Underpacking. When small things come in big packages.

At least once a week at work, we get a box of parts or supplies from the Xerox Corporation. These deliveries are part of a service contract for our awesome printer, the Xerox Docucolor 6060.

Sometimes the boxes are suspiciously lightweight, which makes everyone in production smile. We smile because the Xerox parts boxes are notorious for underpacking, putting one small component inside a giant cardboard box for shipping.

Last Wednesday, Stephen called me back into the printer room to get a few photos of the shipment. It looked like a superb specimen to illustrate underpacking.

Stephen had opened the large outer box (2,450 cubic inches) and there, nestled amongst the Pactiv Air® pillows, he found just one tiny box inside, about the size of Rubik's cube (18 cubic inches). 

If this was Christmas, and Stephen was 5, I'm sure he would have begun crying.

What was so precious and fragile that it needed so much packing? A glass corsage, handblown by Dale Chihuly on his daughter's wedding day? The only remaining bottle of 1973 Ayrshire? The original handcrafted dentures of George Washington?

No. It was a solid-state sensor assembly, on the end of a 12 inch wire.

Let me tell you. This incredible packing job was not in vain. The sensor assembly arrived in fine shape.

Unfortunately, that bright yellow wire was going to clash horribly with the printer's circuitry. We packed it back up to exchange for a white one. 


If you have an incredible underpacking experience to share, please snap a photo and send it along!

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Last updated August 29th, 2005.
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