Shipping rant

Sorry, ye olde Mythical Readers, this is just going to be a straight out rant. Even non-existent readers will probably want to skip this one.

Because I’m incredibly pissed off.

At what, you inquire? At people I buy stuff from online. Especially, but not exclusively, eBay sellers.

Is it because they are the bottom-feeders of rouge capitalism? Is it because they are providers only of fake and ill-gotten goods? Is it because of their questionable personal hygiene habits or lack thereof?

Nay, my good fellow. ‘Tis none of those.

It’s because so many of them can’t pack their goods to survive the damn post office.

Now, let me say right off that sometimes, even the best prepared package is not going to survive the less than tender mercilessness of the postal service. If they run over it with a truck, there’s not much you can do. (Oh, and what I’m about to discuss is not limited to the government-run postal services; it can apply to the private shippers as well; I’m using “post office” to include the lot of ’em.)

But some shippers think that every person and machine that a package will encounter along the long, grueling trip from their hands to mine, will treat that package as a tender newborn child, coddled and protected and gently moved from place to place.

Under this utterly false belief, they place an item into a box… without any other padding or filling. Or — and this really steams me — they’ll put a poster in an envelope and expect it to arrive unbent, unwrinkled, undamaged.

Fools! Morons! Incredulous imbeciles!

The box will be smashed into large containers with lots and lots of other boxes, hauled and moved and thrown with uncaring abandon, its every inch of movement a Thunderdome (two boxes collide, only one box survives, if that) that will wear down the package’s defenses, ever seeking the utter annihilation of the precious contents. Envelopes will be shot down conveyor belts and twisted through automated sorters. If the inner contents were animate, the screams would never end. Would. Never. End.

Instead, I’m the one screaming, when I get, oh, say, a mug I ordered that was wrapped in a single layer of bubble wrap, then a scrap of cardboard wrapped around 4 of the 6 sides (leaving two sides covered only with bubble wrap), and shipped that way halfway around the goddamn fucking world.

Or when I get a poster that was originally included in a Japanese anime magazine, so it is folded in half or smaller to start with, that was simply placed in a manila envelope with a piece of thin cardboard that was smaller than the damn poster was.

Or when I get a rolled poster that is simply placed by itself in one of those triangular tube shippers the postal service offers for free, that are always (every single damn time!) bent in two by the time it gets to me.

All of those things have happened with items I’ve bought from eBay sellers, who then act indignant when I supply them with neutral feedback. (I don’t give negative for this issue, because first they did at least send it which is more than some people do, and second I’m trying to teach the motherless sons of whores what they fuck they’re doing wrong so they’ll stop doing it.)

If it were only eBay, the solution would be simple: don’t buy anything important off eBay. But it’s not just eBay.

Some of the Japanese online stores that cater to us non-Japanese-speaking barbarians, will place a single item on a piece of cardboard, shrink-wrap the item to the cardboard, then place that into a box — with no other cushioning or packaging. These means the box can still be easily crushed as there’s nothing inside to support the outer box when it is impacted by other boxes in the mail stream. Also, the item itself can slide easily inside, at least from the bottom to the top of the box, as it is tumbled around. (No, my dearest Mythical Readers, the boxes aren’t kept upright all the time while being transported.) Even stuffing some newspaper in around it would be a vast improvement, but no.

Sometimes these shippers get lucky, and the item bucks the odds, and manages to survive the trip even without anything resembling proper packaging. But not often. And as I said, sometimes even the best packaging won’t protect something from destruction when the postal machine or workers decide they need another sacrifice. I don’t blame the shipper as long as it’s clear that they at least tried to pack it well. But the ones who aren’t even trying… I hate them. I truly hate them and wish death and horror and madness and pain upon them.

It’s not so much that it’s a waste of my money. I’ve certainly wasted more money on even more worthless things than this. It’s wasting my damn time. That’s what infuriates me.

That’s why for anime posters from the Japanese anime magazines, there are two sellers from Japan who charge insane prices for each poster — more than four times the cost of the entire magazine itself originally was. But for a poster I really want, I pay them, because they pack it so insanely well that I know it’s going to get to me in pristine condition. I’d rather pay them to ship it from Japan, than to pay far less to someone shipping the same item from even inside my own state — because the in-state shipper is just going to pop it in an envelope and I’ll receive torn shards of colored paper.

It’s just so disheartening to be looking forward to receiving something… and only receive garbage, because the fucking seller didn’t take an extra couple of minutes to give a damn.

Fortunately my walls are almost full of posters and wall scrolls, there is no more room for figure display cases, and only a few spots remain in the shelves for Blu-Rays and DVDs. So soon my money will simply be left in the bank account, rather than sent out in exchange for broken and twisted crap.