Discussion of various shipping and packing methods, tips and tricks.
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:40 pm


Post by W3WN » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:17 pm

Well, here's a new one I haven't seen before.

I worked out a swap for my TS-480SAT with a ham out in NV. Last Saturday night, removed the 480 from the shack, repackaged it back in the original box. Went out to Office Depot, bought a bigger outside box and some bubble wrap.

Wrapped the boxed rig well (well enough, I hope), placed it in the new box surrounded by "shipping air bubble" wrap that I had, filling in the gaps with some shredded newspaper. Sealed and addressed the box. So, all is well, right?

Went to drop it off at a shipper's yesterday. Local UPS Store was closed, but the Office Depot was around the corner, so I went there first.

After being ignored for a few minutes, and then having a screen whirled in front of me to enter the shipping information... and being grilled on the address (it's going to the ham c/o his wife's business) and such, I had had just about enough. Then he asks me what's in the box ("used consumer electronics" I said) and it's value ($1200 with the extra cables and filter and such).

"Oh? I'm going to have to inspect the contents" he says as he reaches for a box cutter.

I was quickly informed that anything shipped with a value over $500 had to be inspected. That I was responsible for the box if it was damaged in inspection -- ie if he damaged it, I had to buy a new one. Ditto to any damage to the packing material. AND -- it was my responsibility to reseal it, he didn't have any tape, but I could buy some down THAT aisle...

at which point I picked up the box, walked out the door, and headed to my car.

Store manager follows me out to ask what the problem was. I told her. She was fine with this as she could not deviate from procedure (whose procedure? UPS or Office Depot? She couldn't or wouldn't say), but just wanted to make sure I hadn't walked out with anything that didn't belong to me.

5 minutes and two traffic lights forward, I'm at the FedEx Office (Kinkos) around the corner. Manager apologizes (!) because I had to wait, asks me to print legibly on the form so that the box doesn't accidentally get misdirected (!), and accepts my valuation with no questions -- and no inspections. Done in 5 minutes including the wait.

His only question? Why did I come there? So I told him to thank Office Depot and why. He gets a big smile on his face and says "I will!" He goes on to tell me that he knows the head manager of the OD store very well, and that he gets their disgruntled shipping customers all the time...

In any event, I've never been questioned on what's in a box, or told it needed inspection before. Usually they just ask if it's packed OK if they ask anything.

Anyone else ever run into this, or is this something new?

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