In a post that's otherwise about something else, The Ridger, reader and frequent commenter here, bemoans the excessive packing that we often see in order shipments:
(but speaking of weird shipping policies... I got a box from Barnes & Noble.com with one book and one DVD in it. The box was 12" x 11" x 17". Are they running out of boxes?)
I've discussed the issue with shipping departments before, when I've shipped or received things at my job. They say that it's actually much cheaper for them to have just a limited choice of box sizes, and to fit your order into one of those. And never mind that the box is oversized.
Still, it sometimes seems not just odd, or curious, but downright pathological. Such is the case in the photos below, which I took when I received an item in 1997. The first frame shows the box I received &mdash I didn't measure it, but you can tell its size from the items behind it; it's between 9 and 12 inches tall, and at least 15 inches in length and width. The second frame shows what I found when I opened the box, a large, thickly padded envelope that had been stuck diagonally in the box. The third panel shows what I'd ordered, which was inside the padded envelope: a pack of three Palm styluses, flat and less than six inches high. They could have stuck it in a standard envelope and dropped it in the mail.
It was pretty amazing to open that one.