Why Proper Packaging Is A Good Thing

When I ordered this carton of paper, I specified “pick up at store” because I knew this would happen:

Ruptured paper carton
Ruptured paper carton

A carton weighs so much that everybody, myself included, grabs it by the straps and slings it around. Unlike them, I put it down gently, because it’s my paper… but now it’s too late.

Inside the carton, the impact shattered the paper wrapper on every one of the ten reams:

Split paper reams
Split paper reams

In the last carton I bought (admittedly, quite some time ago), Staples used plastic wrappers that gave each ream a bit more protection against abuse and the elements, but that’s been cheapnified out of existence.

I also ordered a ream of fancy heavyweight paper that pushed the order over the “Free Shipping!” threshold; I missed the fact that they auto-checked “Free Delivery!” for the whole order. Of course, that ream shipped separately and it’s now delayed by a week or two…

I could take it back, but the paper from that bottom-corner ream seems to be no more than somewhat bent, so I’ll live with it.

15 thoughts on “Why Proper Packaging Is A Good Thing

  1. This sort of thing certain does cause it problems, and mainly for the customer. It actually costs everyone involved, the customer, shipper, and retailer, due to returns and damaged shipping claims. The manufacturer is just hoping that each or all of those will just suck it up and eat the cost each time a complaint occurs. I can see a better designed package using less material that is just as effective but not just less material for the sake of cost (aka increased profit at the customer’s expense).

    I’m not sure what we can do about this sort of thing as we are all trapped. All or nearly every manufacturer does it, and everything or nearly everything is made “you know where”. I’d like to picture pitchforks and torches but I doubt that will be the case. We’re all just supposed to lay down and take it as they reduce the size and quality of everything as the price goes up … and like it.

    When was the last time you compared measurements (thickness, inner core, width) from a roll of toilet paper from 10 years ago?

    Ed, you asked for a rant … this is a hot one for me!

    1. the last time you compared measurements

      We used to buy Dobie pads for the kitchen, because they’d last approximately forever, after which we’d use them as utility scrubbers for floors and suchlike. Nowadays, Dobie pads disintegrate within two weeks and fall apart.

      Mary now plants more tomatoes so she can make pizza sauce, because Classico shrank the jars. Apparently, their customer surveys showed people would rather pay more for smaller jars than pay more for larger jars. Her version is much better!

      My buddy Aitch calls it cheapnification and that sums it up pretty well…

      1. I use jars of tomato pulp. Heck, I’d use the cheaper cans if it weren’t for Bisphenol A, because they too come with just tomatoes and some lemon juice (as a preservative). Besides some salt and herbs I see absolutely no need for any of the junk they put in premade sauces.

        1. salt and herbs

          We settled on Classico because it didn’t have sugar, but …

          I’ll nudge Mary to post her recipe. You’ll probably like it as much as we do!

  2. My paper needs were pretty modest until I started doing stuff for church, but July’s Costco run netted a case of paper. I took it off the pallet and handled it myself (IIRC, it stayed on the flat, so the cashier didn’t have to muck with it). Cost was reasonable and it looks like good paper.

    For scrubbies, we get the 3M restaurant pads (no sales tax in OR, so the regional chain-o-stores is open to the public). They are twice as big as what we need, but the diamond blade tile saw handles the entire package at once. I tried a utility knife the first time, but the diamond was a lot less fuss. FWIW, I’ve used a 4″ diamond blade in a Makita hand grinder for tile work, but this was the 10″ saw. Nice to have such tools hanging around. [grin]

    Not sure why, but jpegs with width and height specifications in the link don’t display on my Firefox. If I strip the specs (s/jpg?w=620&h=826/jpg), it displays fine. Looks like a Firefox thing, though my glacial link might be a big factor. Dialup and web >1.0 don’t play well together.

    1. 3M restaurant pads

      There’s a quasi-retail restaurant outlet around here that we’ve been managing to not drop in on all year; that’s one more item for the list!

      The Dobie pads have a mesh exterior around a sponge core, which was nice for recalcitrant pans, but it looks like we’re going to live without that…

      jpegs with width and height specifications in the link don’t display on my Firefox

      Free with WordPress: inserting a picture brings along a ton o’ specs, including the final display size.

      I use Firefox to create the posts and occasionally peek at the result with Firefox on the other boxes around here, so the hole’s probably in your end of the boat…

      FWIW, I recently bumped the image size to 1500 pixels, doubled the resolution to 300 dpi to maintain the same print size, and increased the compression to maintain my arbitrary 200 KB file size limit, so the pix are larger and, I think, better looking at the “medium” size, which is usually 620 pixels, rather than the previous 320.

      1. so the hole’s probably in your end of the boat

        OK, it’s displaying all right now. It gets tough at times. Dialup and web 2.0 means a lot of timeouts, even with up-to-date Firefox, NoScript and Adblock Plus, and I’ve noticed that the MS “Security Essentials” subtly screws up the dialup link after a database update. I’m using Win 7 on this machine, and don’t have the inclination to try a Linux partition. Downloading Slackware 12 on the other box was a big project. I might try Avast and see if it plays nicer than MSSE.

        My “best” option for broadband is satellite, but the bandwidth caps make it limited in utility for the cost. There’s a dedicated terrestrial wireless ISP, but I don’t have line of sight, and the Verizon cell option is expensive and also dubious for reception. If I can, I’ll download at the library, where they dole out 160Mb/hour slices of that terrestrial wireless. It helps that Julie’s laptop is close in configuration to the desktop box.

        1. don’t have line of sight

          Ouch! You’re way far out from the hot fast core…

          At this point, not having (what passes for) broadband is a definite downcheck for potential places-to-move.

        2. Let’s try the blockquote with proper brackets…

          hot fast core

          Yeah, life in the galactic arms can be interesting. LOS is blocked by my neighbor’s Pondorosa pines, which run 60-100 feet tall on a ridge. Another neighbor has line of sight, so go figure. The Intermountain West is like that, though. One row of hills (mountains to flatlanders [grin]) then a valley, rinse and repeat until you hit the Utah Salt Flats. If you live in a populated valley, you can get broadband, but the coyotes outnumber the people here.

          West of the Cascades, it’s a bit easier, if you like the population density, the politics, and have a tolerance for wet weather. We’re too dry, but that has some advantages. If I forget to paint a project, no problem for a year or two.

        3. On slower connections you should try to keep max connections to server and max total connections low. You say you use Firefox, so see this article on MozillaZine. I’d try 4 or possibly even 2.

          That being said, I’d also try doing more with text browsers like Links 2 and elinks, or utilizing compressing proxy servers like Opera Turbo (called Off-Road Mode in the newer, so far inferior incarnation). I also found something else, but I don’t know what the values are based on.

        4. Thanks, frenzie!

          I’ve just set max-connections to 4 (default 256(!)). I’m going to try to stay with firefox since I get to the library and its fast-ish connection often enough.

          Will look at the other configuration option article and see what makes sense.

        5. I’ve just set max-connections to 4 (default 256(!)).

          I think Firefox must’ve changed because the specific setting I mentioned doesn’t seem to exist anymore? I only see network.http.max-connections, i.e. the total for the entire browser for which 4 is probably on the low side. In any case this is the kind of thing to look into on slower connections. :)

          On faster connections the opposite applies. Increasing those values can increase your speed. Then again, defaults these days are aimed at faster connections. The Opera defaults used to be something like 4 (per server) and 16 (total); now they’re 16 and 64.

        6. I traced the change to bug 770331. Perhaps I’m wrong and it won’t make much of a difference on today’s Internet anymore? All I know is that back in the early 2000s I could get time-outs or a slower experience if I set those values too high, and I’ve experienced the same more recently on e.g. slower mobile or capped connections.

        7. Oh, I was in a hurry and didn’t give the true name. Really is network.http.max-connections OTOH, the other article lists a bunch of parameters (probably valid for FF 3.x, circa 2009) that don’t show under the same or similar names for FF 25.

          The behavior with max connections is plausible. If I open 2-3 tabs at a time, it’s fairly quick, but if it’s 4-5, it stalls. I think the few scripts I let run have a timeout, and if they don’t get something, they’ll hang.

          Sorry to hijack the thread, Ed, but the 5% (or so) of us on dialup can need a spot of help…

          1. need a spot of help…

            That’s what it’s all about!

            Maybe you can get some stimulus money or something and pull a fiber over the hill… offer to tow it back from civilization on a Costco run?

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