The majority of parcels in business to business and business to consumer trade are large shipping boxes. It is not uncommon to get a small item such as a missing PlayStation or TV controller or a wireless bluetooth mouse, for example, in a huge box. Retailers sometimes run out or do not even stock smaller shipping boxes. Books and CDs are typically well adjusted and sized – Amazon have taken this commercial frugality to the next level and ship items in proper cardboard boxes.
Shipping to friends and family may be a different task altogether. Often people try to pack and shove larger and bulkier items in small cardboard boxes. This is at the expense of improper packaging and over-abuse with packing tape and bubble wrap. Using loose and void fill is a step in the right direction. Yet, boxes with protrusions, extra heavy and looking like they are about to bust open any second are unlikely to make it. Even a small box should withstand some abuse and be prepared to survive reasonable handling and at least a three-foot free fall. Small cardboard boxes are prone to a bit more throwing and kicking severely dependent on the mood of a mailman or a delivery courier. General rule of thumb is that packages and shipping containers should be ready even for their bad days. The alternative is to deal with insurance claims and shipping delays borderline with customer frustration and aggravation.
It is always a good idea to pack responsibly and allow for some handling margin. While not everything can be planned for, some best shipping and packaging practices come into play and become relevant. Small packages should be tightly and neatly packed with custom foam or polystyrene packaging peanuts. Items inside should not slide or move freely sustaining damages in the process and they should not be in direct contact with each other or the walls of the shipping plastic or cardboard enclosure. Heavy and extra fragile items should go in large shipping boxes as placing “this side up” on their smaller counterparts might not help too much due to their tiny nature. Proper packing tape should be preferred to duct, frog or electrical tape. Filament tape is also acceptable and recommended for heavy stuff.
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