Thursday, September 1, 2022

My Excessive Rap about UPS Excessive Wrap

If I didn't know better, I'd think that UPS store clerks get paid bonuses for using as much tape and bubble wrap as the item to be shipped can possibly accommodate. If I knew how, I'd be tempted to start an internet rumor to that effect and accuse UPS of doing its utmost to pollute the planet with excessive plastic film. The amount of bubble wrap and TAPE on a package I received today is worthy of disgust. 
After the unwrapping ordeal,
I needed a break before I
removed the inner covers.

It's one thing to protect flat items, i.e., relatively small framed pictures, with a layer or two of bubble wrap, and it's one thing to fill the crevices between them, as well as the spaces between them and the carboard shipping box with something to prevent shifting in transit. Crumbled newsprint or brown paper works GREAT and needs very little tape.

In my opinion, the package I received today could have been dropped from the top of my twenty-four story building and the contents would have survived (although it could have fatally injured a pedestrian walking below). After cutting through thick tape to open the cardboard box, it took me forty-five minutes to cut and break apart the tape and bubble wrap just to get down to the newsprint covering the five frames so I could finally unwrap them. When the person who sent them to me presented them to the clerk at the UPS store, each ktem was wrapped in paper (see the photo above). When I received them, each picture was encased in plastic--layers of bubble wrap then wrapped by tape and more tape and more tape. AND cushioned in Styrofoam peanuts.

I ended up rolling the salvageable bubble
wrap, which I will return to a UPS store.

Yes, you read that right. It took 45 MINUTES to cut/tear/pull apart the tape from the bubble wrap to release the items from their UPS wrapping. It's a good thing I'm not a troll or a nasty person who loves making negative comments on social media. Hey, I'm being nice by merely posting this snarky commentary on my blog. Maybe everyone who reads this could challenge UPS when asking it to pack something for shipping by inquiring: 

What's wrong with using newsprint (recycled newspapers would be fine once a layer of clean paper protects the item to be shipped)? What's wrong with using just enough tape to hold the wrapping in place?

PS There's an ugly ending to this tale, which occurred Sunday, September 4: UPS refused to accept the bubble wrap and the Styrofoam peanuts for reuse. When I asked incredulously how I could dispose of them responsibly if they wouldn't reuse them, the shrugged response with its implied 'duh' was simply, "in the garbage." Whether it was the words themselves or the 'who cares' tone of voice, something inside me ignited, and once the fire took over a few minutes later while transacting a withdrawal at a nearby ATM, I came up with what I thought was the ideal solution. I would simply pay to ship the packing materials back to the California UPS store that packaged the items shipped to me. My rationale was that these items are all completely reusable, they weighed practically nothing and would require no additional packing materials. 

I stood in line with the two large bags and when I was asked for the recipient's address, I gave the store number--the only identifying location on the shipping receipt. But no, that wasn't sufficient. The clerk was unable to provide the address, so I looked up the address on my phone. My inner fire had, by then, consumed my sensibility, so when I was told it would cost me $160 to ship the packing materials from Seattle Area to Marin County, I said "SURE," and continued to fume. When I got home, I looked at the description on the receipt. It described the shipment as weighing 2 lbs. 1.4 oz. with a billable weight of 95 pounds. 

Will I ever use UPS again? I hope not. 

PPS  On Thursday, September 8, I received a phone call from the originating UPS store in Marin County, inquiring why I had sent it a large box filled only with packing materials. (Obviously, I hadn't enclosed a gift card.) When I told the caller I was hoping it would be recycled, the response was, "Oh, that's great! We are happy to reuse clean packaging materials, yes. Thank you." From this hoped-for response I must conclude that not all UPS stores are as unwilling to accept packing materials for reuse as the one I patronized until last week in the Seattle area. 

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