Great moments in Amazon packaging: Updated and Bumped

Update: this morning there was a message on my answering machine, from an Vice President, asking me to call him in relation to this post.

I called, and he was very polite and apologetic about the packaging, which I think was a problem in that it’s an excessive box for the item, necessitating a lot of the plastic air-cushions, but much worse, the electronics are in the corner, where the damage happens, without any padding.

He tells me Amazon plans to change their packaging ‘of this product’, and others like it, in response to this blog post. It was a terrific customer service interaction. Their responsiveness is nothing short of amazing, and they’re to be commended.

And, there’s another lesson here having nothing to do with packaging: this is a semi-anonymous blog, and within a day of posting Amazon figured out who I was without any trouble whatever. Don’t think you’re anonymous on the internet.

From Amazon, today (originally posted 18MAR08 @ 1850):


This is amusing, and the electronics work, but it’s one of those “what were they thinking?” things…


  1. I’ve received several packages from Amazon just like that. Maybe they have a training video explaining the technique.

  2. I don’t get it? what did they do to the packaging?

  3. Fidel, MD says:

    The packer had that size box handy?

    I agree, wasteful and costs Amazon money. They should have better supervision. Oh, and putting the electronics on the outside of the box doesn’t protect it much at all…..

  4. Mrs. Fred says:

    You ARE going to forward this to Amazon, aren’t you??

  5. Can you complain that my wife got sick on the Disney Cruise last week for me :-) Can’t beleive they called you back – the power of RSS feeds in google.

  6. How timely! I received a package from today that must have been packed by the same idiot. A digital camera (within its own box) packed inside an Amazon box with only 1 side protected; on a second side the large bubble was completely deflated, nothing on the other 2 sides. It is a gift, so I won’t know until Sunday whether it was damaged.
    Oh, well, it is better than Target, that shipped 2 boxes of Corning Ware at Christmas in the boxes in which they are displayed in the store. Need I say they arrived as boxes of shards?

  7. I did a blog post myself a few years ago when I ordered some woodworking clamps from Amazon. They sent the 50″ clamp in a dorm-fridge-sized box, but the clamp was sticking 6″ out one corner- and taped that way! It was very obvious that the shipper just jammed the clamp in the oversized (waaay oversized) box and sent it on its way.

    Took pics and made a blogpost and everything. Check it out:
    So it doesn’t surprise me that they’d do this kind of thing.

  8. Sir Gripesalot says:

    It’s called ‘settling.’ It was packed with the item in the center of the bubble pads but as it gets tossed around in shipping the item slips past them and lands in the corner. It wasn’t deliberately packed that way.

  9. How’s this one: A ScanDisk Memory Stick Pro (2GB) arrived in a box very similar in size and volume to the one pictured above. Of course, the air-bag had been deployed (God, what that poor box might have gone through).

    But I’m NOT complaining because; 1) free shipping; 2) it came fast; 3) was exactly what I ordered.

    And after years of transactions, for my money Amazon is the best company on the planet. Period.

  10. That’s interesting. I had an affiliate account with more than a $1500 balance they owed that they simply deleted and I could get absolultely no response from them at all about it. I wish the b@stards would call me.

  11. kljkjgu6o9 says:

    What does semi-anonymous mean? How did they get your phone number?

  12. kljkjgu6o9 says:

    oh, wait, they can check the domain name registration that is public information

  13. steve miller says:

    Perhaps it’s cheaper to have just a few box sizes and then use air pillows for padding than it is to have multiple box sizes.

    I do agree the packing leaves lots of room for improvement. I’m not sure how an item in the box could shift that much – the package would have to be severely jostled. Was this sent using the Post Office? From what I know of the private carriers (UPS and FedEx) your package isn’t really tossed around much – it goes from pallet to pallet to delivery van, and doesn’t go into bins.

  14. Brother J says:

    I ordered an SD card from Amazon a couple of weeks back. It came in an approximately 6″ by 8″ by 4″ box with the same air pillow packaging. The card itself, mounted on a 4×6 card sat in the bottom of the box. In this case it was an example of extreme overkill whch I found quite amusing because the thing would have been quite safe in an ordinary brown envelope and probably would have required less postage as well.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You posted a video of yourself last month. Your name and hospital were displayed, but even if they missed that, your coat is embroidered with it… :-)

  16. Maggie45 says:

    I’m with J Roth:

    “But I’m NOT complaining because; 1) free shipping; 2) it came fast; 3) was exactly what I ordered.

    And after years of transactions, for my money Amazon is the best company on the planet. Period.”

    I have Amazon Prime…one click and the item is sent right to the person for whom it’s a gift, with free shipping for two day delivery, or next day for only $3.99. It’s the best deal ever!!!

  17. Kypdurron5 says:

    I seriously doubt if they researched you enough to find some obscure video with a name…. And your domain name just links to your hosting company. I think it’s far more likely they just searched their sales records for the past 2-3 weeks and matched up 1)Texas orders 2) single-item orders and 3) single-item electronics. Also, maybe you use the prefix “Dr.” in your Amazon registration info? Also (2), you said the package arrive “today” on 3/18, so they know the delivery date as well and could narrow the number of orders very easily. Oh also (3), your “about” page says your first name is Allen.

  18. TheNewGuy says:

    Nice to see an online retailer paying attention.

    Perhaps they’re realizing the value of viral word-of-mouth advertising… both positive AND negative.

  19. You have inspired me. I’ve been really lame about my blogging lately, feeling like nothing I type matters. Now here you are showing me that simple blog posts by regular people can get noticed and bring about change. I need to start posting regularly again.

  20. Well, they did not change much. I ordered 8 2 oz espresso shots for my business and they came in a huge box with 5 separate boxes inside and that was for only 5 shots glasses. They had to send me another big box with my forgotten 3 shot glasses. Sad to say they are still wasting the environment.



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