Monday, November 10, 2008

When is getting more than you expected a bad thing?

Although so far it's not directly printer- or supplies-related, I was excited to see online retailer Amazon's (NASDAQ AMZN) announcement last week about simplifying product packaging and reducing packaging waste. (See "Amazon Announces Beginning of Multi-Year Frustration-Free Packaging Initiative.") Both points -- making packages easier to open and at the same time producing less waste -- represent noble objectives in my opinion.

As I read the release, I found, among the 19 products covered so far by the new initiative, something that I could always use, and that relates at least a bit to our industry -- a new 4GB SD card I can use to in my digital camera, and move images back and forth to my PCs and digital imaging printers. Who can't use another high-capacity SD card at a great price? And here's what the release said about the Transcend brand:

Small items, such as memory cards, are also good candidates for Frustration-Free Packaging. Typically encased in oversized plastic clamshells to deter shoplifting, memory cards are then placed inside larger cardboard boxes for shipment to customers. Working with Transcend, Amazon has eliminated the hard-to-open clamshell and the need for an additional box. Instead, the cards will now ship inside recyclable cardboard envelopes which use less material. Amazon is working to shrink the envelope size even further.

So I placed my online order and the package arrived at the end of last week, and, in keeping with this post's title, it included much more than I anticipated, which was disappointing. Yes, there was the memory card in its plain brown envelope, but it was packaged INSIDE the Amazon-standard cardboard shipping box, plastic air-filled bubbles, and a few junk-mail inserts just for good measure. (See photos.) Come on Amazon, you can do better! The plain brown envelope seems like it could be mailed by itself, as the release indicates, especially with the SD card encased in the ususal rugged plastic case. (See photos below.)

The plain brown envelope

Still too much inside the envelope, but at least it's not a lot of mass!

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