I learned a valuable lesson today through shipping a Dutch tool chest to its new owner: Pack things in the smallest-possible-but-still-safe configuration. And build a crate – that would have been easier, and likely less expensive. And it sure would have looked better.
But no. Instead, I stopped at the local shipping place, where the owner had assured me he could box and send it for X amount. Turns out, he could not; the largest box he had was 1″ too small in one direction, and 3″ too small in another. Add in sufficient cushioning, and well – it wasn’t even close. Typical box sizes that are readily available at UPS, FedEx and U-Haul are not available in DTC size.
But instead of driving 27 miles to the LTL place that I knew could box and ship it, and at a cost approved by the the chest’s buyer, I thought, “No, I’ll find a box, pack it, ship it here and save the buyer some money.” And wow, was that stupid!
Down the road a mile is a place that sells big boxes. Really big boxes. But no smallish ones. So I bought a large one, somehow got it folded down enough to fit into my Outback (it was massive, I tell you!), drove back to the shipping place and proceeded to amuse the owner for a half-hour by cutting it down and refolding it, and using enormous amounts of tape in the process. I didn’t think – and he didn’t tell me – to make it as small as possible. My never-before-boxed-then-shipped-furniture brain thought the rates were based on weight rather than size. So I left room for plenty of cushioning materials. (Sorry about the peanuts, new owner; I know they get everywhere.)
I’ve shipped a lot of furniture…but always back to its owner in the box in which it came to me (usually for photography for the magazine) – so I always knew exactly how much it would cost (we always covered shipping to and from). And that’s what I had in my head. Of course, it was almost always smaller stuff, and, now that I consider it, always in tightly sized and packed boxes. Head slap.
Of course it cost significantly more to ship than the LTL place had quoted – but boxed, it was too big to fit in my car to then drive the 27 miles I should have driven in the first place. But I wasn’t about to unpack it and start over. (I’m covering the cost difference – the fair price one pays for boneheadedness.)
That box is an embarrassment – but as long as what’s inside stays safe, I guess it’s good enough. And I am embarrassed by my stupidity – but I’ve learned a lesson; I guess that’s good, too.