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  • Vintage PC Shipping Fail - How not to ship computers
  • Vintage PC Shipping Fail - How not to ship computers



    We have all ordered stuff online and while we expect our items to show up undamaged there are times when things go very wrong.  “Throwers” or the package handlers are quite good at what they do, they are in charge of moving packages between trucks and are the real backbone of the shipping industry.

    So, what happens when things go wrong?  Well, there are three points of view.

    1. First is the person receiving the package claiming damage.  The box might look like it went through a meat grinder or could simply have a dented corner or a scuff in the cardboard. 

    2. Second, we have the person shipping the package who ALWAYS says.  “it was in perfect condition when it left, the shipper must have damaged it” or “shippers are so rough with packages these days”

    3. Third, we have the shipping company.  These are the middle-people who we hire to move packages from one place to another and the cheapest cost possible.  Maybe 2 times out of 10 the damage is something they caused and are generally insured to handle these instances.

    The other 8 times is the subject of this article and the real reason why stuff shows up damaged.  Yes, I am talking about the people who cannot understand that “they” are the reason why shipping costs are so high and why 8 times out of 10 when a package is damaged it is their fault.

    Here is the backstory behind this failure.  I was surfin the second-hand wannabe eBay sites and found a Mini Tower computer from the late 80’s.  The seller didn’t include many details about the machine but did say it would come with a keyboard, mouse and that the computer would be shipped in the original carton box. 

    That struck me as strange but I wasn’t going to question it.

    I put in an offer on the listing and after some back and forth and compromises on my part a deal was struck and I awaited the arrival of my new/old computer.

    When the package was finally delivered it was a little worse for wear.  Stuff was rattling around inside and tape was falling off the box.  I just knew things would be bad, and it was.


    This is where things get interesting, I was working with the site which brokered the sale, they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so I reached out to see what the process was.  My assumption is that they would file an insurance claim with the shipper and I would be due to cash.  However, in this instance they requested that I send the item back to the seller and at which time I would get my money back.

    Despite my better judgment I opted to keep the item since it would never survive the return trip and even though the machine is damaged it still has value for a future project.


    I am always amazed at how clueless some sellers are.  In their mind they feel that the shipping company will handle their package with care and expect it to show up the same way it left.  However, the truth is they could care less about your package.  The volume they deal with does not lend itself to care but rather how fast a truck can be unloaded.

    So here are a few tips.

    Put everything in a box.  If the item is already in a box then put that box in a box.  If your sale says it comes in the original box then that box needs to be protected the same way as the item.

    Keep the stuff inside the box from moving around.  You know those foam peanuts??  USE THEM!  Packing paper? USE IT!.  The idea is to fill the inside of your new box so stuff doesn’t move around.

    Pick a container/box with handles.  For items that are heavy you need to consider how your box is going to be moved around and pick a container with handles and DON’T let people at the UPS or FedEx store tape over the handles when you drop the package off.  Handles help the package handlers lift and move your package and without them the box is likely to be thrown, kicked, stacked and smashed.

    Heavy items LOVE to destroy boxes, pack items well and pack them in the appropriate box.  Double wall, clean tape and stop cutting down boxes to make new ones unless you can ensure the new box is solid.

    Items have a top and bottom, pack them as such.  Don’t ship an item on its edge because it fit in the box better.  Every box has an up and is how it will be shipped so pack your items correctly.