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Excessive Tech Packaging? 206

fraew wonders: "I just received a Microsoft Partner Program package in the usual MSDN sized box (34cm x 25cm x 11cm) that contained a single A5 piece of paper. Nothing more. Previously I've had RAM DIMMs and PCI cards double-boxed in boxes that approached the size of a computer case, so what is the worst example of excessive tech packaging you've received?"
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Excessive Tech Packaging?

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  • This. [bestlove.net]
  • Paper is a friggin' waste to recycle. It's biodegradable for one. The tree's used to make it in the U.S. all come from tree farms. These trees are grown specifically for this purpose, so no one is running into virgin forests cutting down all the trees for paper. There does exist opposing research for both sides on the topic of set asides and the increased cost to consumers for packaging. I think the cost difference is negligible and definitely worth the process of forest conservation. On the topic of pollut

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:14AM (#15916659)
      "7) Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp's low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and its creamy color lends itself to environmentally-friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical by-products."

      Keep in mind that this yield is per harvest - and hemp harvests occur much more frequently than tree harvests. After all, hemp is a weed, and grows very fast.

      http://www.thehia.org/facts.html [thehia.org]
      • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:37AM (#15916755) Homepage
        Being that I am currently writing a book on the topic, I feel qualified to say this 1 acre of hemp will produce up to 3 times as much paper pulp as 1 acre of timber On top of that you get up to 4 yields a year when it is 7 years for 1 yield of timber..So lets do the math Lets say 1 acre produces 100 sheets of paper for timber, over 7 years that is 14.2 sheets of paper per acre per year on timber 1 acre of hemp will produce 300 sheets of paper, 4 times a year which is 1200 sheets of peper per acre per year timber=14.2 hemp=1200 which one would you decide to grow?
        • I can't dispute your facts, and they agree with what I've heard in the past.

          But if this is the case, why would paper companies not be bribing our congresspeople to allow this? Wouldn't it cost them less than the bribes to cut down forests?

          Can it really be the "anti-drug" fervor is keeping these huge corporations from reaping (pun intended) immensely higher profits without the need to deal with "enviro-nuts"?
          • I always heard it was the cotton industy that lobbied to make hemp illegal.
          • Well, there is a form of hemp (Santhica) that doesn't have any THC in it. There are also forms with so little THC that it would be pointless to smoke. (you would get buzzed from lack of oxygen or too much Co2 before the THC had an effect)

            If this was true then i'm not sure why that hemp isn't mass produced for this purpose. For that matter why isn't hemp mass produced for this purpose in other countries were is isn't politicly incorect? I know organic fiber ropes and stuff loose thier tensile strngth and rot
            • If this was true then i'm not sure why that hemp isn't mass produced for this purpose. For that matter why isn't hemp mass produced for this purpose in other countries were is isn't politicly incorect?

              And the simple answer to that question is: bingo. Hemp _is_ mass-produced already all over Europe (both eastern and western), and even in Canada. I don't know if anyone makes paper out of it, or not, but I do know that it is in fact mass-produced. At the moment only the USA has the weird "hemp == marijuana" at

              • Mass produced for what? Err i mean what industry or final product. I did a quick google search and came up with some fringe groups selling non-THC seeds and some small amounts of cloathing materials and a shit load of papers saying it would be a good idea to use hemp for everything from gasoline to toiletpaper.

                And as far as i know, the Hemp==marijuana attitude is only because the THC in industrial hemp (less then 1%THC) as well as two cannibiods can be extracted and used as a drug. I'm not sure if this is r
        • Being that I am currently writing a book on the topic, I feel qualified to say this 1 acre of hemp will produce up to 3 times as much paper pulp as 1 acre of timber. So lets do the math Lets say 1 acre produces 100 sheets of paper for timber, over 7 years that is 14.2 sheets of paper per acre per year on timber 1 acre of hemp will produce 300 sheets of paper, 4 times a year which is 1200 sheets of peper per acre per year timber=14.2 hemp=1200 which one would you decide to grow?

          The problem is - your math an

        • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @08:35AM (#15918099) Journal
          1200 sheets of peper per acre per year timber=14.2 hemp=1200 which one would you decide to grow?

          Grammar of this sentence suggests too much hemp.
      • That might be, but hemp's got this whole "political correctness" thing going against it.
  • by boog3r ( 62427 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:56PM (#15916580)
    How about the P-P-P-Powerbook [zug.com]?
  • Shipping package (Score:3, Informative)

    by Akardam ( 186995 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:58PM (#15916591)
    I don't know about the actual boxes, but we just got 3x software boxes (standard book sized), one each in a 1' cubed shipping box. This from one of the largest distributors in the country.

    Talk about driving up the shipping price...
  • by FueledByRamen ( 581784 ) <sabretooth@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:01AM (#15916602)
    No, not laptop batteries; CMOS batteries. Standard CR2032 button cells. We had a batch of machines (SX270), a few of which shipped with CMOS batteries going bad, so we RMA'd for 5 new CMOS batteries. (as was policy at the time -- might as well get all of our warranty support that we can, and such.)

    We received a box about 12 x 12 x 8 inches. This box contained 5 inner boxes, each about the size of a standard retail software box. Inside each box, the top and bottom were covered in eggcarton foam. In the center of each box was a single CMOS battery.
  • by palndrumm ( 416336 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:01AM (#15916604) Homepage
    Yesterday we got what sounds like the exact same package. A big box containing nothing but a single slip of paper... why they couldn't stick it in an envelope (or even just an email) is beyond me. I can only assume Microsoft has paid FedEx some massive amount for a bulk lot of as many of those boxes as they feel like sending, because we always get the same sized box from MS, whether it's a dozen CDs plus technical documentation, or a just a single CD or piece of paper.

    The other one I always wonder about is why Dell feels the need to seal every single component inside the box of a new PC in plastic, even if it's just a single sheet of paper...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:10AM (#15916636)
    "so what is the worst example of excessive tech packaging you've received?""

    The browser that slashdot came in.
  • by MadLep ( 61542 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:11AM (#15916643) Homepage
    Bought a tiny home firewall online. About 15cm x 10cm x 3cm (6in x 4in x 1in for the metrically impaired).

    First the firewall was bubble wrapped. OK. Then the bubble wrap had a cardboard support. Fine. Then the OEM box box - this is where it starts to get crazy. That was easily 40cm x 20cm x 10cm. It was shrink wrapped, and then wrapped in another layour of bubble wrap by the reseller, and packed with scrunched up newspaper. It was then put in another box which must have been about 60cm x 40cm x 20cm. All of which was taped up and put inside a courier bag.

    Now I'm not keen on damaged mail order goods, but that is just getting silly.
  • by brsmith4 ( 567390 ) <brsmith4.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:12AM (#15916649)
    I recently purchased two StoreEdge units with about 12 TB of storage... each unit has two power supplies and hence requires two power cords. Each cord came packaged in its own box, the size of a thick laptop with the four boxes arriving inside another larger box. Each piece of software, of which they shipped two copies, was also shipped in some weird boxing while arriving inside the box the unit itself came in.

    Totally fucking absurd. Why the hell do four powercables need to be shipped in four separate boxes? Why do CDs already in sleeves, need to be boxed twice before being put into yet another box?

    Sorry for the rant. That experience really brought out the violently fanatic "environmentalist" in me. It reminded me of an endless matrioshka sans the artistic angle.
    • Sun is horrible about power cables. The worst part is that there's basically no way to say "Don't bloody send them," and we can't use the ones they provide. They send a wall plug cable, we need C13 cables for the rack power management we use. Each power cable, no matter what you buy, is shipped in an oversized box, from a different warehouse (usually). Frackin' ridiculous.
  • I once got a power cable air-freighted from Malaysia. Don't ask me what Dell thought they were doing! (It apparently was supposed to go with a server we'd ordered).

    What's even funnier is that I didn't find out what was in the box until *after* I'd been notified that it had been delivered to a building across town, and that the courier company had to go and pick it up from there and deliver it to me at the proper location, for free courtesy of their screwup.
  • by 200_success ( 623160 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:17AM (#15916668)

    The Logitech V200 cordless mouse [logitech.com] comes in plastic packaging that is so thick [blogspot.com], I would say that a circular saw is the most appropriate tool for opening it. It's probably at least twice as thick as it needs to be. I think that the only explanation for that is to make you so thoroughly mangle the package that you would feel bad about returning it if you change your mind.

    • I just received the same mouse.

      The packaging is just theft proof, cant hide it under your shirt and cant break it easily.

      I almost lost the blade on my box cutter, and still had to wrestle the mouse out of it.
    • You know overpackaging of consumer electronics is bad when you can buy a special implement specifically designed to open it [myopenx.com].

      (I have one of these. It's well worth $5. I don't work for the company though.)
      • A good pair of scissors or even kitchen shears will open any of these hard plastic heat-sealed packages. You just make your cut on the first flat surface to the inside of the heat-sealing line. I've opened literally hundreds of them this way. The idea that someone would spend even $5 on this little widget good for only one thing, that will sit in a drawer when you're not opening these packages, when a pair of scissors will do the job... it just makes me shake my head.
    • Try shelling out for a decent folding knife. Scissors are pretty useless, as you describe, and razor blades are often too thin, but a sharp knife with a good blade will go right through just about any plastic packaging. Something like this [actiongear.com] is nice because you can find 'em on sale and they're good enough to do the job.
      • All good nerds should have a leatherman! I've lost count of the number of occasions that having a leatherman saved my hide. The screw driver in em is about perfect for PC screws, the sharp knife (made from high grade steel) opens almost anything, including fingers if not careful, and there are a host of other tools including a bottle opener for those home made root beers that you put in pop-top bottles.
        • All good nerds should know that the gerber multi-tool beats the living daylights out of the leatherman. Even the "wave" leatherman is harder on your hands when using the pliers than the base model gerber. Gerber also makes some of the best blades on the planet, and the blades in their multi-tool are no exception. The normal blade is a fairly ordinary and lower-end gerber blade, it's plenty sharp but not nearly as impressive as the saw, which lasts fucking forever and is damned near sharp enough to shave wi

      • Sorry, that knife isn't decent at all. I've had one of those and it's just a piece of shit. Get a good knife:

        Columbia River Knife & Tool [crkt.com]
        Benchmade [benchmade.com]
        SOG [sogknives.com]

        These companies make about the nicest mass produced (not handmade) folders you can buy. They are a little expensive, but well worth it. The models I linked too are just personal preference.
  • When I ordered a mini-DVI to DVI adapter from Apple (it fits in my hand... it's just two ends with a little 2" stretch of wire) it came in the box that looked like it could ship a couple large tech manuals. Why? I never understood.
  • by jgaynor ( 205453 ) <jon@gaLISPynor.org minus language> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:30AM (#15916725) Homepage
    disclaimer: not my picture - found it on 4chan /G [4chan.org] (probably nsfw) a while ago and saved it because it was so damn funny. Anyway here it is - an SD card and it's packaging [gaynor.org] (from newegg if I remember correctly).
    • You beat me to it -- I was going to post the pic of the microSD card which shipped in that same sized box, also from Newegg. The card is literally smaller than my fingernail, and shipped in a box which could hold THOUSANDS of them.
  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:33AM (#15916740)
    I recently got some telecom equipment (DS3 Mux, patch panels, etc.). It arrived in several medium to large sized boxes. I opened one. Under a large wad of paper padding was....one patch cable for the mux. No, not a big cable but a thin 18" cable. In another box was...the other patch cable. I kept opening similar boxes till there was a very small pile of equipment and a huge pile of boxes and paper in the middle of the room.
  • by smbarbour ( 893880 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:34AM (#15916745)
    If overkill on media counts, I once bought a copy of the original EGA version of Lemmings. It came on a 5 1/4" CD. The data itself was a total of 512K. The game would have fit on a double -density 5 1/4" floppy.

    Now if we are talking about shipping packages, I receive 1 or 2 floppy disks per month via overnight FedEx from one of our data vendors. It comes in a padded FedEx envelope stuffed in a small FedEx shipping box. The real kicker: The files on the disk are e-mailed to us as well. We have never used the content from the actual disks. I just peel off the labels and add them to a stack at my desk.
    • by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @05:47AM (#15917585)
      To back up the other reply:-

      My father, a medical statistician, was one of the authors of a book on skeletal maturity http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0702025119/ref=sr _11_1/002-0416510-2702407?ie=UTF8 [amazon.com]. I was asked to provide a program to accompany the book so that paedeatricians wouldn't need to do the complex maths that goes from measuring x-rays to assessing growth. This was a simple VC++ routine which came to less than 200Kb. The publishers insisted that it should be on a CD, not a floppy, because

      • They were geared up to use CDs
      • The end users couldn't be guaranteed to have a floppy drive available
      So, in packaging terms the space wastage was enormous, but in marketing terms it was the sensible decision.
      • The publishers insisted that it should be on a CD, not a floppy...in packaging terms the space wastage was enormous, but in marketing terms it was the sensible decision.

        I don't get how it wasted space (unless you mean data capacity). Most CDs included in books are in plastic or paper envelopes glued inside the back cover. A floppy is rather too thick to do that, it would need to be separately packaged. Also, it's a lot easier, and cheaper, to press CDs than floppies nowadays. I doubt there are many plac

        • Most CDs included in books are in plastic or paper envelopes glued inside the back cover. A floppy is rather too thick to do that, it would need to be separately packaged.

          Before everyone had a CD-ROM drive, books and magazines used to come with 3.5" floppies. Some of them even came with 5.25" floppies, which are at least flexible. Either way, you're wrong, and I call shenanigans. None of those floppies were ever bad when I got them.

    • Um... a double-density, double-sided 5.25" floppy holds only 360KB.
      • Until you use a hole punch to create a new notch on the other side, allowing you to flip it over and write to both sides.
        • Um... a double-density, double-sided 5.25" floppy holds only 360KB.
          Until you use a hole punch to create a new notch on the other side, allowing you to flip it over and write to both sides.

          Quit now while you're not so far behind.
    • It came on a 5 1/4" CD.

      Did they at least point you in the direction of a company that manufactures a 5-1/4" CD drive?
    • If overkill on media counts, I once bought a copy of the original EGA version of Lemmings. It came on a 5 1/4" CD. The data itself was a total of 512K. The game would have fit on a double -density 5 1/4" floppy.

      Really? I could have sworn that 500kB > 360kB.

      You would need a high density 5.25" floppy to hold a 500kB game.

  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:38AM (#15916760) Homepage
    A perfectly normal serial cable, 3 meters long. It was sent by Digital to use with a PDP-11 in the datacenter. The cable was wound a few times to about 60cm diameter and put in an antistatic bag. The bag was put in one of those white, silky paper-like protection bags, wrapped in bubble-wrap and placed in a flat cardboard box, about 70x70x10cm. That box had been placed in the center of a box around 100x100x60cm, surrounded by those plastic impact-resistant "beans".

    No wonder that company went under.
  • by dreamer-of-rules ( 794070 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:39AM (#15916762)
    UPS delivered a large box to our work about 30"x20"x12".. nearly large enough for the tape library we ordered. Inside was some plastic balloon padding and another heavy-duty shipping box about the size of a briefcase. Inside that was a tiny box containing a plastic bag containing a stupid promotional pen... and the warranty paper for the Quantum tape library.

    The pen is pinned to my cubicle wall. I think I referred to the warranty paper once.
  • The stupid Advanced iLo packs often come in a 12"x8"x8" box that contains a bunch of padding and a padded envelope that contains a cd case that has zero value, and the license number attached. They could just email me the license number or print it on a certificate with the server or something, but no I have to fill the dumpsters and landfills with this kind of crap.
  • Shipping Weight (Score:4, Informative)

    by bn557 ( 183935 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @12:55AM (#15916812) Homepage Journal
    Every box has 2 weights to it as far as the shippers are concerned: physical weight, and volumetric weight.
    What probably happens is:


    the manufacturer finds the optimum box size to relay the information they want on the box, then adjust that for the box that some number of them fit into, finally making adjustments for pallet packing. This final packaged box weight may or may not fall under the physical weight of the item. The reseller then has to add to the packaging when they send it to the consumer.


    The reseller gets a bunch of parts together in some sort of skid container which needs packaging to be put into a box. These resellers get discounts when they order larger quantities of the boxes, and they know that customers hate paying a ton for shipping a trivial sizes, so they get boxes that they know the volumetric weight of. 13x9x7 inches is the rough 'universal' size in the industry I'm in that you can ship UPS and it will be 1lb by volume. 13x13x9 is the 1 lb by volume for air shipments.
  • maximum pc (Score:2, Funny)

    by spoop ( 952477 )
    Maximum PC magazine received a few hard drives for review from a manufacturer they would not name, about a year about. What were they packaged in? Four CRATES, yes WOODEN CRATES, three of which were completely empty.
  • Have you seen some of the plastic packages for SD cars and the like? Tiny like 1 inch SD card framed in piece of plastic over 12 inches long and almost as wide.

    • I find the actual packaging slightly smaller - but bloody awkward to open. But then our work supplier will stick a single card in the same sized box that a shipment of 10 would come in. Yet for other stuff they'll use a sturdy envelope.

  • A $40 512MB SD Card from Tiger Direct in a shoebox. Really, an email to replace the catalog and a USPS stamped envelope would have increased their margins 10 fold.

  • by DaphneDiane ( 72889 ) * <tg6xin001@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:16AM (#15916884)
    I'd ordered several software licensees for a Unix C++ compiler. Eventually a large box showed up at my cube. It was a full size computer/monitor box. Probably about 3 foot by 3 foot by 4 foot. Inside that box was another slightly smaller box that had a shipping label that showed that it had been shipped to from another facility to the facility that had shipped the larger box. Inside this box was yet another shipping box also with a label, inside that was a large legal size manila envelope with a mailing label. Inside of that was a white envelope (no mailing label this time). And finally inside of that was a single 4" by 5" sheet of paper containing one of the software license. I found it amazing that that sheet of paper made traveled through so many shipping facilities, each time getting another layer of boxes before finally arriving.

    The next license arrived similarly packed (only the large computer size box wasn't used for it.) My only guesses are either they wanted to impress upon us how valuable/expensive the license was, or that they had some sort of standardized shipping process that assumed everything was workstations.
  • I buy TurboTax every year to do my taxes. The box has only gotten slightly smaller (along with the typical PC game/software box) but the contents of it have shrunk: first a manual, then a quick start guide, then a single sheet, then a CD in a plastic tray, then just a CD. The outside of the box has all sorts of colorful fold-out panels to tell you all about the software, but there is literally just a CD, inside a paper sleeve, in the box.

    Next year, I expect they'll start shipping boxes containing only a f
  • Ee (Score:3, Funny)

    by Konster ( 252488 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:09AM (#15917047)
    This is nothing.

    I have you ALL beat.

    I recently ordered Suse 10.1 and it arrived on DVD's...LOTS of them. They put a single bit on each DVD, in which was placed in a DVD box, which was wrapped in plastic, placed in a cardboard box, wrapped in bubble wrap, then placed into another box which was then labelled and shipped.
  • There is packaging and there is packaging. Apple packs "excessively", but it is fun: My iPod and iSight both involved flipping things around and having little messages appear and whatnot. What makes it fun is that somebody actually took the time to sit down and think about how the user will be opening the box instead of how they can save as much money as possible. The fact that somebody went to that trouble is, well, touching. It's a marketing trick, sure, but a fun marketing trick.

    Now, if I just knew wha

  • Dell (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @03:42AM (#15917277) Journal
    Received a box about the size of three stacked PC case PSUs. On opening it we initially though it was empty, but when we read the manifest, sure enough there was a two inch sticker in there which according to the instructions (!) was to be stuck onto a Dell cabinet that had been delivered the week before.
  • We actually had a chip shipped to us as it was a preproduction mobo (early LGA board IIRC).

    The box was about 2 feet by 2 feet and about 10 inches deep. Inside that was shaped polystyrene. Inside that were poly peanuts, inside _THAT_ was a small black plastic box (abnout 2 inches square), inside that was some more antistat foam inside which was a miniscule BIOS flash chip (about 2 cm square and 3 mill deep).

  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @04:47AM (#15917437)
    Reading a few of these, they can be excused away at least somewhat: They're for one-off items, that perhaps the company just put into one of the boxes they had on hand.

    The ones that bug the hell out of me are the big companies that ship stuff completely overpackaged *routinely* for completely standard items.

    Example 1: Dell Latitude notebooks. They come in a 2'x2'x2' box. Inside this are a few smaller boxes, suspended in the middle with some foam standoffs. Open those up, and there's more foam surrounding the notebook. Open another one, bigger than the entire notebook, with cardboard standoffs holding the battery. Open another one that has documentation and CDs, each wrapped in plastic. I'd estimate that 80% of the packaging is air space. Of the 20% non-air, 50% is foam. By comparison, Macbooks come very nicely packed. We can fit 10 macbooks in their packaging inside one Dell notebook box, with plenty of rattling around room to spare. This is particularly annoying, because it takes up HUGE amounts of storage space for us. We have to at least shed the outer box to compress things down before they go in the store room.

    Example 2: Ordering keyboards from HP. Just a keyboard. Basic model. They take the keyboard and put it in plastic. Then they put that into a box (#1).

    If you order a keyboard a la carte, they have another box, #2, custom made just the right size to fit Box #1, so they can ship it to you. This seems to be done for the purpose of having a different ordering number for the unit. IE, the part code for a PC means you get a box with a PC, a manual, and a Box #1. The part code for a keyboard means a box with a Box #1.

    If you order 10 keyboards, they put 10 Box #2s into an aggregator box, Box #3.

    Then they put Box #3 into a shipping box, Box #4, which gets the shipping label.

    Thus, boxes:

    #1: Protect the keyboard
    #2: Add a part code
    #3: Bundle 10 keyboards together
    #4: Place to put the shipping label

    It's almost like the joke recursive gift box I saw a friend get for their birthday one year.

    • One reason some companies use large boxes, multiple boxes, boxes with lots of air, boxes with lots of foam/packing peanuts etc for products that are being shipped is to protect them if some UPS/FedEx/etc lacky plays "package football" with the box (I dont know if said lackies go out of their way to damage packages but everything I have heard suggests they arent exactly carefull either)
    • It actually makes some sense. Every item has a shock limit, measured in Gs. Sensitive avionics can be down in the 15-20G (multiples of gravity) range. CRT monitors are somewhere around 75G on average. Typical fine dinnerware goes about 100-125G.

      Here's the key - take the box drop height and divide it by the distance from the nearest point of your item to the nearest point on the outer box. That is the minimum G force your item will receive if you have the perfect packaging material for that exact drop. You c
  • Here [imageshack.us]'s a picture of the box a mousepad I bought recently came in. The mousepad is about 25x20x1cm, the box 70x50x20cm (conversion to inches is left as an excercise to the reader). But what made me really laugh is the fact that they apparently couldn't fit in the other item of the order, a Logitech V270. So they sent it in a second box. No wonder they charge $10 for shipping...

  • I've gotten some teflon mouse stickers (that could have been sent in a small envelope, really) in a 1ft x 3in x 3in Fedex box, packaged with styrofoam and bubble wrap. This was from newegg, sadly.
  • I recently took 2 car-loads of workstations, servers, printers & accessories over to a client.
    I returned with 1 car-load of packaging.

    While installing the kit, I managed to build a floor-to-ceiling fort in their reception area :D
  • by leonbrooks ( 8043 ) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @05:45AM (#15917580) Homepage
    Mandriva CD into DVD drive, Linux on hard disk, never used MS-Windows or its CD since.

    Waste of time OEM installing Win or packaging up the CD for it.
  • Two meters of this [maplin.co.uk] came in a tube that was 1.5 meters long.

    On receipt I wound it round my fist and shoved it into a small bag.

    I also love the way some tools and bike parts are packaged. I one bought an avid disk brake rotor and mech. They could have delivered the the parts by firing them out of a cannon and they would still work. But no, they packaged it in a plastic tray , in a box, inside bubble wrap, inside another box, inside a waterproof bag.

  • Because the plastic tube they were in was so long (i ordered 20) it arrived in a box that was 12"x12"x48".
  • You know the kind I am talking about - it would be fine if you could just pull it apart, but it is "welded" together. So you pull out a heavy duty utility knife 'cause not even a pocket knife will do it. Then you have to figure out where to pull your cut through this incredibly tough plastic - better hope you don't go through the manual cause it is hard to RTFM when it has been shredded. I can't tell you how many times I have come close to my nifty new mp3 player (or whatever) with the knife. After you have
    • I also know why they do it, because f*ckwit elements of our society seem to deem it better to steal than to "do without" (or make do with what you got, or buy used) like normal people would. Thus, this packaging. One a-hole ruining it for the rest of us, and all that.

      I don't have to tell you how many times I have cut myself open on such packaging. What I have found works best for most packages like this is a set of heavy-duty kitchen shears. Pick up some made out of steel if you can find them (they won't be

  • I once receive 5 double boxed packages where the inner box could hold a laptop, the out box could hold a small desktop, and the contents were 1 sheet of paper each where I had ordered 5 software licenses. The could have atleast packed the 5 sheets of paper in one over sized over packaged box.

    These boxes were delivered over 2 days by FedEx. Wish I still had the pictures I took of the boxes and their contents.

    Do I win?
  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:23AM (#15919057) Journal
    There's been plenty of naming and shaming in this story so far. How about mentioning a few outfits that aren't wasteful? I'd like to direct some positive attention towards companies that pack appropriately.

    As an example, I recently ordered some laptop RAM from OemPCWorld.com. I didn't have good specs on what modules would work, so I ordered 3, planning to return 2. According to their return policy [oempcworld.com], this is cool.

    What arrived in the mail was a letter-size FedEx cardboard envelope. Inside that was my receipt and a half-size USPS cardboard return envelope, post-paid, which I'd added to my order to facilitate the return. Inside that were three tiny antistatic mylar bags, each with an SODIMM in it.

    Absolutely perfect. I couldn't have packed it better if I'd tried; there was no wasted space, the 2 layers of cardboard provided more than enough protection against flex, and the whole thing weighed just a few ounces.

    Another company that does things right: BG Micro [bgmicro.com]. Recently ordered about $30 worth of stuff from them, some small tools, a few components, nothing huge. They wedged it all into the standard textbook-sized USPS box. The fragile bits were protected in individual boxes within, but most of the durable stuff just got a turn of bubble wrap, if that. It was sensible, and everything was in perfect shape when it arrived.

    Another: Minimus [minimus.biz]. Does it bother you that the average first-aid kit contains about a 3:1 ratio of bandages to antiseptic wipes? Shouldn't it be the other way around? I wanted to properly equip my kit, but Ididn't want to buy a box of 1,000 alcohol or iodine wipes. Thanks to Minimus, I didn't have to. They carry everything from ketchup and mustard packets, to single-use bug repellent towelettes, all sorts of medical supplies, laundry soap, hand sanitizer, even coffee and tea. I can't say enough good things about this company. I stocked up the entire family's first-aid kits, equipped my travel bag with some laptop screen wipes, and tried a new brand of toothpaste. The whole mess came in a 5x5x4-inch box, and that still left about half the box as air space. Single-use products are the epitome of excessive packaging, but I ordered for convenience. Besides, Burn-Jel isn't something I need a gallon of.

    I'm not affiliated in any way with any of the above companies, just a satisfied customer. How about your experiences?
  • Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org] has a section at the back of the magazine called "Selling It", where they show huge mistakes in advertising. Horrible spelling errors, logical WTFs, and just plain BAD ideas like EneMan -- the enema superhero -- that somehow made it to market, actually onto shelves. They also had a Golden Cocoon award for overpackaging, which popped up every now and then in Selling It.

    Unfortunately, I can't find any examples online, but I'm sure at least some of you know what I mean.
  • We (Rio) once had three CF-sized 1in hard drives turn up on a pallet. Yeah, as in forklift. Admittedly they were pre-production samples direct from the manufacturer's labs, but even that's not really an excuse for a 3ft*3ft*2ft box.

  • A single 1.8" hard disk - admittedly, a rare engineering sample at the time, for the development of the Rio Karma - arrived in a wood-bottomed box 3 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet, complete with rope handles and one of those fork-lift compatible pallet-style bases. All the way from Japan to the UK.

    For a 1.8" hard disk. Mmmm.
  • Last Christmas, I bought my wife an iPod Nano. As a joke, I wrapped the Nano and put it in a slightly larger box which I wrapped as well. I went a little nuts with the box-in-a-box and soon had seven layers of boxes and wrapping surronding the Nano. I added a final eighth layer when my next door neighbor bought a new refridgerator.

    She forgave me when she got to the Nano.
  • "The worst example of excessive tech packaging I've received": for me this would be a giant IBM mainframe computer that came through the door in 1979 with absolutely no protective 'packaging,' but with 6 IBM techno-droids trailing along behind it.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"