I shop at Best Buy now and then. Mostly I shop, but sometimes I actually buy something. Because I do sometimes buy stuff, I am a member of their rewards program. I occasionally earn a $5 rewards cash certificate. I am not an ideal rewards club member. Just because I earn rewards cash, it doesn’t inspire me to run out and use it. So last Saturday I was cleaning my office and came across a $5 rewards certificate that was due to expire that day.
It was 106 degrees last Saturday. I was not going out, driving 4 miles to Best Buy and searching for something I don’t need just to use the $5 rewards certificate. However they do allow people to use these at BestBuy.com. So I went online and ultimately settled on a 4GB flash drive for $5.99. Because BestBuy.com does charge local sales tax on internet orders, I ended up paying like $1.06 from my pocket. Shipping was free.
My flash drive arrived today in a box that was 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep.
Inside the box were some non-strategically placed air bags. I say non-strategically because they were only on the top of the package. Such things as say, dropping the package, would still result in most all the force reaching the actual item I purchased.
At the bottom of the box was my new flash drive.
These things are already overpackaged for the sole purpose of making the package just large enough to not fit in most jacket pockets. When the product is actually this big:
I don’t see why I had to contribute so much extra packaging to the local landfill. Okay, we recycle. I’m certain that we will actually be able to recycle all that packaging. Still, wouldn’t it have been easier to fold the original packaging in half and stick it in an envelope? I’m not entirely certain but these fulfillment centers are not completely robotic. Somewhere someone must occassionally think: Hey, we’re paying to ship a box on a $0.99 cent purchase that we’ve already paid a fulfillment center employee for two minutes of their time to run back down an aisle grab the item, run back to the conveyor that goes to the packing center where another employee spends time selecting the
right wrong size box, taping it shut and slapping on a label. I’m certain there are first class sized envelopes that would hold this package and it could be mailed for one first class stamp. But then again, it might cost them more to stop and think that the package could fit in an envelope, so they over-package with complete disregard for the wasteful material use and the outright silliness.
Of course this is all my theory. I don’t know why they do what they do or even how they do it. I do know that I got a 4GB flashdrive for a buck. I should also mention that the rewards certificate program did earn Best Buy my patronage when it came time to choose where to buy Diablo III for my kids when it came out. I had a certificate that was due to expire on that day too.