Friday, May 11, 2012

Tales - Strange Wrappings

Read as you go?

You might be surprised at how often people shipping personal effects, sometimes including items that are both fragile and valuable, are handed over to the driver packed in nothing but newspaper. Of course, many professionals in the courier industry wouldn't dream of accepting anything so inappropriately packed, but some might be tempted by the thought of having some additional reading material to pass the time while munching that sandwich. Trouble is, you inevitably find the paper is at least two years old.

TARDIS in reverse

One motorcycle courier was asked to collect a small package and upon arrival was greeted with a huge wooden crate that although being very light was never going to go onto his bike. Anyone with experience of two wheel or light van work will have been here many times before - sadly it's not an unusual situation. What made this one odd though was that the customer, showing great flexibility, simply open up the crate and removed the relatively sturdy internal box that contained the item. The size of the internal box? You guessed it - about that of a shoebox. The shipper has to be given 10/10 for security of packing if perhaps 1/10 for practicality!

Taking care seriously

One haulier stopped to collect a relatively small if heavy carton. To his surprise it was wrapped in what appeared to be a Union Jack. When questioned, the consignor's response was: "the contents are fragile and I know that if it's wrapped in the flag people will handle it with more respect". Well, it's an interesting theory!

Packaging going cheap

Another courier consignment was stated as being 75 kilos and of dimensions similar to a large suitcase. The driver was, therefore, surprised to see that the object had been completed wrapped in crushed egg cartons held together with tape. These were falling off even before the object had been loaded! The consignor said they were heavily into re-cycling, though what they said when the driver refused to accept it isn't recorded.

Pump up the pressure

As a final piece of audacity mixed with optimism, one driver arrived with his van to collect a small 30-kilo water pump. To his dismay, he discovered upon arrival that this was entirely unpacked and the consignor seemed amazed that this was an issue. Fortunately, he was a lateral thinker and simply asked the driver: "don't you have a carrier bag or something I can put it in?"

Many courier organisations have clearly stated packing requirements that are stipulated as part of taking on the job. Clearly the message doesn't always get through!

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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