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updated wed 14 jan 98


Orion/Baker on tue 13 jan 98

When I was first out of art school, I worked in the design department of a
very large packaging company (I was with them three years -- what an
experience). Of all the great lessons I learned there, the best* of all
was this: If you're not willing to drop a box you've packed to the floor
BEFORE you hand it over to the freight carrier, it's really not ready to

There's no substitute for good packing. A well packed pot will survive
just about any carrier -- I'm not afraid to use the Post Office, UPS, RPS,
FedEX. I use whatever's cheapest and most convenient, within the delivery
timeframe. You can save a few cents here and there with shippers -- but
(in my opinion) it's absolutely foolish to try to save too many pennies on
packing materials. (If you want to skimp on packaging costs, look for
thrifty packing materials outlets in the yellow pages or try some budget
mail-order source like "Browncor".)

Of course, there's no substitute for a good strong corrugated box**,
squared up well and thoroughly taped. After that, surround each pot with a
couple layers of bubble wrap and/or single-wall corrugated (flat on one
side -- available in 12" high rolls -- it's an excellent buy) -- secured
with good quality masking or clear shipping tape. Every piece should be
separately wrapped, and the goods nestled in and surrounded by a very ample
layer of foam "peanuts," soft crushed paper, or any other firm material
packed tight enough to keep the pieces from shifting when the box lid is
closed. There should be enough packing around the entire perimeter to
prevent the pieces from making hard contact with the outer box when it's
wiggled, jostled, or DROPPED.

I actually am willing to drop boxes on the floor before handing them "over
the counter." The loss rate is essentially nil. When you think about all
the work and inspiration that goes into every piece, good -- even excessive
-- packing is a very, very small investment in your work. (Furthermore,
it's an art form in its own right, or maybe becomes sort of a sport... Can
you see it in the Olympics: "The 10 Pound Box Drop," "The 50 Pound Box
Drop," etc. ??? Ooh, imaging beaming after getting a row of 10.0's!)

Best regards,

Ellen Baker - Glacier, WA
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*the second best thing I learned about -- using hot melt glue on corrugated
**look at (and respect) the weight ratings on corrugated box flaps. Use
double-wall boxes for heavy shipments.