back to article HP shatters excessive packaging world record

We've just had an email from a shaken Stephen Strang who this morning took delivery of a very, very large box from HP: The very large box from HP Stephen said: "Imagine our excitement as we opened it, hoping against hope that it might contain a copy of some c-class virtual connect firmware that actually works." Sadly not. …


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  1. John Robson Silver badge

    HP should be penalised for that


    As should supermarkets who shrink wrap bananas

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    You mock

    But it worked - the pages arrived in pristine condition, free from terrorists, paedophiles, sharks, ninjas and pirates. Praise be to Hewlett Packard for being thorough and being the first to underpromise and overdeliver.

    Angel Bill because, well, he's great.

    ps. Scamps, get on yahoo, I need to talk to you about Stu.

  3. Michael

    Had similar things from PC world business

    Ordered a black ink for an epson deskjet and it came in a similar size box full of bubble wrap.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Maths problem


    Sadly not. What the überbox did contain was 16 smaller boxes "which in turn contained (wrapped in foam so they wouldn't get broken) exactly two sheets of A4 paper":

    Yup, so that's 17 boxes in total to protect 32 pages. A world-class effort there from HP."

    2 sheets of paper is not 32 pages, or have the rules changed since my last reincarnation?

    mines the one with the large roll of packing tape stuck to the sleeve.

  5. Mr B
    Thumb Up

    Mailee's fault

    HP got fed up with this particular customer complaining about not receiving/misplacing parcels.

    BTW what was on those 2 A4 ? EULA stating that the opening of the box means acceptation of the supra EULA?

  6. Josh


    Lager fuelled packing depot me thinks!

  7. Mike

    For the environment

    They were using recycled cardboard, so the more they use the less of an environmental impact there is, they are aiming at sending out so many boxes that they can call themselves "carbon neutral" without planting a single tree or reducing their carbon emissions at all.

  8. Liam
    Thumb Down


    thats worse than some packages we used to get. best ive seen is a box about 1m cubed... full of bubble wrap etc... inside was one RAM module, in its protective plastic casing anyway...

    i thought companies were supposed to be getting penalised for this? seems bad that local authorities and customers have so much rubbish/recycling to get rid of!

  9. James Bassett


    Amazon, who used to be quite good on the packaging front, seem to be getting less environmentally friendly. I ordered a printer and USB printer cable from them a few months ago. Each turned up, at the same time, in identically sized boxes.

    Thumb Up

    @John Robson

    I wish the person who packed this is also available to pack for supermarkets. All the packing they use & their fruit still gets bashed meaning I have to spend an extra 15 seconds picking the best quality for my plate.

    All bananas should be shrink wrapped & come in HP boxes henceforth!

  11. Adrian Lai


    Tut, and they opened all of them?

    Ruined a perfectly good game of pass the parcel :(

  12. Jon


    Each of the 16 smaller boxes contained 2sheets, with the 17th being the one box to contain them all.

  13. Chronos

    Not just HP

    Screwfix are just as bad. A box of 6x3/4" brass screws and a packet of screwcups (Imagine two England's Glory matchboxes stuck together and a small bag of washers) in a 2'X1.5' box, secured by a 2'X1.5' sheet of cardboard taped inside to stop them moving about with a secondary purpose of hiding the product making me wonder why they sent me what appeared, at first glance, to be an huge, honking great empty box.

    There must be a surfeit of cardboard in the world. I also notice HP used the old pink anti-static foam to protect those sheets o' paper. I wonder if they had "Handle only in an ESD safe area" stickers on them, too?

  14. Dave

    Pedant Alert

    Actually, the larger container is quite clearly two boxes taped together, so that makes it 18 boxes.

    @AC: 16 boxes x 2 pages each = 32 Okay?

  15. Matt

    @AC - dodgy maths


    2 sheets of paper is not 32 pages, or have the rules changed since my last reincarnation?


    No rule change. Read again.

    What the überbox did contain was 16 smaller boxes "which in turn [each] contained (wrapped in foam so they wouldn't get broken) exactly two sheets of A4 paper":

    Key phrases here "in turn" or "each". 16 smaller boxes **each** contained two sheets of paper. Guess what 16 * 2 equals, go on, you'll kick yourself!

  16. Alan

    @ AC re: Maths Problem

    but 16 boxes each holding 2 sheets = 32 pages, or 64 pages if you count front & back

  17. Anonymous Coward


    just wish some web based guitar shops would be as dilligent when it comes to sending guitars via parcelfarce... the last one I ordered came with the neck all broken... the packaging was a joke... just some bubblewrap and brown paper and the parcelfarce guy was pissing himself with laughter as he tried to get me to accept it... anyone would think they deliberately try to break parcels marked fragile...

  18. Miss B

    Re : Maths problem

    I'm obviously not being well adjusted today.......


    2 sheets of paper is not 32 pages, or have the rules changed since my last reincarnation?

    I'm thinking this must be more of an English problem rather than maths....

    "16 smaller boxes which IN TURN contained (wrapped in foam so they wouldn't get broken) exactly two sheets of A4 paper"

    The use of 'in turn' in the sentence would perhaps suggest that every one of the 16 smaller boxes contained 2 sheets?

    now try the maths

    16 x 2 is.........

    32 maybe?

  19. Simon BUCH

    The packaging people should go work at eBuyer!

    For paper documents, that amount of packaging is too excessive!

    But Ebuyer on the other hand is so minimal, their main warehouse don't understand how to pack goods in boxes to protect them during transit delivery to you.

    When hard disks are shipped to customers, hard drive manufacturers insist on the disks being shipped in foam-padded boxes to avoid shocks.

    Ebuyer's main warehouse ships disk in courier's plastic bags and so they often arrive DOA - especially after ChityLink "handle" the delivery.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    A way to beat your fuel bills

    Build a cardboard-fired furnace and burn your excess packaging as an energy source?

    Although, packaging is the tip of the iceberg in terms of waste compared to some industries. I remember a TV programme with Fred Dibnah talking about how a garden centre owner had decided to heat his entire business using a boiler that burned waste from a neighbouring wood processing factory that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

  21. Scott


    Well its Friday so a fort in the middle of the office would be my use for the boxes.

  22. ShaggyDoggy


    I think the AC was trying to be smart in that a sheet can hold 2 pages.

    Of course he is presuming that they were all printed on.

    "If a side of a sheet is not printed on, is it a page ?"

    Unless of course it's an IBM blank page with "this page intentionally left blank" printed in the middle of it, thus renderinng it non-blank.

    Those were the days, you can still do that with PDF files of course

  23. David

    Perhaps I'm missing something...

    ...but is there any reason why the whole shipment couldn't have been sent by email?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    dodgy maths

    yea it's 7am odd in the states here and i just woke up...

    mines the one with the uppers in the pocket protector

  25. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Why are they sending documents in a parcel?

    It looks like a set of EULAs, which presumably have some AMAZINGLY clever hologram or what-not to prove they are valid, but would it not be easier AND more secure for these idiots to just email a digitally signed document with "You've paid us for X. Thanks, we're happy now. Here are the runes to type into our stupid installer program."?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The norm for HP

    HP has been packaging their enterprise software product licenses in that manner for years. You know someone within HP has probably said something by now, only to be shot down. I can image an old HP exec saying, "our customers have come to expect their licenses delivered without a single wrinkle."

  27. M

    Wish others were so protective

    I just received about £350k's worth of mostly green network equipment from a provider that shall remain nameless via TNT....

    Unfortunately they appear to have used explosives as part of the shipping process as about 20% of it was totaled and many of the remaining boxes were of a warranty voiding nature.... they actually managed to _BEND_ a line card (made of steel) mounted in a chassis (also made of steel) in a box (cardboard plus foam) on a pallet (wood) to such an extend that the bloody installation arms (made of steel too) were broken clean off!!

    HP.. please start making decent core networking kit or perhaps doing the shipping for the green people....

    .... I'll get me coat..... its the green one with a logo on it that might say something like Disco...

  28. Ian


    I reckon AC did the same as me - read it too fast and imagined that the boxes were packed "Russian Doll" fashion. Each box snuggly nestled inside its slightly larger parent box, times 17, until finally reaching the prized bits of paper.

  29. Martin

    Same thing happened to me.

    I was working as a sysadmin a few years ago. We were about to replace a server, but in the mean time, HP rented us a few extra CPUs and memory boards for a couple of months until the new server was delivered.

    All the software products are licenced per CPU, and some poor girly in Admin was very upset that they could get the CPUs to us the next day, but that the licences wouldn't be available for another week. Was this a problem? I assured flustered girly that we could probably manage somehow without the licences, as long as the CPUs turned up on time. Which they did.

    And then the following week, we got a pallet delivered. Which contained, exactly as above, large cardboard boxes containing 2 sheets of paper, per CPU, per product. I seem to recall they were even in antistatic enclosures - but my memory must be playing tricks.

    Even worse, at the end of the loan, we had a sternly worded letter that all products must be returned in pristine condition in original packaging. We had obviously kept the packing for the CPU and memory, but the licence stuff had been disposed of immediately. Luckily, there was an inkling of intelligence and humanity somewhere within HP, and our cavalier disposal of the packaging for the licences did not have any consequences.

  30. Peter Martin

    re WTF?

    Yes companies _are_ getting penalised, just not the right ones. It is the recipients that have to pay to get rid of the packaging, and it costs even more to send empty boxes back to the vendors.

  31. IT Department

    re: parcelfarce [and delivery companies generally]

    We had a lovely new Sun Fire X4500 'Thumper' (what a name) delivered not too long ago, I can't remember by whom. This is basically 48 disk array bolted on top of a 1u 2-CPU server. The driver/delivery bloke decided the best way to unload this (heavy - recommends 3 people for handling, something like 40kg with packaging and rails) box was to pull it until both ends had slid off his van and thumped into the floor. (Hence the name of the unit: it's the noise it makes when the delivery tard takes `drop this off' too literally! </groan>) Never mind; our local site delivery team hauled it up 3 flights of stairs via dragging from the front end, bumping it on every stair on the way... awesome.

    Do HW companies still install those accelerometer thingies (drop detectors) in kit?

  32. TimM


    Ordered an extended warranty pack for my laptop from Dabs, which is no larger than a few sheets of A5. Came in a huge square box (sort of A4 cubed size) with loads of that plastic sheet stuff that suspends the item in the middle of the box!


    Okay a box full of air is not wasting much more than a thin one, but at least something A5 size would fit through the letterbox!

  33. Matt


    loving the maths! and the carbon nutral effort!!! this is the sort of tech news that i need on a fridayafternoom creating msi's!! :)

    I now cant wait to get home and see what the parcel is like that failed to be delivered yesterday... a micro SD card... (wich was dispatched on the 1st July!!!) I was tempted to write on the delivery attempt note to poke it through my letterbox... but the fear that it may be boxed HP style has meant that its being redirected to a neighbour! :)

    anything less than Nakatomi Towers rendered in cardboard and I will be disapointed! HP has set a benchmark here!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    They had run out of large letter stamps

    I think the size and thickness of 32 sheets of A4 size took it over the 5mm maximum allowed to use a normal stamp. Having run out of large letter stamps they decided to go to the next level - i.e. excessively-packaged parcel.

    Mine's the one with the bubble wrap lining.

  35. AC
    Thumb Up

    you laugh but

    the box clearly has a massive scuff on the front face, the packaging is therefore considered a complete success.

  36. martyn
    Thumb Down

    64 Pages, 32 Sheets!

    definition of Page here -

    1. A leaf or one side of a leaf, as of a book, letter, newspaper, or manuscript: tore a page from the book.

    2. The writing or printing on one side of a leaf.

    3. The type set for printing one side of a leaf.

    A sheet is another word for leaf.

    Its plain english, right?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    baboshka boxes

    2 sheets only!

    1 large box, sixteen smaller boxes where each of the sixteen boxes is smaller than the last, and the last box containing only two sheets.


    (16 x 0) + (1 x 2) = 2


  38. Tawakalna

    s*d the bl**dy environment...

    who cares? we're all doomed anyway!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ IT Department

    Did your thumper still work and perform like the god it is?

    I used a Baydel RAIDER 5 as a luge down a flight of stairs as I could not carry the beast, carry on working for the next 5 years without a hitch.

  40. Kenny Millar

    Poor Stephen Strang - feel sorry for him please.

    His boss has saddled him with a BlackBerry, awww. I bet he feels gutted that he hasn't got an iPhone.

    Oh, by the way, don't bother to contact Lester Haines, he won't reply to your email. Sure you won't lester?

  41. Cory Eastlund

    sun did the same thing

    i had an star office license that was shipped in a large cardboard box

    about 30 inches square that

    was then attached to a wooden palette that was

    shipped by truck.

  42. Bob Gender

    As I was going to St Ives...

    I met a man with an HP EULA.

    How many boxes were going to St Ives?

  43. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: David and Ken Hagan

    The really comic bit is the paper licences usually just give you details of your licence - if it hasn't come pre-installed, for many HP licences you will have to go to to actually download the licence key! Actually, HP have these things called eLTUs which are electronic licences, which do not need the bits of paper in boxes. I suggest Stephan Strang starts asking his HP reseller why the fudge he's getting the paper ones and not the eLTUs.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian Dolls

    We used to package xmas presents for our daughter this way - big box, littler box, smaller box, little box, really little box, lots of packaging paper/peanuts, etc, before she got to the really, really little box with the present in it... Are you sure you didn't miss something? :-)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The question is...

    Does HP learn from this, I'd like to think so?

    Are you embarrised HP, I really think you should be?

  46. IT Department

    Re: @ IT Department

    Yes, it passed self-tests and we're currently using it. Haven't noticed any problems so far, but I am also not the person who signed it off! ;¬) It is pretty awesome. (I love most Sun kit: used an old U60 for ages as a w/s with Sol10 + zones, still got a U10 in service.) You do really need two people + a `spotter' (or a lift) to load the 4500 into a rack. I wonder about the temperature of the drives in the middle of the 6x8 grid, though.

    PS: @Cory Eastlund: if true, I think that's a new record! Do you mean 30"x30"x~few", or 30"x30"x30"?

    If I were a regular Reg commentatatatator, I'd wonder why I'm showing up as "IT Department" instead of the username I'm sure I signed up with. Never mind, I'm sure no-one else here ever registers using:

    First name: IT

    Last name: Department


  47. Kevin Reader

    Some Mail Order Reasons...but not all is sanity.

    I believe a few of the mail order firms started using a minimum sized box as a) most of their orders needed it and b) small packets had an unfortunate habit of getting lost - you know falling into coat pockets and the like, or c) flattened by big boxes.

    The HP thing probably seemed like a good idea when they alway shipped the licence with the kit. They appear to be wrapped like a keyboard which is probably their smallest box big enough for uncreased A4. And the hardware warehouse can handle them because they are on a normal shelf in a normal box. So it was probably a cost saving 5 or 10 years ago. Now it appears you get a pack per CPU (at least) so its become madness.

    Brillant photographing it though.

  48. Jesse
    Thumb Down

    Nice way to trash a sense of humor.

    Now some a-hole CEO at HP is going to fire the guy with the fantastic sense of humor that boxed all that up.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The packaging people should go work at eBuyer!

    You obviously don't spend enough with them, all ours come inside a big box with inserts - about 16 per box.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    paying the freight

    I used to work for an air freight outfit that trucked tons of HP product flown from the Pacific Rim into the U.S. If only they'd protect actual product as well. You wouldn't believe the freight claims for damaged shipments!

  51. Cory Eastlund

    the sun staroffice delivery

    it was a large box 30inch by 30 inch by 30 inch

    and inside that box was 3 other boxes that were 95% empty

    except for a small holder that held 2 cd's and the little 5 x 7.5 inch

    card with the license and a very small terms and conditions thing.

    i had ordered 1 25 license pack and they sent me

    3 of the 25 license packs.

    but the thing that got me was it was strapped to a wooden palette

    and was deliverd by a truck courier service, not ups or fedex

    never ended up deploying the star office but i still have them.

  52. Guy

    Could be worse

    I sent some photographs to my parents and put on the cardboard envelope

    "Photographs...Do Not Bend". It arrived a few days later and someone had added

    " Oh yes they do"

  53. Bruce Clare

    Individually wrapped

    It seems like there is a directive that each license certificate pack has to be individually wrapped. I can understand this as it aids package verification (x licenses = x boxes, so we're good to ship), but why wrap them in boxes instead of envelopes? Even padded envelopes would take up less space, and reduce the need to pay dimensional weight to ship the things.

  54. Anonymous Coward


    We were once musing in the office on whether DABS stood for anything. We concluded it was short for "Delivering Air By Securicor".

  55. Mike Moyle

    Re: The norm for HP

    "HP has been packaging their enterprise software product licenses in that manner for years. You know someone within HP has probably said something by now, only to be shot down. I can image an old HP exec saying, 'our customers have come to expect their licenses delivered without a single wrinkle.'"

    I just pray that they don't ship documentation that way... shipping a 700 page software reference guide could deforest a small country!

  56. Jeremy


    Once sent me a £1 PS/2 to DIN5 (remember those?!) keyboard adaptor, by Royal Mail, cellotaped to the inside of a box that could have comfortably contained a 19in CRT monitor with space to spare. The postman, who presumably noticed it weighed about as much as a box of nitrogen, oxygen and assorted other gasses, asked what it was. He wasn't happy when I told him... Not happy at all...

    To top it all, at the bottom of the shipping note was a statement about how seriously Amazon took it's "commitment to the environment" and "minimising waste"...

  57. mark Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    I can understand this as it aids package verification (x licenses = x boxes, so we're good to ship),

    no I'm not buying that, X licenses sitting on a desk in no boxes at all can be re-checked then bunged in ONE box. then good to ship. What if someone got RSImindfeedback (my new and made up on the spot word) with that monotonous task and some of the 16 boxes were empty?

    and yes, well done all of you for working out 16x2 is 32

    Even paris knows that!

  58. DJ

    What's the problem?

    They arrived safe and sound, didn't they? ;)

    Then again, who paid for the shipping costs?

  59. Smoking Man

    Works as designed.

    What we see here is the result of processes.

    Since processes and the use of brain never fit together, this is just the result-to-expect from all the beancounters and business and process designers that rule hp nowadays.

    Wouldn't be surprised BTW, if the sheets contained NO certificate number or password, but just some hints to which webpage you should go in order to generate and download the passwords..

  60. Michael J Evans

    RE baboshka boxes....... and a dumbass

    baboshka boxes

    By Anonymous Coward

    Posted Friday 18th July 2008 13:17 GMT

    2 sheets only!

    1 large box, sixteen smaller boxes where each of the sixteen boxes is smaller than the last, and the last box containing only two sheets.


    (16 x 0) + (1 x 2) = 2


    LOOK at the photos and the small boxes inside the big box - then come back and tell us who's the dumbass

  61. Mike
    Thumb Up


    This is just HP's way of saving money by having its customers dispose of its excess cardboard, thus keeping down the cost of its hardware.

  62. Francis Vaughan

    Encapsulation and abstraction

    But no-one in software should be in the least bit surprised. This packaging stems from exactly the same thought processes that are practised in software design daily. What you are seeing is the physical manifestation of OO design gone mad. And the reason why your 3GHz machine seems no faster for the same mundane tasks as the 100MHz machine you used a decade ago.

  63. Anonymous Coward

    huhuhuuhuh huh uhuhu huuhuhhu

    He said penalized.

    (No Beavis n Butthead icon!?!?)

  64. JT2008
    Dead Vulture

    Oooooo-kay ...

    This is so fake it hurts.

  65. Stephen Strang

    @ Kenny Millar - feel sorry

    I wouldn't mind the stoneage Blackberry, but it also came with having to support 1000 other BB users.

    Have pity,


  66. Raving
    Paris Hilton

    "Photographs...Do Not Bend"

    Notice the 'HP i n v e n t' branding. Recycling saves HP lots of money.

    Also more discrete than French postcards delivered in a plain, unmarked Manila envelope.

    Paris knows how to be creative. Oh la la!

  67. Anonymous Coward

    My Experience with Dell

    Contacted Dell Gold Warranty Support for an issue with a laptop. After arranging for parts to be shipped to fix the problem, I also asked if they could send me some new rubber feet, perhaps about 3-4 sets of them because we lose them off laptops all the time. After grudgingly providing them with serial numbers for three laptops that were still under warranty (the only way they would ship me rubber feet that perhaps cost them 50 cents per pack), they agreed to ship me some.

    The next day I receive 4 boxes from Dell. One is the repair part I needed. The other three are the size of keyboard boxes. I open the first box and am astounded to find, covered in foam and bubble wrap, ONE rubber foot! I'm told the look on my face was priceless. I open the second box and you guessed it, amid packing material that would be adequate to ship 5 hard drives, I find ONE more rubber foot! Sensing a trend developing, I open the remaining box. Does this contain another rubber foot? Nope, I stare with a sense of unreality at packing material and a small Phillips screwdriver. (the feet just stick on, no screws) Probably $30-$50 per box to ship them overnight. I have to admit that it brightened my day with the general weirdness of it all. After a conversation with a Dell Support rep (who didn't really know what to say about it all) again, they shipped me what I needed later in the week.

    A month or so later another Dell rep. called to ask why I hadn't returned the defective parts (feet) using the pre-paid shipping label they'd included :P

    To be fair, I will say overall I've had good experiences with Dell Support.

    True story.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then there was the guy that shipped me a small receipt printer...

    ...that I bought on ebay. He apparently didn't have any boxes handy, so he wrapped the whole thing in bubble wrap, bringing the size to approximately that of a basketball and stuck a label on. It was unsurprisingly damaged in shipping. The UPS rep. was amazed that they'd accepted it for shipment. And the ebayer was upset that I gave him a negative, go figure.

  69. Duncan

    Isn't it 18 boxes?

    Looking at the photos isn't the "uber" box actually 2 boxes taped together? Surely they didn't go to the effort of "converting" two smaller boxes to make a big one?

  70. Anupam Gupta
    Thumb Down

    My HP experience...

    yes they only do these worthless efforts every time..

    no concentration on providing good customer services and support and if ur product gone crazy after the guarantee period they say HP provides only replacements for the faulty product and not the repairs...

    Worst things happen when they had stopped manufacturing any specific product like in my experience I bought a HP digital camera which later was discontinued by them. when i got problems and contacted them they said "Sorry sir but we only provide replacement and not repairs and we can only offer XXX Scanjet in replacement of your camera on payment of 75% of its value (25% off) as the original product is discontinued by HP for your region (Asia - India)!!!!"

    Isn't this ridiculous they are asking me to exchange a camera with a printer and also I have to pay 75% for that?? No help and i have to either go to some local technicians for help or just forgot abut it and buy a new one (certainly not from HP again)!

    It is the responsibility of the company to ensure services irrespective of the product being manufactured or not. They cheated me as I had faith on them until this incident..

    Thats my HP experience. I am using other HP products and HP is not very helpful to me when I get problems.

  71. Hugo

    Dear The Register

    Please could you contact HP for comment? I'd love to hear their excuse, and who knows, maybe it'll stop them from doing it again. Thanks!

  72. C
    Paris Hilton

    @Wish others were so protective

    "Unfortunately they appear to have used explosives as part of the shipping process as about 20% of it was totaled and many of the remaining boxes were of a warranty voiding nature.... they actually managed to _BEND_ a line card (made of steel) mounted in a chassis (also made of steel) in a box (cardboard plus foam) on a pallet (wood) to such an extend that the bloody installation arms (made of steel too) were broken clean off!!"

    Yeah here in the US we have a company that does that for us too, its called




    or is that




    wait no ..




    Well something like that, its amazing what these idiots can do to well packed and protected parcels. Also they seem to have found new ways to interpret the phrase "With all deliberate speed." .. sigh.

    PH cuz she knows how to take care of your 'package' :)

  73. James Condron


    The DC will have more large boxes than small, for obvious reasons. The DC's racking won't contain loose sheets of paper for other obvious reasons. Yes, any experienced picker/packer in the DC should have opened the boxes and compressed the packaging into one single box, but as it is summer (allegedly, I have seen the weather..) and many DCs take on Tax-Dodgers I'd guess yours was packed by one of the unwashed summer staff.

    Ideally, contact HP; lets lose the little bastard his job, what a waste of cardboard... although if you got a big box and any pages were creased, I'm sure theres not a single one of us who wouldn't complain more

  74. Ulf
    Thumb Down

    Yep, reported such packing to HP many times

    Over the years I have reported such packaging methods to HP many times. Took pictures and I have been told that said pictures have gone up the chain at HP. But so far I have not see much changes. Some other examples:

    1 Folder of SDLT tape labels, put into a 12x12x10" box, which then was put into a much larger box. It could have been shipped in a FedEx or UPS document envelope.

    2 CPU upgrades, 2 memory kits, 2 harddrives. They took a very much too large box for all of it, but only put the harddrives and memory kits in it. Filled it partially up with air bags, then put the box on a pallet, put cpu boxes on top of said large box and used metal straps to hold it all to the pallet. Box cpu boxes were a bit crushed. We paid $20 or so for overnight delivery. Because they put it on a pallet it had to be shipped FedEx Freight Overnight. I calculate regular pricing for that shipment at $400, so even with the deep discounts HP gets from FedEx ....

  75. Phil Lewis
    Gates Horns

    Dell also like to protect air

    Last year I also had two boxes sent to me from Dell which were around 25 x 4 x 15 cm and after opening them there was only a slip of paper in each saying 'This box is intentionally empty' (or words to that effect)!!

    I guess it's not much different in value to getting a boxed set of Vista.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    You cant have too much packaging.

    I sold a turntable via Ebay a few years ago, I re-fitted all the original transit bolts and braces; placed it in the original box, wrapped that box in several layers of bubblewrap then wrapped that in cardboard sheets originally used to ship a large US style fridge/freezer ( thick cardboard!!), and wrote "FRAGILE!! HANDLE WITH CARE!" all over the outside in red marker pen

    It arrived in pieces; totally destroyed.

    The heart?? Because I am hoping that by sucking up I can get my IP unblocked and access the Reg direct instead of via anonymous proxy server.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    unproductive !

    I'll show that paper pushing sod of a supervisor what unproductive is....

  78. Mister Cheese

    Standard HP sized boxes

    Dealt with a lot of HP deliveries in my time. Everything small enough comes in the same size box - license certificates in one box, a coax terminator in another box, a scsi terminator in one... three boxes where one could have sufficed but I assume their warehouse can't cope. It's been going on for many years...

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    boxy boxy

    One box to rule them all... and in transit, bind them

  80. Matthew Quinn

    gotta be a joke

    Sorry not even large corps are this inefficient. Seems like the vendor just...vented some customer angst. I must admit, to do this in a corporate environment takes some balls. Good Stuff!

  81. Turbo Beholder

    fragile Alien paper

    Question is: whether picture on this label is actually supposed to mean “Fragile!” or just “Stop drinking until it's too late!” ? These two issues are close, but are not the same.

  82. Duncan Hothersall

    @ Kenny Millar

    Oddly, Lester has always responded promptly to me. Perhaps his email filters out whining pricks.

  83. Christian Berger

    Value needs to be protected

    I mean those licenses are probably worth a _lot_ more than the cardboard boxes, so it's only reasonable to package them well. I mean imagine you order a bunch of memory modules worth 500 euros. Of course you could ship them in an envelope, but you are happy to have them shipped in boxes far larger than the actual product.

    So this is simply just the normal perversion of a world where licenses are worth so much money.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Exactly what HP should do

    pack up all the golden memories and disappear from this face of the Earth forever, no traces left. They've caused enough harm already.

  85. Bill Cumming

    Must be a slow news day....

    Story's been Slashdotted...

    Could have been worse!

    They could have sent each individual page in it's own box for protection...

  86. Daniel Conley

    I'm not Suprised in the least

    I work for a government ministry here in canada and I have to say I'm not at all suprised by this. I have noticed that most of the stuff that we get from HP (note: 95% of out pc's come from HP) is like that. I have a box in my office and when ever I get a new PC from HP I tend to take all the install discs and stick them in this box in a month I had well over 40 licenced copies of Various versions of windows.

    Mines the one with extra Padding.

  87. Tim Spence

    Am I seriously the only one...

    ...who doesn't believe this story? Honestly, for a laff, how difficult would it be to gather up a load of boxes from company x, strap them all together in an entirely unconvincing manner with parcel tape (a la those photos), and take some photos which insinuate that there was a screw inside 4,000 ever-decreasing boxes?

    Come on people, if it's true, someone was having a laugh at HP, if it isn't true, Stephen Strang was having a laugh. Even the name sounds made up. Maybe I'll send my entry in as Billy Bob, Jimmy James, or Mohammad Mohammad.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing unusual

    Many big companies do the same thing.

    I've received sticks of router RAM packed in boxes large enough to hold a full tower chassis.

    It's akin to playing with matryoshka dolls. A box in a box (with foam - the original package I suspect) in yet another box (with beads - the courier's own container?). You know you're almost there when you get to the little hand-sized box that is completely covered with ESD warning stickers.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maplin can be just as bad

    Last year I ordered a ceramic capacitor from Maplin via their website. The item was just 5mm across and cost £0.09 plus postage and vat, a total of just over £3.00. It The item arrived the next day inside a huge A3 (297mm × 420mm)padded envelope!

    I finally managed to find the tiny item in the cavernous space it had travelled in, and then realised that they had sent me the wrong value. I emailed them and they promised that they would replace it and that I should keep the other to save my postage costs.!

    The following day the replacement arrived and yes, it was hiding at the bottom of another huge A3 padded envelope !

  90. Neil

    Plenty of culprits

    I received a 5 user CAL (A5 sheet of paper) in a large box with air bag packaging around it this morning from Computer 2000. They could of posted it in an envelope.

  91. sleepy

    It's metrics driven management . . .

    Despatch dept performance metrics check up that they ship lots of boxes every day.

    So they do.

    Even if there aren't enough to keep them busy.

  92. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    RE: HP should be penalised for that

    HP should be penalised for that

    By John Robson

    Posted Friday 18th July 2008 10:30 GMT


    As should supermarkets who shrink wrap bananas


    Dont be such a moron! If they want to send it in 1000 boxes its up to them. You just need to decide to not buy from them

  93. Roger Hill

    That's nothing

    About ten years ago a project I was working on brought some openview licenses from HP.

    We eventually received a large cardboard box on a pallet (shipped from Geneva). It was full of cardboard boxes containing software licences (A4 sheets or paper).

    The whole lot could have been sent in one A4 envelope.

    Thanks for continuing to do your bit for the environment HP!

  94. Aodhhan

    Where is the rest of the story?

    How was the order for the material placed? All at one time, or multiple orders? I'm betting how it was ordered had an affect on how this turned out.

    ...and you can't complain about the condition.

  95. Guy Smith

    History is a revolving door

    I used to manage a large HP shop 14 years ago, and they did the same thing then. I made public notice of it (on the aged HP3000-L list server) and HP management noticed, reporting through channels to me that they would stop that particular stupidity.

    The Curse of Carly lingers.

  96. Juhana Siren

    Re: Wish others were so protective

    Quote: "I just received about £350k's worth of mostly green network equipment from a provider that shall remain nameless via TNT....

    Unfortunately they appear to have used explosives as part of the shipping process as about 20% of it was totaled and many of the remaining boxes were of a warranty voiding nature...."

    I only have one question, whose idea was it to use TNT?

    (Yes, yes, already going.)

  97. Anonymous Coward

    HP subscribes to a packing order much older than all of us...

    So goes the ancient text...

    "One box to hold each pair"

    The Warehouse bloke reminds them

    "One box that's sealed with tape

    to, while in transit, bind them."

    What!? No Gandalf icon? Fine, I'll use a smiley face for the smile I hope you all got out of this.

    Paris Hilton

    hmm heres one

    a good few years ago i took a call from UPS they had called to inform me that a 1000 kils packadge was on its way to me from MIT.

    I was confused

    1# I had nothing to do with MIT.

    2# I couldnt think what 1000 kilo item they would want to send me.

    3# How was I gonna handle it.

    So i rang around and got ten strong men to help in exchange for beer n smokes. They duely arrived as did UPS we stood around in anticipation of the massive object i was about to recieve.

    They driver looks worried like he was gonna be lynched. he nervously approached my and handed me a box and asked me to sign for it.

    I did, he got back in the van and drove away.

    More confused we waived him down and questioned him. He showed me the manifest and it cleary stated 1000 kilograms. CD, book, Photographs.

    My next call was worth recording. but we didnt.

  99. Anthony Poh

    ..... that's nothing....

    .... wait till you order a Integrity or 9000 system and add in the additional software (glanceplus, etc).... The amount of empty boxes with only paper licenses in them.... jeez, then you'll realise the amount of poor trees that have been chopped down to make the HP packaging!

  100. Manofmilk
    Thumb Down

    All the same

    IBM are just as bad we recived a single iSCSI adapter in a box big enough to fit a 10u server, there were 6 layers of boxes inside that and the whole thing taped was firmly to a pallet, complete with warnings not to try and lift it without mechanical aid.

    This is where all the costs come from for the hardware we order!

  101. Eoin Mullan

    Keep everbody in a Job

    Maybe they have a vested interest in the courier business !

  102. Adam
    Paris Hilton

    @Math Problem Guy

    Hi, I see no error in math.

    Package came in 1 large box, within that box were 16 boxes, each containing two packages. Therefore 17 boxes, 16x2=32 pages. Paris could've done this.

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