shitty and boring job. I do blame FooBar Inc for not paying these people right or not doing more checks to see how things are running.

    After the tour, I never shipped anything the same way again. Recently, I've been either having a packing and shipping store do it for me. If I don't do that I pack the item in multiple boxes (usually 2 or 3) with little styrofoam peanuts between each box. It's a complete pain in the ass to pack (especially larger objects) but it seems to do the trick.

    If you want something shipped right, don't ship it, take the package to the destination yourself.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @07:57PM (#2572104) Homepage
    How about drivers who don't care to ring your doorbell or check if you're actually home?

    My first experience with this was with a $500 package that was late by two days... and then a week... and then a week-and-a-half. The tracking system said "delivery made" but there was no package. Repeated calls to the service center revealed nothing until finally one day a rep said "there's a note in the system that says 'green box' so do you have a green box around your house?"

    A light bulb appeared above my head, and I went outside with a look of disbelief on my face. I found the box (containing a high-end RAID controller) at the bottom of one of my *recycle bin* at the side of the house, beneath tons of cardboard and plastic. Two more days and it would have been recycled. What sort of idiot delivers a package to a recycle bin?

    Well, the second time this sort of thing happened (system says delivered, but I haven't seen the package), I *asked* the rep if there were any delivery notes in the system. This time the note was "tree" and I found a box containing a Sun 3/80 *up in the branches of my 14' pine tree* in the dead of winter. The driver actually seemed to have climbed the fence next to the tree to place the box in it. They're sturdy branches, but it still seems ridiculous to me.

    Calls to UPS about these incidents resulted in the following explanation: sometimes when the individual isn't home and the address is difficult to reach, the driver may leave the package on the premesis in a "non-obvious" area so that he doesn't have to return. I guess a recycle bin and a tree are UPS's idea of protecting me from thieves... Of course all of this ignores the fact that I was home all day on the day that BOTH of these deliveries were supposedly made...
    • This sort of thing happens all the time at my house, and it's not just UPS - it's also the postal service. My house has three apartments and two front doors. The doors have package delivery instructions in the window. UPS and the postal service routinely ignore the instructions.

      The postal service frequently leaves packages on the front porch in full view of the street. The house is on the most major street in town, in the most densely populated city in the US. Sometimes they leave all the mail there, too, even though we have mail slots. There's also almost always someone home in the house who can receive a package.

      I got angry about it and called the post office to complain and they blew me off, telling me they're allowed to do that. So, I called the postal police. (Did you know the postal service has not one but three internal police agencies?) I took my time and called each one and said, in the most innocent voice I could manage, that I don't know what the rules are and I don't know if they were the right person to be talking to but it just doesn't seem right for them to leave our mail on the front porch in full view of the street in the most densely populated city in the country and then tell me it's okay because it's "a secure place", and could they please help me? (Imagine me trying to flutter big eyelashes over bambi eyes here.) The postal police got all indignant on my behalf and told me they'd look into it - all three branches.

      None of them ever told me which one was the right one to be talking to, but it *did* get me a phone call from the postmaster, who sounded nervous and promised to make the problem stop happening. The postal service still leaves packages on the porch, but where they can't be seen from the street, and I haven't found the general envelopes-and-magazines mail on the porch again since.

      UPS doesn't seem to give a damn. They just leave the packages in plain sight. We've had packages ripped open and robbed, or just stolen entirely. We just tell whoever was shipping to us and then they have to deal with UPS.

      This week I received a package via UPS, and they left it on the porch. They clearly were trying to do something "non-obvious"... so they took my recycle bin and put it on its side and placed the package behind it... so from the street it looked for all the world as if a child had made a clumsy attempt at hiding a package on the porch. (They could have just put it in the corner of the porch which isn't visible from the street, but no...) Of course I was home at the time, and they didn't ring my bell.

      Airborne is the only delivery service that seems to do a good job here. They ring the doorbell, wait for me to answer the door, and get my signature, every time.
  • by osjedi ( 9084 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @08:03PM (#2572149)
    I am very sorry that your equipment was damaged, but you made some very fatal mistakes.

    1) Posted in the UPS center where you shipped your equipment are guidelines for packing matterial and minimum crush-strength box matterial for various size/weight packages. Looking at your pictures I can see that your box did NOT meet those guidelines. I can see this just by looking at the pictures.

    2) Insurance for your package would have cost $0.35 per $100. That's only $10.50US to insure your shipment for $3,000. I called and verified this for a Canada-to-US shipment.

    3) Remember: Your package rides conveyor belts, slides down shutes, is loaded and unloaded on delivery vans, tractor-trailers, and train cars. It travels thousands of miles along with 10's of thousands of other packages some of which may weigh as much as 177lb's and somebody's pakcage has to be on the bottom of the stack. That's the reality of it.

    Here are my suggestions:
    1) Buy the insurance (duh!!!!)

    2) Pack your stuff like it's going to be air-dropped. You know the packaging your G4 came in? That's how you SHOULD have packed it. If you had it would still be fine. There is a reason a new Dell comes in a box strong enough to support a VW.

    There is a reason UPS and other shippers have those packing guidelines posted. And the reason they offer insurance is for the people who don't read the shipping guidelines. Sometimes packages that are done right do get damaged, but not often.

    Shippers dont' intentionally harm your packages. The damage most likely occured durring transit in a tractor-trailer or box-car. The employees don't kick and drop packages. They just don't. UPS is VERY consious of this. If you are seen intentionally damaging a package you are FIRED ON THE SPOT. I saw a guy get a written warning for dropping a package just 6 inches. I saw another guy get fired for eating a jolly-rancher candy that fell out of a damaged package.

    I'm sorry your equipment was damaged. I know you are upset and I know it sucks when this sort of thing happens. I hope my comments will help you avoid having this happen to you again.

    TIP: if you want to ship something and absolutely insure it's safety, ship it in a hard plastic cooler. They come in all sizes and are the most indistructible thing you'll ever find. People ship fragile scientific instruments back and forth in GOTT coolers (with the lits taped down) all the time and they never get damaged. I know you can't get a mid-tower pc in one, but I just thought I'd mention it.
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @08:45PM (#2572398) Journal
    Most of the time I've used UPS, things have gone well. However, one time I sent rare piece of artwork I had bought at an auction via UPS to myself, as I was on vacation. It was mounted on cardboard. I packed it correctly, making sure UPS was properly warned not to bend it.

    Surprise, when I recieved the package at home, it had been bent. The mounting cardbord had been totally destroyed. Fortunately, I was able to remount it at the place I got it framed, though there is a permanent crease in the piece towards the top that is noticable in bright lighting, if you know what you are looking for.

    This kind of peeves me to this day, since there are only two copies of this in existance. The artist has the other one.

  • You pack like a girl (Score:3, Informative)

    by dragononthepotomac ( 137373 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @10:17PM (#2572766) Homepage
    I know you are upset but this is partly your fault. Bubble wrap means nothing and cardboard and bubblewrap does not equate to good packing. How do I know? I worked nights for UPS for 4 years unloading, loading, and sorting customer packages. I currently ship 2-3 packages every day for my wife's home based business.

    Check out the Anal Retentive Packer! He gets it mostly right.

    So how do you ship a computer by UPS or anyone else and get it there looking good?

    1. Hire a pro who knows what they are doing to to pack it using foam fill and other professional toys you don't have at home. The $60 or $70 you would have paid looking not so bad now.

    I have to do this on a budget can you teach me to pack like a man? OK.

    1. Box in a Box. This is a cardinal rule of packaging. You have an outer container that is reinforced rigid. You can cut sheets of styrofoam for braces which are cheap (Home Depot or Lowes look near the insulation). Provide dead area space or fill with peanuts to the inner container or brace which holds your equipment firmly. Consider shrinkwrap or lightweight plactic trash bag taped around the equipment to keep out dust and smushed packing material. Gateway and Dell usually just use custom fit styrofoam braces in new boxes and that works fine. You may have to improvise here.

    2. Use NEW cardboard boxes. If you can afford a killer rig you can afford some new cardboard boxes. At least get ones that are LIKE NEW. The corners should be unbent, not covered in tape, no holes where holes don't belong. The reality is that boxes in poor shape get only get worse during shipping and get less respect by many handlers (not to be mean but if it's hard to pickup because the corners are all soft it's not going to get the best possible handling). Find some Gateway or Dell boxes that your neighbors are tossing after unwrapping the new system.

    3. Minimize the time in the system as much as you can afford. Ship 2 day or 3 day service avoiding the lowest common denominator of ground service if you can. Every day in the system is a day exposed to danger. Dell charges you $100 shipping do you think they make much profit on that? They pack well and probably don't make a lot of money on shipping.

    4. Make sure you include written shipto, shipfrom, contents list inside the package (both if you paid attention to 1 above).

    5. Strap it on the outside securely with heavy duty shipping tape (spend $5,$10 at stapes or your home improvement store).

    6. If it's worth $2K or $3K insure it!

    Your goal is that you should be able to drop the box 2 feet or kick it hard with a work boot and the contents have a fighting chance. Don't expect sleep deprived college students to baby you package regardless of weather you label it fragile or not.

    Your package should NOT rattle or shift weight around when tipped side to side.

    Good Luck!
  • by djweso ( 230770 ) on Thursday November 15, 2001 @10:52PM (#2572878) Homepage

    Would be nice to hear from any UPS employees reading this about what could have led to the damage jutus illustrates.

    I worked for UPS in West Michigan for about a year [1999-2000]. One of my jobs was to unload a semi full of IBM desktops, thinkpads, NEC monitors, and HP printers and scanners [some other computer items] every night. This ment hundreds of desktops went through my hands in the matter of 1 hour or less [my shift was only 4 hours]. Although they were not handled with kid gloves, I never saw one that ended up like that. Trust me when I tell you that if that had come through our site we would've heard about it from our managers.

    However, I have seen pacakages this bad or worse. It happens. The logistics of moving insane amounts of packages in short periods of time mean that problems are bound to arise. Plus there is a serious human factor involved. Tired, hurried, inexperienced, or lazy workers can cause this sort of thing. Also managers directly effect the quality of the work being done. UPS has the training to properly handle packages out there, but like anywhere, it's up to the workers and managers to implement.

    I can't say much about claims, other than that they tell us the amounts that they pay out every year and its hefty.

    As to what could've led to this, any number of things. A bad wall [imagine a giant game of tetris in a semi] could have done it, a jam in a chute, it could've gotten caught on the belt, or even a mad worker [it happens, fast food workers spit in your burger too]. Another possiblity is that heavy packages [over 70#s] were sent too early on the belt and crushed the pachages. Heavy packages are saved until the end of the night to try and prevent this.

    One last thing November and December are the times of the year to be extra careful about packaging and the like. The numbers of packages that are handled during these times of the year increase significantly.


  • E-Gads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Splat ( 9175 ) on Friday November 16, 2001 @06:00AM (#2573753)
    Thought I'd chime in with the rest of the Slashdot crowd - wow, that sucks.

    Now for my brief defense of UPS.

    At work we frequently ship at least one RMA'd monitor back and forth each week to Gateway (we're in PA.) These monitors go into cardboard boxes that are very thin with nothing but foam support each end of the monitor.

    I have never encountered any shattered monitors or DOA ones that don't work right out of the box. We've never received any calls from Gateway asking where a box might be either. For large 60 pound 17" monitors to travel halfway across the country in thin boxes with barely any protection and survive is amazing.

    There are isolated incidents of jackasses in every industry everywhere. There has been a whole lot of generalizing in the discussion about how "every UPS guy" does this. Unfortunately, the number of comments like mine pointing this out seems to be less then people willing to hope on the bandwagon to trash UPS. I'm not denying these things DON'T happen, but I've never encountered any problems in numerous shipments with UPS.

    Caveat emperor, insure.
  • by hexx ( 108181 ) on Friday November 16, 2001 @11:13AM (#2574484)
    This comes from an extensive history of long distance computer shipments... Boston to LA, LA to Jacksonville, Jax to Seattle, Seattle to NYC, etc.

    1. Use the MFG's original boxes if you saved them. If not, :

    2. Do not use loose fill (otherwise known as peanuts) to pack your equipment, neither FedEx not UPS will pay on claims where this was used (been burned twice).

    3. Double Box! This is a necessity. It may seem stupid, but if you double box almost any claim will go through without question. (You can use loose fill in between the boxes).

    4. Take photos BEFORE and take photos AFTER (preferably upon delivery, with the driver or truck in the picture, snap with him walking away if you need to).

    5. If the box is damaged, have the driver (deliverer) note this. Make sure he/she does.

    6. If you ordered something from a store and the box is damaged, just refuse it.

    7. Pray.

    Now remember, FedEx is NOT a box shipper. They like to deliver letters (big money, small hassle), and thus I have had MUCH better luck with UPS. But here it's trying to choose the lesser of two evils.

    Hope this helps someone. I've lost way too many computers in shipping.

    On a side note, in college I shipped a 'cinder block' from Boston to Pittsburgh. UPS broke it. No joke.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky