Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Destroyed Package

It was bound to happen eventually. I have written of some of my damaged packages, and sometimes the packages have been missing a book or two but most books arrived okay. I finally received a package which turned out to be a total loss. I knew it was likely a total loss as soon as I saw it.

The package was enclosed in a plastic bag that USPS places around damaged packages. The thin brown paper that the seller used was quite torn. The seller sent the package priority, so it was destroyed in the first two days of transit. I received the package a week later after it had been processed through the place where damaged mail is sent.

Before I opened the package, I could see what was inside. This next photo shows what I saw.

There were two DVDs, a book that was definitely not anything I had bought, and a mysterious smashed box-like shape. Hmm. This was definitely not good. I opened the package, and this is what I found.

I was the lucky recipient of two Pam Grier videos, Sheba, Baby and Fox in a Box. I had never heard of Pam Grier until I received these DVDs. Wow. No offense to Pam Grier, but I was not impressed. One of the DVDs was badly scratched.

Even better, I received my very own Reader's Digest Condensed book. I'm sure all book collectors know that RDCBs are the most unwanted books ever printed. You have to just about pay people to take them. Most book readers want to read the entire story rather than a condensed version.

The only item that was kind of cool but still unwanted was the mysterious box. The box was smashed, but the model railroad log car inside was in perfect shape. I noticed that the log car did not have a UPC on the box, so it must have been part of a set of railroad cars and got separated from the rest.

I knew that these items were so random that likely the seller did not mail them to me. I checked with the seller, and she had never seen any of them before. She is supposed to be sending me a refund for my payment.

What must have happened is that my package was ripped open, which was not surprising since the brown paper was quite thin. My books fell out and were separated from the wrapping. The package was sent to a mail sorting center along with all of the other damaged mail, and USPS was unable to figure out what the package contained. Someone took random stuff from other damaged packages and placed enough stuff in the wrapping to fill up the package, then sent it along to me. Nice.

I did get a good laugh out of the message on the plastic bag that contained my package. The beginning of the message read, "We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during handling by the Postal Service. We hope this incident did not inconvenience you." Inconvenience? I got random junk I did not want and will never receive my books. I spent 20 minutes taking pictures, cropping them, and sending them to the seller with a letter of explanation. It was much more than just an inconvenience.

I have heard of this happening to others in the past. I have been lucky that this is the first time it has ever happened to me.

In closing, remember that it is never a good idea to wrap a stack of books in brown paper, especially thin brown paper. If you must package in brown paper, at least run a strip of tape all the way around the package horizontally and vertically just like you would do if you were using ribbon on a present for someone. If this package had had tape around it, the books may have been damaged but would have arrived. I would rather have damaged books than no books.


Jennifer said...

I've gotten those nasty little notes....never ever found the books, of course. My weirdest sort of packaging story was when I went flew home for Christmas, opened my suitcase...and found a complete set of Stargate dvds. Luckily none of my stuff was missing but when I tried to call the airport to return them, and they told me the airport I had flown out of didn't exist!

Kami said...

Were the books a great loss?

I cannot stand it when I receive poor packaged items. Today I got a box (that was falling apart) and the seller had just tossed everything in with no packing chips or air pouches.

Kami said...

I meant to say "poorly packaged items". Excuse my grammar :)

Jennifer said...

It was just a $5.00 purchase, and that includes shipping, believe it or not. The seller sold the books for about a dollar and charged about $4.00 postage.

I received the refund check from the seller today, so it was not a loss for me. I do feel kind of bad for the seller who shipped priority (notice the postage cost on the wrapper). The seller had no problem with refunding me and apologized. She stated that she did not know how to estimate postage costs accurately, and that she did not charge the right amount. Ouch. She sold a number of lots of books, and if she did the same thing on all of them, she took quite a loss altogether, since most of the lots sold for low amounts. It was an expensive lesson for the seller. Hopefully all of the other lots made it to the recipients okay.

Jenn said...

What I can't believe, is that the PO just stuck random crap in your bag as if that would make up for it ;) I'm surprised they don't keep all that stuff there for people to claim like a "lost and found." Was there anything in the lot of books you were especially looking forward to getting that you missed out on?


Paula said...

What I don't understand is, if you are going to send Priority Mail, why not take advantage of the free boxes from the P.O. to ensure safe delivery? Even after realizing you made a mistake on postage, you could use a flat rate box and/or buy postage online to minimize your losses. This poor seller was so inexperienced and lacking in business sense (and perhaps some common sense?) that it makes me really feel sorry for her. She probably doesn't know enough to request a refund of her ebay fees either. As you said, a very expensive lesson for her, in both time and money. And unfortunately, a waste of time for you as well.

Jennifer said...

The books were not anything special. They were books that I placed an extremely low-ball bid on and somehow won, much to my surprise. They were in nice shape, and I might have upgraded something, but it was no great loss.

Just about the first thing I thought of after I opened the package is the fact that the seller did not use priority boxes. What may be more surprising is that the seller's clerk at the post office did not offer her any suggestions. The clerk should have noticed that the paper was too thin and offered a suggestion, but the clerk might have been someone who really didn't care.

If the seller had placed the books in one of the priority boxes, they surely would have made it to me, even if the corners ended up bumped.

The seller seems like a very nice person. I had politely suggested that she not use brown paper on future packages, because of what happened to this package. She asked me if I had any links to places where she could get shipping quotes, and I sent her some information. I usually don't leave feedback at all when the transaction results in a refund, but in this case, I think I should leave her a positive and 5 stars on everything. She did offer and send the refund very quickly.

Does anyone want to watch Fox in a Box? The random DVDs amuse me, so while I didn't get my books, I did get a good laugh.

Kami said...

One of the best investments I ever made in eBay selling was a scale. I bought one off eBay for only about $22. It has been a lifesaver ... and so has eBay's shipping calculator!