View Full Version : Bad Packing

January 11th, 2010, 06:36 PM
I had mentioned on another part of the forum, that a package I recieved with some vintage in it tonight came badly damaged due to poor packing. I'd like to hear fellow collectors thoughts on their bad packing/shipping experiences.

January 12th, 2010, 06:21 AM
I had mentioned on another part of the forum, that a package I recieved with some vintage in it tonight came badly damaged due to poor packing. I'd like to hear fellow collectors thoughts on their bad packing/shipping experiences.

I received a pdp-11/34 packed in a large box with only peanuts and the bottom was about ready to fall out. I was amazed it still worked and had no
damage. Why would anyone pack something so big and heavy in peanuts. I think he did put the 11/34 in a bag to protect it from getting crap everywhere in the machine.

January 12th, 2010, 07:18 AM
I do a LOT of vintage computer, game system, and arcade board repairs and have seen jsut about everything. Boards packed in white (static!) peanuts without any anti-static bags, multi-stack arcade boards shipped the same way which resulted in peanuts in-between the boards and inside the metal covers... Then there are the vintage computers such as C64s sent the same way so they have peanuts all stuffed up inside... Boxes barely taped... boards shoved diagonally in boxes with almost no packing... multiple boards with metal covers in boxes with newspaper packing - which wouldn't be bad except that they put them all touching and didn't put enough packing in. Those metal covers were smashed and cut into traces on the board.

Using peanuts isn't bad if it's done right. Anti-static bags and peanuts should be used. If you can't use anti-static bags then at least wrap the board in foil... IF the board doesn't have batteries on it. If it does, wrap it in paper a few times then foil or use crumpled newspaper to pack the box. Yes, newspaper can generate static, but not NEAR the level of non-anti-static peanuts.

If packing large items in peanuts then you run the risk of the device migrating to one side of the box and getting damaged. Simply double box it and you lessen that risk. Item goes in a box filled with peanuts... that box goes in another box with peanuts, newspaper, or some other type of packing materials.

nige the hippy
January 12th, 2010, 08:22 AM
I had a couple of fairly mint Thorn Emi "Wren Executive" portables (http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?st=1&c=257) shipped to me without ANY packing except their own carrying bags. They survived remarkably well, with only a couple of cracks to their front bezels, but it was upset to say the least that they were no longer lovely.

January 12th, 2010, 08:31 AM
A while back I purchased an Atari Mega ST-4, external disk drive and monitor from an online seller. When the box arrived, the only padding used was a dirty kitchen curtain. It looked like the computer had just been dumped into the box. The cables from the drive to the CPU had not even been disconnected. The monitor cabinet was cracked from the front to the back and the CRT neck was broken off. The connectors and cable for the disk drive were damaged and the CPU housing was cracked. Of course the delivery company said they were not responsible because it was not packed properly and the seller blamed the delivery company and refused to accept that packing was not adequate. Thankfully I didn't pay a lot for the system. I did save the monitor electronics before I pitched the rest of the CRT so if anyone needs the electronics (220v power) for an Atari (ST-22?) monitor, PM me.

January 13th, 2010, 05:04 AM
The monitor cabinet was cracked from the front to the back and the CRT neck was broken off.

I bite my tougue everytime I buy a used monitor for exactly this reason. The only one (out of 5) that wasn't damaged in someway, or that I didn't have to mess with, was an Apple A2M6017 that the guy had wrapped up in large bubble wrap into the shape of a big soccer ball. This was left to roll around in a huge box that he had cut hand slots into. My first impression was that it had been destroyed, but it made it without a scratch. Less can be said about shipping them in peanuts, especially when there are other things in the box and they are TOUCHING each other during shipment.

Dwight Elvey
January 13th, 2010, 05:39 AM
This brings up the pointabout monitors and computers
with CRTs.
The CRT should always be shipped with the face towards
the bottom. It is true that it can be difficult to pack that
way because there may be a keyboard, like a H89 has
but it should still be done that way. One can either
remove the CRT or make cardboard bracing to keep it
properly positioned.

January 13th, 2010, 09:29 AM
Rigid polystyrene insulating foam is the only way to go in my book. Buy a big sheet of it at your local home center (it's extruded, so it's fairly stiff and doesn't flake "crumbs"), build a box within the shipping box with it, use it to brace things (movement or shifting during shipment is almost always fatal) and insert either a plastic bag filled with peanuts or a slightly deflated child's play ball between the CRT screen and the box wall to take up and distribute any mechanical shock.

January 13th, 2010, 01:00 PM
I think some people just don't give any thought to just how much a package gets knocked around in shipment. I received one laptop that the shipper had placed the manual between the LCD and the keyboard and then stuffed it into a box just slightly bigger than the laptop with no padding at all. Of course the LCD was destroyed. The shipper said they had put the manual on the outside of the laptop and it must have slid in between during shipment. In times like that I think someone needs to add a little chlorine to the gene pool.

January 13th, 2010, 01:05 PM
That sounds like something that a guy did at my old job.

He had this habit of putting paper inbetween the lid and machine. This time the papers included a small binder clip.

First he lied and denied ever having anything to do with that corner of the screen being completely destroyed, then he eventually fessed up to it. He was charged with the repair cost.

Never put anything inbetween your screen and the laptop, it's just not worth the risk.

January 13th, 2010, 06:44 PM
I have shipped items to Canada and westerrn USA before with everything showing up intact. The key is making sure everything is seperated by a cushion, using blubblewrap, thick cardboard, hard plastic foam in the corners, and making sure once you tape it shut nothing moves around at all. It takes a bit of time to lay the pieces in and then finding the correct cushion, which means I hate shipping items.

Most people could care less about packing. I have had stuff shipped in a huge box with little packing other then half crumbled newspaper so the stuff is bouncing around the whole trip.

nige the hippy
January 14th, 2010, 02:16 AM
In a "double box" setup (where the item is tightly packed in an inner box, then that is put in a larger box with padding round). Screwed up newspaper is pretty good between the layers (as long as it's tightly screwed up & packed) it seems to absorb shock quite well. The polystyrene sheet at the bottom is a really good idea. (so many people put stuff straight onto the bottom of the box then pack it beautifully from there up!) People don't seem to realise that stuff gets literally thrown around by some carriers.

January 14th, 2010, 05:36 AM
One thing that irks me, is if you do ship something that is more fragile than others, in our cases CRT's, and you mark it Fragile, are you just inviting more punishment to your package? I recently sent some mugs, not as important as a vintage CRT, and packed it with the entirety of a crumbled New York Times, and the mugs arrived broken.

January 14th, 2010, 05:38 AM
I spend weeks saving up my money, then I spend $450 on a Nintend0 64 development board, pay another $55 (http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a166/ballsandy/Computer%20related/P9253138.jpg) on at-the-door bulls&$# UPS fees and what am I rewarded with?


God damnit! Even a static-proof bag would of been nice! Dx

January 14th, 2010, 06:59 AM
I have gotten everything from computers just stuck in a box with no packing, items stuffed in box's to small, items packed in box's made from sheets of cardboard and tape. As for packing stuff I have seen everything from someones recycling bin plastic bags bottles, to loosely waded newspaper to just cardboard. Never fails to amaze me. Stuff like NEXT board above.

January 14th, 2010, 08:41 AM
When I ship something I make sure it's firmly packed so nothing moves. I have shipped pdp-8e's with no problems. Just make sure it's packed tightly using that stiffer foam
as padding on all sides, top, and bottom. I also make sure to protect the front panel switches which can easily be broken. Extra care must be performed there. But it's not
hard, just takes a bit of time and thought. Most people just toss stuff in a box with a few peanuts or newspaper and say "This will be fine". The guy I shipped the 8 to
did not believe I could pack it well enough, but when he got it everything was just fine.

January 14th, 2010, 03:18 PM
Well I ordered another LC III, and this came in much better shape than the other one, but still cracked and broken plastics. I guess I'll have to look again. Does anyone have a mint LC III they are looking to get rid of?

January 14th, 2010, 08:17 PM
One thing that irks me, is if you do ship something that is more fragile than others, in our cases CRT's, and you mark it Fragile, are you just inviting more punishment to your package? I recently sent some mugs, not as important as a vintage CRT, and packed it with the entirety of a crumbled New York Times, and the mugs arrived broken.

I almost wouldn't bother. Many moons ago, I knew a guy in college that worked at UPS and you would not believe the abuse that packages are subjected to. This stuff just gets chucked around like yesterday's garbage.

As for Next's board, just another fine example of someone who is ignorant of ESD.


January 15th, 2010, 05:02 PM
I finally got a good deal on a 128D not too long ago, it came to me in a box a few inches larger on each side than the computer itself. There was no packing at all in the box (of course the ominous feeling of the CPU and keyboard floating around inside when I picked it up) Miraculously it arrived in one piece and WORKED. For my part I sent out a McIntosh stereo amplifier some years ago. It was double boxed with a full 4 inches between the face of the unit and and outside edge, corner etc, they managed to drop it hard enough to dent a corner of the unit and break the face glass. THEN wouldn't honor their insurance. I ended up refunding the buyers nearly $700 out of pocket. In the interim of that one going out and getting the note from the buyer it had been broken I took another package in to ship. I watched the guys package in front of mine go up the conveyor belt, catch slightly on the opening at the top and a couple seconds later heard it hit the ground after bouncing off of something else first. Since then I have never gone back to UPS, I am a Fed-Ex boy now :D


January 16th, 2010, 10:19 AM
Well , I have a gripe to add to the list. Recently I won an eBay auction for an IBM PCjr A/C adapter. When I received it, there was no packing material whatsoever in the box. The plastic case was cracked and the transformer was loose and rattling around inside. eBay has this big push to have the seller and buyer try to contact each other and work out a resolution to their problem before filing a dispute with PayPal. So I contacted the seller by phone and the results are as follows:

* Seller asked "does it work?" In other words, accept it in a broken condition.
* Seller admits that he didn't package the item. Dropped it off at a mailing facility and had them do it.
* Seller said he would reimburse me for the cost of the item but not for shipping. The item need not be returned.
* I received the reimbursement for the item.
* Get a message from eBay that the seller has requested the transaction be canceled which I agree to.
* I leave "neutral" feedback with comment " Poorly packaged. Damaged in shipping. Got refund on item but not on shipping."
* After feedback is left seller sends a refund for the initial shipping cost and asks that the item be returned (at my cost). He's angry because he no longer has 100% positive feedback.
* Seller now saying "i did not get free mailing, its got to be paid" and that it is my responsibility to may reclaim the shipping cost through PayPal.

So what is your opinion on this one? If I file a dispute with PayPal, there is no e:mail record, only a verbal agreement, that the item did not need to be returned.

January 16th, 2010, 10:36 AM
Let him be angry, he said that he would pay you back for the cost of the item but not shipping. He also said that the item does not need to be returned. Let him have the truth and nothing more.

January 16th, 2010, 03:41 PM
Found something on eBay policy involving buyers receiving damaged goods in the section > Policies / User Agreement > Buyer claims item he bought was damaged during packaging

Link: http://answercenter.ebay.com/thread.jspa?threadID=900214596&mod=1263605544583

***It is in the user agreement that you are responsible for the item, that it actually is YOUR item until it arrives at the buyers DOOR in AUCTION CONDITION. You also have to have online proof of delivery which means you need to use DC.

If a buyer files a dispute (which counts against you) that the item is broken - you will have to refund them every dime they paid, including original shipping. They have 45 days to do this.

If a buyer claims they did not receive an item and you do not have online viewable proof it was delivered to them you will have to return every dime.

Have the buyer return the item and refund them every penny ***

January 17th, 2010, 06:42 PM
I have always used the method of 'here is all your money back, keep it with my apologies'. Ebay is VERY buyer-centric. The seller has no recourse whatsoever, consider it closed.


January 26th, 2010, 05:57 PM
Sure is unfortunate about all the abused packages... what about good experiences?

January 26th, 2010, 08:10 PM
How about two extreme examples?

My worst experience by far was was a 5162. Absolutely disgusted with the condition that this thing arrived in. Paid a small fortune for it too. ---> here (http://www.welook4things.com/sub_ibm_5162.html) :-(

On a much brighter note, I was thrilled to death with the pristine condition of the 5155 upon arrival. Cosmetically wonderful and fully operational for about 1/4 what I paid for the above. ---> here (http://www.welook4things.com/sub_ibm_5155.html) :-)

Oh well live and learn I guess...


nige the hippy
January 27th, 2010, 01:05 AM
Slightly o/t, but I've just recieved a benchtop planer/thicknesser (woodworking machine) through the post wrapped in 1 layer of bubble wrap and a bin-bag. needless to say it is no-longer the precision machine it used to be. no delivery insurance or anything. I've no idea what I am going to say to the seller. It really is the time to put some duty of care legislation in place, even if it does mean spending a little more on post.

January 27th, 2010, 05:36 AM
Gonna add my 2 cents to this thread.

Just got an Amiga 2000 in yesterday. Upon opening the box, there were the typical layer of packing peanuts. Stick my hand down to find the computer and when my had finds it, there's no bubble wrap, no plastic bag, nothing covering !

Pulled it out of the box and it's got hanger ons all over it.

Look at the floppy drives and they are stuffed!

Take the case off and spend the next hour removing packing peanuts from the interior.

As for the floppies, they are pretty much stuffed with styrofoam. May not be recoverable.

Don't people realize that packing peanuts get everywhere? Hey at least bag the danged thing!

I haven't communicated with the seller yet. Still trying to cool down enough to talk to them civilly.

January 27th, 2010, 05:50 AM
CRT's being a specific problem, rattling around in their own housing - for the rest I have been using mainly bubble wrap for packaging- multilayers so the box is completely filled.
But I was thinking about the following:

- Wrap the pc in absolute air tight thick PE film.
- Do that again.
- Take a bag that lines the box.

Then.. go buy a can of PUR Foam...

January 27th, 2010, 01:56 PM
Better test that A2000 after you remove those VERY staticy penuts, something could have been statically damaged. I remember getting an old PC case shipped to me in nothing but penuts and they were crammed into every little nook inside the thing even the PS.

February 1st, 2010, 03:22 PM
My latest aquisition was a bunch of castaways (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?17831-Update&p=119130&highlight=#post119130), with so many parts included, that only when I got home I realized that there where more things in there than I thought and that the ad had less things listed.

I received six motherboards, all together on the bottom of a box, and on top of it there where cables, computer cases, drives, a little bit of everything.

The rest of the parts came in eight (or more) regular supermarket plastic bags, including 4 CPUs loose in a clear plastic bag, a bag full of chips (some rusty, some with broken pins), 35! rolled IDE cables forming a ball inside another bag, a mouse, a keyboard, a scanner and all kinds of drives all mixed up.

The only thing that was "protected" were the HDs that had a piece of paper between each of them, but they were in the cardboard box, so the pile fell and everything mixed up again.

It took almost a week to separate all of the pieces, carefully, and to distribute them to boxes, organized.

February 1st, 2010, 03:30 PM
Take the case off and spend the next hour removing packing peanuts from the interior.

As for the floppies, they are pretty much stuffed with styrofoam. May not be recoverable.

Don't people realize that packing peanuts get everywhere? Hey at least bag the danged thing!.

When something arrives packed in loose styrofoam peanuts, I grab the Shop Vac with the large hose. Cleans the peanuts out of everything without scattering them. When I'm done, I just up-end the vac container over a large trash bag.

February 4th, 2010, 02:50 PM
I work on a lot of things, servers, desktops, laptops and mobile products,

not too long ago one of our customers had shipped in a Tablet computer ($2500) via UPS, IN A PADDED ENVELOPE!.
I giggled a bit when I saw it brought in figuring it couldnt have survived the trip, but to my surprise, it was fine (minus the dead hard drive it came in for)

But that being said, there are some people out there that just "don't get it" or just don't care.

February 9th, 2010, 05:53 PM
You want packing peanuts?
I'll show you packing peanuts.

How's this for packing peanuts? The thing wasn't even wrapped in plastic. It was just dumped in the box with the peanuts and other items.



And this was the best ever. Look at the white packing peanut under the clear plastic, just to the right of the drive belt. I'm glad I inspected that one before turning it on.


I hate packing peanuts.
People need to learn how to package stuff better.

Lord Moz
February 10th, 2010, 06:27 AM
I spent a good hour or more on this Tandy CM-8 monitor I picked up for my CoCo 3...


I didn't take any pictures of the inside, but small broken pieces of the foam had gotten all over the PCB and CRT as well.

It works fine, although I am still trying to figure out the reason behind it's 15'+ extension on the video cable.

No bag, static peanuts, very poor internal distribution... it's extremely fortunate it arrived as well as it did.

Lord Moz
February 10th, 2010, 06:38 AM
Around the same time as the CM-8 was purchased, I bought a multi-pak interface for the CoCo3 as well (different seller) which was much less fortunate, as it was provided almost NO padding!!


Classically, the seller claims they packed it very well, and the USPS blamed the shipper. I received no discount or insurance on this one. Poor feedback was all I managed on this one.

Fortunately I was able to repair it to 100% functionality, but its cosmetics leave a bit to be desired.
Pictures of the repair can be found here: http://gallery.mac.com/lordmoz#100113

It really makes you appreciate those sellers who spend the time, and understand how, to pack things appropriately.
I make sure to leave feedback mentioning the exceptional packing, good or bad.


February 11th, 2010, 05:57 PM
Just got another item in that absolutely blew my mind.

An Amiga 2000 motherboard packed securely enough in peanuts, but absolutely NO anti-stat protection! Packing peanuts! The world's worst(best?) item at generating static electricity in GREAT abundance.

If Commodore-Amiga hadn't built these things to Teutonic specifications, it would've been dead. As it is, I am totally amazed to announce it works perfectly!

Where do these morons come from?

Almost enough to make me believe in abortion after birth!

February 11th, 2010, 06:30 PM
I would have to say that the worst packing experience I ever had was an IBM PC AT (a shame this happened considering the $200 I payed for it). The box it came in had a hole in the side and a dent in the corner. The box itself was about 3 inches taller than the computer and 3 inches longer than the compute. It came with no static protection at all and surrounded in light blue packing peanuts. The computer itself had the cover chipped, a floppy drive cover broken off, and the case was dented so badly I couldn't even open the darn thing. Sadly this was years ago and I don't have pictures but needless to say I was only refunded 1/2 of the money I paid for it (NEVER Trust 3rd party websites).

Best case scenario was an IBM 5151 B/W monitor in the original box with those plastic air packets in between the inner and the outer box (yes an outer box). And it was labeled fragile, needless to say I gave this person a $10 bonus.

March 12th, 2010, 08:46 AM
A while back, I got my laptops in from Midwest. This is the box:

The laptops all came in fine, but the box was beat up bad. There were fragile stickers on the box so I think that explains most of it.

March 12th, 2010, 10:43 AM
A while back, I got my laptops in from Midwest. This is the box:

The laptops all came in fine, but the box was beat up bad. There were fragile stickers on the box so I think that explains most of it.

Big box for a laptop, you could probably stick a 3" knife blade in from all sides and not hit anything. People like shipping laptops in the $11 USPS flat rate boxes and that has little room for any padding, shocked the items show up in one piece.

March 13th, 2010, 11:48 AM
There were four laptops in the box. The only one that had damage was one that was already marked as having severe case damages.

March 15th, 2010, 12:47 PM
Received a Commodore SX-64 from an *bay seller the other day. The computer was wrapped in 2 layers of the small cell bubble wrap and put in a box with 6 to 10 of the air pillow packing cushions that Amazon uses. Needless to say, most of the cushions deflated in transit (USPS Parcel Post = 36 days) and the computer got knocked around enough that the keyboard base is cracked now.

April 20th, 2010, 07:46 PM
never, NEVER mark boxes as fragile. People make it a point to beat those up, Especially in the mailing industries, and air cargo.. Best if you can retrieve yourself, OR have the seller insure the item should anything happen

April 21st, 2010, 08:39 AM
That's a whole new level of unfortunate liability when buying online. A seller can be doing their best to pack it nicely for you although may not know about anti-static peanuts, etc but with the shipping industry gouging us for the price of shipping AND treating our packages like a bag of dog food. Pretty crappy in general. Guess insurance is almost a requirement now assuming you can get it out of them.

April 21st, 2010, 08:57 AM
I must say I have had remarkably good luck with receiving legacy stuff relatively intact, sometimes shipped very nicely and sometimes not. Some of the old stuff is pretty rugged. I remember getting an old Dell server where the two P600 processors in those big old heatsinks had come loose during shipment and were bouncing around inside the box! And they worked just fine when plugged back in.

One big problem is the CRT neck in the old Mac all-in-one cases. I've gotten at least two of these where the CRT was dead because the little glass nipple at the end of the CRT neck was broken off, probably because the socket had come loose (nothing really holds it in place except pin tension). If I have to ship one of those, I will have to do something special to protect it.

April 21st, 2010, 11:33 AM
I just recieved two laptop memory covers from Canada that were shipped in a letter envelope with no cushion, ofcourse they were run through the mail sorting machines and broken when I got it.

April 22nd, 2010, 05:23 AM
There are two ways to send things as lettermail...as a letter, and as lettermail. Sender didn't understand the difference, apparently.

As a letter, you throw a stamp on and they assume it's just that...a letter.

As lettermail, it'll have a customs declaration and so forth attached, and can be up to a certain thickness. It will not be destroyed by mail sorting systems because it's handled a bit differently (otherwise the clips on my recently received drive bay cover would have been obliterated). Responsible post office employees will offer to have you send something lettermail if it's within the size and weight constraints - for example some Model M keyboard keycaps I recently sent to a couple people.

RAM is pretty much always a safe bet to send as a letter though, SODIMMs in particular. If concerned about bending, throw a thin firm piece of plastic or something in with it.