it’s the TV that’s the gift, not the box!

Usually, I’m too busy ordering items online to worry about shipping – if I order early, then I can enjoy the cheap/free shipping, if I order late, then I pay for it with the 3 day/express/overnight/et al. premium shipping options.  Today is different.  Today is tale of holiday woes.  No, no, nothing health or tech related – this is more of a consumer woes one faces sometimes(rarely, hopefully) during holiday seasons, such as this, the week of Christmas.  I’ll start this off with a picture – just one, then there are more at the bottom;

The big package

Personally, I am not a big fan of TVs.  They feel more like a status symbol than a practical necessity(my main TV is a tv tuner I bought for one for my PCs).  I find I can multi-task during commercials by bringing up other windows or browsing the internet between shows.  The programs I like, I normally buy the box set because then I get extra deleted scenes, commentary, and the ability to watch it on the road on the laptop(DVD).

So, this was a gift I bought for someone else – the gift and curse of having a birthday in the start of the year is that; a lot of sales and discounts on items around this time of the year(gift) – EVERYONE is ordering stuff for someone(curse) because of the sales and discounts.

For whatever it’s worth, I never had a complaint with this package shipping company – I’ve had a few hiccups in the 10 or so years of using them to get packages but nothing left me as annoyed as this latest experience.

Around midday, on a cold December Monday, I saw the big, tell-tale brown delivery van pull to up my house.

I answered the doorbell – normally, the delivery man usually has the item waiting for me by the door before ringing and asking for a signature for acceptance of delivery.  This time, it was different.  Outside my door was a young teen dressed in their uniform, but he did not have the TV, nor the electronic signature pad that package delivery companies use nowadays.

Leaving the door open, I stepped out in the cold and walked up to the van.  Normally, I expect the delivery men to have item dropped off by doorstop – but this was a teenaged youth and I was curious as to how this would play out – he beckoned me as if he’d need my help to unload his van.  At this point, let me stop and show you the following images;

puncture wound?

crumple zones?

battle scar?

Lots of tape!

The van had an adult woman driving(ah, the youth must be a part-timer/hired holiday help) reached behind and handed the box to the teen.  I watched the box was handed from the driver to the teen to by my feet in awe.  But not in a good way.

The box looked like it had been in a fight(and took a beating).  I know it’s silly to think that a 40″ TV would come in wrapped in a bigger cardboard box, but I certainly did not expect the shipper to have just slapped on a shipping label on the item box.

The teen set the TV down by my feet outside on the sidewalk and for a moment, our eyes met – his was that was a young whippersnapper at work, doing his job in the cold.  His optimistic gaze was met by my own – an intense focused stare of annoyance.  I stared at him and then the driver for a few seconds before I spoke.

“The box.  It’s beat up.”

“It’s because I protected it”

“The BOX.  It’s all torn up.”

“Sign here, with your finger”

The teen presented the pad.  Holding onto the pad – almost amused at the lack of care/response I was getting, I elaborated further.

“This is to be a GIFT – LOOK at the box.”  (I’d like to stress that I did not raise my voice – this was a more of a controlled, disciplined anger, not an emotional, fly off the handle kind)

“I have to make 300 stops, I held onto the box so it wouldn’t get damaged – it’s fine!”

“… what’s your name?  I’d like to know in case I’d have make a claim”

“You talk to the shipper if you want to make a claim, the TV is fine – it’s the TV that’s the gift, not the box!”

During that exchange with the driver, the youth went and got a smaller box from the van also left it by my feet, in the sidewalk.  Then he took the pad, which had a random streak and took it as delivery acceptance.  He hopped in and the van roared to life, drowning my questions.  The van sped off, leaving me in amazement.

I’ve studied this specific shipping company in college – had done an extensive report on the history and practices of the company and it’s founder.

But college was nearly a decade ago.  People change.  Companies change.  I was left standing with 2 packages.  The TV box was beat up – the smaller box… well.  The smaller package was immaculate; the box did not have so much as a crease out of place.  It was as if the god of package deliveries forged this with his utmost care and held it close to his bosom, protecting that box from… well, everything that happened to the larger package.

I should have refused delivery; I was seriously thinking of it, but then I wouldn’t be able to get another one in time, given that this is a holiday season, plus I was without a car at the moment.  I did not expect a response of “it’s the TV that’s the gift, not the box!” when I wasn’t pleased at the shape of the box.


But hey, the TV works and looks fine – the Styrofoam+plastic+various sleeves+cardboard box(normally enjoyed as a part of unwrapping a “new” item)  did their job of protecting the goods from… whatever it was that happened in the back of that brown package delivery van.   Maybe there are people in this world(such as the delivery driver) who can see beyond pretty, clean packages, and gifts her presents WITHOUT THE BOX THE ITEM COMES IN.

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