Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

The following happened when Hannah was in 9th grade and Rachel in 12th grade:

It was cold out and I offered to drive Hannah to Calhoun HS. Driving to the school takes around 2 minutes. Walking takes around 6 minutes. We get in the car and the windshield is covered with a thin layer of ice. The car warms up and the ice melts.

Let me write you a quick note just in case you are a minute late. Hand me a piece of paper,” I reach over and Hannah hands me a sheet. I write: Please excuse Hannah for being late. She had a headache. I sign it, hand it to her, and put the car in drive.

That’s a lie. I can’t give them this note,” she quips. “Hannah, what’s the difference. Just give them the note.” Silence. “Okay,” I said, “write your own note and I’ll sign it.” So she does. She tells the truth. She was (one minute) late because the windshield was icy.

I drop her off. After school, I’m in the car with Hannah and Rachel. Hannah was upset. Apparently, when she handed in the note it was counted as an illegal lateness — excuse unacceptable. Some teacher was standing there and made a comment about how he made it in on time and he had an icy windshield.

Rachel was quick to respond, “That’s what you get for telling the truth”

Why am I writing about this now? Because this morning Drew handed me his Stereophile* and said, “You have to read this. I think you’ll like.” And for some reason I thought of the above incident.

So here’s this guy. His name is Art Dudley and he writes for Stereophile. In part of his article he describes his experience buying merchandise from Amazon.com.

Apparently he found out that Amazon was selling vinyl. It made him happy. He ordered an LP (the reissue of McCoy Tyner’s The Real McCoy) and when he received it in the mail, it made him sad. “The carton was oblong, and was larger than 12″ in only one dimension,” he writes in his article. Now for those of you who don’t know the dimensions of a record album cover it’s about 12 7/16″ x 12 7/16″. (But who’s measuring?)

When I look up vinyl I read the words —  tough, flexible, shiny plastics, often used for coverings . . .

Given the definition you could surmise that the person packaging the album figured it was a tough, flexible piece of shiny plastic. Sounds like it is bendable to me. What do you think? So shoving it into a carton which is a bit too small shouldn’t damage it, Right? Oh, and the album cover — you know the cardboard, protecting the LP, with all the artwork and information — eh, not a big deal — rip it open and throw away the cover.

I’m getting off track here. Let’s make this simple. Apparently, Art was not happy. He didn’t want a damaged LP. He printed a label, sent an explanation, received another damaged LP. (Also, packing issue.) Each time Amazon (man or robot?) wrote back and requested a fuller explanation.

I’ve made several returns to Amazon without a problem and without having to give a fuller explanation. If I receive a book and the cover is damaged (could be a simple crease) I print a label and for an explanation I would probably write, “Book is damaged. It is ripped. Send replacement.” (I have on occasion called Amazon and spoke to a live person.)

So I see in Art’s first return he said:  This is a vinyl LP, and whoever packed it did so by mashing it into a box that was too small for it. The jacket is now bent, and the disc inside is obviously warped. Please send a replacement.

Obviously warped — what you meant to say is absolutely scratched or broken.

In his second return he wrote: The damage to the replacement LP . . .  was that the cover was severely bent and creased on the edge, indicating that the record inside was probably not flat. I did not try to play the record . . .

Why say all this — Indicating . . .probably not flat? Does it even matter if the record is damaged? Isn’t the album cover just as important? I return books if the cover is damaged, if a page is slightly bent, or maybe my head is pounding and I don’t like the title of the book that day. But regardless, just tell them what they need to hear. It’s ripped, it’s in pieces, it’s broken!

In the end, he did get his refund and a note which stated: We’ll investigate further and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. In the meantime, the item may temporarily be unavailable to purchase from Amazon.com.

I just checked online and see that Amazon is again selling The Real McCoy in vinyl — only 4 left in stock and shipped in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging. Well, thank you Art. I guess they solved the packaging problem.

Oops, just looked up what CFFP means:

What does it mean to be “Certified Frustration-Free Packaging”?

Certified Frustration-Free Packaging means:

  • Easy-to-open
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Ships in its own package without an additional shipping box

Why does Amazon usually ship a box inside another box?

A product’s original box often is not designed to be shipped directly to the customer. To ensure it arrives safely, we may place it inside another box. With Frustration-Free Packaging, the products have been designed to ship in their original containers directly to the customer.

Sounds like they solved the problem of mashing the album into a small box. No box, just a label. (Here’s a tip: After removing the address label be sure and pour some nail polish remover on the cover to wipe off any glue residue.) I’m tempted to order an LP now but, no, I think I’ll just reread this article and shake my head.

And next time — just tell them what they need to hear.

*Entertainment for Gentlemen by Art Dudley, Stereophile, April 11, 2011, , Pgs 37-41

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Filed under Long Island Living, Real life

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