ticky tacky

The other day, I received a package from Office Depot. It arrived in a box measuring about 15x12x10. What was in the box? Mostly, those inflatable-air packing balloons…and a box containing my order, which was only about 10x3x2.

It seems odd to me that there’d be so much waste here. Even though the weight of the package wasn’t significantly increased (the packing balloons are negligible in terms of weight), the postage cost was probably marginally higher. But the most important factor is this: each such package takes up considerably more space than a reasonably-packed item. Let’s say a reasonable size for the package containing my order was 12x5x5. That’s 300 cubic inches. The actual box it came in is 1800 cubic inches. That is, the box it came in six times larger than the hypothetical reasonably-sized box.

Let’s say that one large business ordered enough items that the reasonable boxes would fill an entire delivery truck. The actual boxes would require six times the trucks – six times the fuel, six times the drivers, six times the wear and tear, and six times the tracking info, among other factors – to be delivered.

Yet some people still think business is the most efficient system going…

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