Shipping damage is now the new normal

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by dkurtis, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. dkurtis

    dkurtis sonofthefather Thread Starter

    I just can't help it - I have to vent. I have ordered Steven Wilson's King Crimson Box 1972-1974 three times. Both Barnes and Noble shipments were received at my home with corner damage to both the shipping box and the ordered box set. I received a credit to my Visa after I returned the second shipment to their local store. Barnes and Noble did not want to risk yet a third attempt and gave up. Being forced to reorder, I ordered from Inner Knot's online site. This third order was costing me $40 more than the previous Barnes and Noble price, but hey, they know how to package. Good thing they do, because the third attempt came with two holes punched in the box and a dented corner. Upon receipt, I was sure this effort would be another disaster. To my surprise, the corner protectors and bubble wrap protected the heavy box set - but I seriously do not know how.

    I am now questioning ordering anything outside of Music Direct. They seriously package their shipments. I have lost confidence in the shipping companies. The only line of protection is in packaging with total destruction in mind. It is time consuming and costly to ship damaged records back to the sellers, and in many cases the seller will block you from their site after the return.

    We have been forced to buy online because the local stores could not compete. We have been forced to buy only new or M- condition records from people who have better than a 99% seller's rating because no other grade and no other seller can be trusted. The probability of getting what I ordered, in the record/cover condition I expect with no shipping damage is now less than 50%. Stamping the word 'FRAGILE' on the box now means - please deliver with as little damage as possible.
    TSWisla, cporcp, ispace and 14 others like this.
  2. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    I feel your pain. It is the new normal as you have stated. I wish there were more local stores as well.
    Music Direct is very good though at packaging. I have even ordered equipment from them knowing it would probably arrive is good shape.
  3. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    I bought a used laptop off ebay.

    It arrived at my house fairly beat up outside.

    Luckily it was wrapped very well in bubble wrap inside.
  4. dkurtis

    dkurtis sonofthefather Thread Starter

    We now have to package with the anticipation that the box will travel through the Syrian war zone before delivery - after it has been shoveled into the delivery truck with a backhoe.
  5. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    If you are the kind of person who is going to start a return for anything but perfection, I would say do everyone a favor and pay for the premium services.

    The lower cost sellers are for those who aren't looking for perfection.
  6. dkurtis

    dkurtis sonofthefather Thread Starter

    While I am not that 'kind of person', I do agree that we are being forced into premium services. But really, aren't the same people who didn't give a 'darn' when shipped standard the same people who handle premium. And what is wrong about expecting the product to be delivered undamaged?
  7. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    It’s a luck of the draw.
    audiomixer and mark winstanley like this.
  8. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    There's no problem with wanting perfection, but every return costs everyone. So those who want perfect should buy local or from the Tiffany audiophile retailers.
    Rodz42, lv70smusic and Mark J like this.
  9. jonnyhambone

    jonnyhambone Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    guess I’m lucky? I’ve never received a damaged record or boxset, and have certainly ordered my fair share in the last 15 years of online lp buying. I’ve heard British packaging/postal care is poor but have been fortunate with that too I guess. sorry bad-luck dudes...
    James Bennett likes this.
  10. dkurtis

    dkurtis sonofthefather Thread Starter

    But it doesn't have to cost anyone if the retailer/seller would package with likely 'poor handling' in mind. In both cases, Barnes and Noble put no corner protectors or bubble wrap in the shipping box. On their second attempt, they placed the heavy KC 1972-1974 box in an oversized box naked - again with nothing to keep it from moving. The oversized shipping box allowed it to bounce around like a driver in a head-on accident without a seatbelt. The Inner Knot shipment had two 2" holes in the side of the box and significant damaged corners. It only survived because they anticipated damage when packing. Whose at fault here? Mine, because I expect safe delivery for a $20 shipping charge - or the retailer's/seller because they don't care enough to pack it correctly?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    no.nine, Jimmy Agates, Ludger and 5 others like this.
  11. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    I don't put "Fragile" on anything I ship anymore. That will assure it will be tossed like a basketball.
    Aftermath, ScramMan2, Myke and 4 others like this.
  12. giantleech

    giantleech Lord of all fevers and plagues

    I manage to sell quite a few records on Discogs and eBay that are priced higher than those of other sellers BECAUSE I explicitly state that I use "superior, corner protecting, rectangular shaped corrugated cardboard record mailers with filler pads."
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  13. dkurtis

    dkurtis sonofthefather Thread Starter

    Many people in this Forum are dealers/sellers. There is a significant difference between someone who is packaging with a vested interest in a safe arrival and a retailer's shipping department staffed with minimum wage employees with no vested interest.
    ScramMan2 and Rodz42 like this.
  14. mahanusafa02

    mahanusafa02 Forum Resident

    That's a fantastic selling point, mind if I appropriate it? I probably wouldn't be selling the same records as you...
  15. giantleech

    giantleech Lord of all fevers and plagues

    Sure, go for it. The exact text I use (a little bit different than stated earlier up above) is: "Record shipped in professional, superior rectangular shaped, corner-protecting corrugated cardboard record mailer with filler pads. Satisfaction guaranteed!"

    As I have said before, just stating (and actually proceeding with) this fact of quality and attentive record packaging brings me a contingent of customers who are willing to pay more (and come back for more as repeat customers) for records KNOWING that they will receive a record in their hands that is in as fine a condition as can be reasonably hoped for after it has been bumped, bopped and banged throughout the worldwide postal system. I use Bags Unlimited brand "Mighty Music Mailer" (code MLP1) exclusively (plus their similar mailers that hold up to 5 or 6 LPs or so per order.)

    Speaking from the standpoint as a customer (of records that I am looking for for myself), it amazes me how many sellers can't even be bothered to explain in their listings what kind of attention to and quality of packaging they use to send records. I certainly don't want records arriving at my door in any sort of banged-up-corners condition (or worse) because the seller is still using outdated sorts of mailers. I myself actually seek out and give preference to vendors who actively use rectangular LP mailers (really, this should be by now the baseline standard that all serious record sellers utilize.)
    ispace, Jimmy Agates, Gumboo and 8 others like this.
  16. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    I was told once by a postal employee that “Fragile” means they only throw it 10 feet instead of 20.

    That said, some here seem to be plagued by bad luck. I probably do as much mail order as any other moderate buyer. I’ve received some questionable packing that has come through unscathed with 99+% being essentially damage free. I’m recalling 3 shipments ever that you get had to return.
  17. siebrand

    siebrand Forum Resident

    the drivers of the various transporters are underpaid (at least, in Italy it is so, I don't know anywhere else).
    So it's quite common that they run like crazy, the packages are thrown in here and there, with, obviously, complaint, then, of who receives to damaged goods.
    Maybe they gave a little less deliveries, and more time to the drivers, maybe that problem could be solved?
  18. Sentient Six

    Sentient Six Forum Resident

    Annandale, NJ USA
    I think it is luck of the draw sometimes. I ordered the Whitesnake "Slide It In" Deluxe last week from and it arrived last night. It was shipped in a box that was pretty tight all around it except there was about 4 more inches on top of it where they packed some paper. I anticipated it having some dings but, to my surprise (and relief) it was perfect.

    Amazon doesn't seem to care one bit about how they pack stuff as long as they can get it out the door with less than 3 bounces. If I had bought that set from Amazon it probably would have come in a bubble mailer instead of a box like FYE.
    Lonecat likes this.
  19. xilef regnu

    xilef regnu Senior Member

    Since this is a venting thread, house cats have been the biggest enemy of my record collection over the years. Even when explicitly marked.

    The Hud, dkurtis, forthlin and 5 others like this.
  20. Damaged goods aren't my normal - as others have noted, some folks just seem to be unlucky. Of the hundreds of mail orders I've done over the years, I can only think of a couple that suffered any significant damage, and one of those was a bent-up slipcase on a DVD set ordered from amazon. But I figured eh, it adds a bit of character, so I let it slide.
  21. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons to be cheerful Part 1

    Dutch mountains
    Could you supply an image of that here and show everyone how it should be done ?
  22. MarkTWIC

    MarkTWIC Forum Resident

    I guess we should be asking where we're talking about. I've generally very happy with British postal services and I would say UK Amazon deliveries arrive close to pristine. Is the thread starter talking about the US? Are there problems in some parts of the UK?
  23. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    The comments about underpaid, highly stressed delivery workers is valid.

    If amazon had a delivery checkbox that said "we'll get it there soon, but the drivers can take a few more coffee breaks", I'd be more than happy to select it.

    That said, (knock on wood) I've had a good streak with amazon. The Kinks Village Green 50th Deluxe box, the Kinks mono box, the Beatles Pepper and WA boxes - all in perfect shape. Going a few years back, a Dylan Mono box was found by me in the evening after sitting in the rain all day. The outer shipping box was mush, but the wet didn't penetrate the bubble wrap. So perhaps i've been a bit lucky.
  24. garrincha

    garrincha Forum Resident

    Plymouth, UK
    I recently bought a record from a seller in Switzerland, shipping to the UK. he only had 1 feedback, but it was a record I had been after for a while at a good price, so why not! we've all got to start somewhere

    I missed the initial delivery, so went to pick it up from the local depot that evening. my heart sank when they handed me the package. the guy had wrapped it in one layer of brown paper!

    I was sure this was going to be the end of the record and I'd have to start the convoluted process of getting my money back, but when I opened it, it was completely flat...not even one bend in the sleeve. perfect! incredible that it had got all the way to mine without even a nick!

    this doesn't add much to the conversation I know, other than a semi interesting anecdote about records being in the lap of the gods...or something!
    ODShowtime likes this.
  25. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident

    Cork, Ireland
    I wonder why the 'rectangular' shipping box is not the 'norm' nowadays? As far as I recall, Acoustic Sounds was the first online vendor to use this type of shipping box. I haven't ordered records from Music Direct or Elusive Disc in a long time so I don't know what either one of these is using now. Packaging is very important and some people 'skimp'on this with the result that corner damage is inevitable. Shipping out an expensive box set in circumstances where it is free to move within the outer packaging is just plain barmy! Here in Europe, jpc in Germany ( and Esprit in the U.K. ( both use rectangular or as I call it 'oversized' packaging and by and large records and sleeves arrive without corner damage.

    However as another contributor has stated it is in the lap of the gods as to whether you receive damage free covers. My most recent jpc order (for 2 Speakers Corner reissues) arrived fully intact in jpc's custom rectangular mailer. I am surprised that the fastidious Japanese vendors have not adopted the rectangular shipping box? Writing as somebody who buys records from Japan on a regular basis, I have to say that in spite of the fact that they continue to use the 'pizza' box type mailer, they are well packaged and records arrive largely unscathed. On occasion, you will find the tiniest of creasing on one corner of the sleeve and I think the rectangular box would eliminate that entirely. And yes as somebody else here mentioned, some U.K. shippers seem to use very flimsy packaging which, of course, is a recipe for disaster. That said however, I remember ordering from Diverse Vinyl in Wales, U.K. many years ago and notwithstanding the very strong and robust packaging they used, the top right hand corner of the package was trashed in the mail, the Royal Mail that is. I had to get a replacement sleeve for my Cowboy Junkies' ''Trinity Session Revisited" 2 LP set. Luckily, Diverse Records was the reissue label so there wasn't a problem. Rectangular/Oversized packaging should be the norm for shipping records.
    Ludger and All Down The Line like this.

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