back to article HP packaging madness continues apace

It appears techno-wastrel HP has been shamed not a jot by our previous report on its profligate packing practices - another sorry tale of conspicuous cardboard consumption has reached El Reg today. "I wanted to share the attached picture of a package we received a while ago from HP," says Reg reader Mike Cresswell. HP's …


This topic is closed for new posts.


Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Financial year?

Is it the end of HP's financial year? Is the despatch department desperately attempting to abnegate the savings it made earlier in the year so that its budget isn't cut next time round? I can see the twisted logic behind the boxen of yesterday, but this is pure lunacy (or a wheeze on someone's part).

Steve Taylor

HPUX Compiler Keys

Some years ago (around 2000) I ordered the HPUX development system software.

It arrived in a large box, around 24x18x8 inches.

Inside this box was a smaller box, perhaps 12x10x2, and inside this was an envelope.

Inside the envelope was a single sheet of A4 containing the license key, and an smaller sheet with instructions on how to download the software.

I now wish I'd a photo, 'cos it now seems hard to believe that it really happened.

PS. the download instructions were wrong.

Anonymous Coward
Gates Halo

The only thing you can say to that is

Oi Scamps, get on yahoo. I need to talk to you about stu

Dan Wilkinson

Empty Box

I once received several empty boxes from IBM. Ostensibly they were used to fill the spaces in a larger box in which was a couple of cryptographic cards, but the packing system was obviously clever in knowing how many boxes were needed inside the box. Sadly it wasn't clever enough, so after working out that it needed 7 empty boxes to fill the void, and only 6 fitting inside....the 7th was dutifully posted anyway.

They were about 8=6=4 in size, and curiously actually had "empty box" printed onto them, not using stickers...

Sadly, this was before camera phones (12 years or so ago), so no evidence.


It'll all be down to...

Health & Safety, don't you know.

Probably find that the courier operates a strict "no manual handling" policy requiring the use of fork lift truck devices all round.

It probably costs more for the pallet and packaging than for the contents on this one.

But hey, that's progress for you!

The Hi-Viz one everyone has to wear at work these days.

Scott Millar
Thumb Down

green? what's that?

I hope someone from HP has been reading these. Not exacly green is it?

Anonymous Coward

I hope he used a forklift to move that palette

Health & safety and all that.


I don't even find that funny

That is just plain wasteful. HP needs some sense knocked into them.

Destroy All Monsters
Silver badge
Dead Vulture

So who is "stu"

...and how can El Reg make sure that enthusiastic participants in the "packaging armageddon" contest won't go overboard and do a "Curveball" on it.

(aka. as a "Rafid Ahmed Alwan")

Eponymous Cowherd
Thumb Down

Printer cartridges

HP's inkjet cartridges suffer some serious packaging overload. A matchbox sized cartridge in a foil pack, in a plastic tray, in a box along with an instruction booklet in about 50 languages (of which the English instructions take up single page) and advertising crap, in a cardboard box inside a cellophane wrapper.


IBM && Complexity Theory

``I once received several empty boxes from IBM. Ostensibly they were used to fill the spaces in a larger box in which was a couple of cryptographic cards, but the packing system was obviously clever in knowing how many boxes were needed inside the box.''

Good to hear that a classic NP problem (the knapsack problem) is affecting crypto people.

Tim Spence

Guide to making HP look silly:

Step 1: Take any old pallet or over-sized box (if using a box, one with HP on is more authentic).

Step 2: Take teeny-weeny item you've recently been delivered (the smaller the better).

Step 3: Arrange item inside or on pallet or box, as though you've *literally* just opened it and the first thing you've done before seeing what it is is find a camera.

Step 4: Take photo.

Step 5: Send to The Reg with cover story.

In fact, I might make a mock-up myself in a bit with a mate's articulated lorry, a spare screw for my HP laptop, and a picture of me stood looking shocked holding aforementioned screw in front of an empty lorry. An entire lorry for a single screw? Bastards.

Of course, the ultimate award will go to anyone with access to an empty container ship and a replacement Intel Atom "transistor". And a camera capable of seeing it, natch.

Anonymous Coward

You know the "this page deliberately left blank" messages?

Is there one that says "this box deliberately left empty"?

David Edwards
Thumb Up

Wood burning stove

I have a wood burning stove, I think I may get all my kit form HP from now on.

The Dark Lord

@Steve Taylor

Think yourself lucky! A former client of mine used to keep the whole things in their "software library". It really was "I'm too chicken to throw that out" gone mad.

Dell once sent me a single stick of RDRAM in a box big enough for 24x330ml bottles of beer.

And Compaq sent me the serial number sticker for the Integrated Lights Out functionality in the same type of box they used to ship SCSI drives in their hot-swap caddies.

I suppose it's a case of "you use what's available". Certainly I did when I recycled all the boxes for packaging for my eBay sales.


Re: It'll all be down to...

"The Hi-Viz one everyone has to wear at work these days."

I want to know what you wear if you work in a factory making Hi-Viz jackets.



Anyone that has to go down stores will know why this is happening, mixture of pure stoopidaty and the boys having a laugh on a Friday.

Because HP can't be that rubbish, Dell don't do this and PC world wouldn't even bother with the box????

Anonymous Coward
Gates Halo

To Destroy All Monsters

Stu is ginger. And I need to talk to Scamps about him.


@Printer cartridges

You missed one: inside all of that lot is 15ml of ink - three teaspoons.

Anonymous Coward
IT Angle

@David Edwards

Make sure that the pallets are untreated wood.

Maybe you can specify that on your order?

Anonymous Coward
Thumb Up

Slightly off-topic....

...but I once received a cheque (that's check to our American chums) from BP Exploration for the vast sum of £1

It was one of those corporate cheques (colonials see above) so it had boxes for hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands, thousands, hundreds, tens and pounds with all the boxes XXX'd out except the very last one

The admin costs and postage must have been at least double the value of the cheque itself, I wish I had kept it but I was a skint student at the time so suspect I may have paid it into my bank

Francis Vaughan


There does seem to be a little lack of credulity from some commentators - implying that these occasions have been faked. But those of us that have dealt with big two and three letter computer companies long enough all have similar stories. I once received another huge box. Inside this box, were 40 other boxes, each about 25 inches by 12 by 2. Inside each box, was a single IEC power cable. These were the "country kits" for an order of servers. The shipping costs (half way around the planet by air freight) would have exceeded the value of the contents by about 100 times. Over the years we assembled a small mountain of US style power cables. All totally useless.

And again, on the other hand, many many years ago, we received a DEC RA81 disk unit (in those days a huge rack mounted unit) which had been wrapped in a single layer of bubble wrap and thrown in the back of a truck. Apparently is was talked about by the DEC technicians for years after. It didn't survive.

Dominic Murray

It's not HP...

HP don't generally distribute their own products, they have third party distributors do it for them. From this pic it looks like this was done by Kuehne + Nagel who are a logistics and distribution specialist probably working on behalf of a distributor or reseller?


Something looks a bit sus in that picture

What stopped the small box falling through the large gaps in the pallet? Normally when they send small boxes on a pallet, they stick a cardboard sheet down first to stop them falling out.

Anonymous Coward

For all you doubters and naysayers

My girlfriend works in a well known computer manufacturer's (who may have recently shipped US keyboards to the UK) configuration department which is located inside a hardware company's warehouse (for ease of purchasing etc). Apparently this kind of packaging nonsense is fairly commonplace for the aforementioned computer manufacturer, but after configuration is done away with and you get the final model in a normal box (cos all the bits are already inside the case obviously). However, it is not uncommon to have whole pallets given over to only a few boards or a single hard drive.

Matt Bryant
Silver badge

Problem is with Nagel, not HP.

If you bothered to look at the picture before foaming at the mouth, you would see the package has been wrapped by Kuehne & Nagel (a shipping company) not HP. And if it is a PC mouse, then it will have come from a distributor or reseller from stock, not direct from HP (this is also obvious as the shipping label is not an HP label). In short, nothing to do with HP.

And to the idiots above still going on about licence certificates in boxes, you really need to get someone qualified to do your ordering so they can get you electronic licences instead. Again, nothing to do with HP - if you are stupid enough to order bits of paper you will get bits of paper.

Anonymous Coward

As a forklift dealer

I have to say that I fully support this packaging policy. All that is required now is that they move their DC (distribution centre) to Birmingham and buy lots of forklifts from me.

/dons company branded hi-vis


@Francis Vaughan

When I worked at a PC repair company we got a PC in for repair where the customer had simply written the RMA number on the top of the case and slapped an Amtrak label on the side. It arrived in perfect condition, as Amtrak took extra care due to the lack of packaging.

On the same wagon was a laptop in tiny pieces, it was well packed with loads of polystyrene peanuts. inner & out boxes & everything. But somewhere along the line clearly someone had drop kicked it across the depot & smashed it.

Moral of the story, save the environment by not using any packaging and the goods will arrive in perfect condition... or maybe not


Standard boxes

HP badged Brocade switches come in a box that is obviously intended for two of them. The original idea must have been that since they are normally installed as pairs then let's put two in one box. If you order two though they still come in two double-sized boxes.

Anonymous Coward
Paris Hilton

@Steve Taylor

"Some years ago (around 2000) I ordered the HPUX development system software."

Yes I expect the software did come in a pretty big box back in around the year 8 a.d?

Neil Porter

Matt Bryant loves HP

Wooooooohh!!!! I'm gonna tell everyone.

Matt wants to kiss HP and everything. I saw them holding hands last week!

Now back to the crazy packaging stories....


Sneaky, very sneaky

This is not overpackaging, it's simply a very thinly veiled attempt to off-load waste.

These days it probably costs rather more to dispose of it properly than it does to just send it to the customer. You'll also probably get nagged by Greenpeace for throwing out millions of tonnes of cardboard, so it's a double bonus; save money and be seen to be green even when you're not.

I suspect a manager somewhere is cursing these news stories ;)



Shurely the pic is a fake, look at the pallet construction carefully... also (I may be wrong) you don't load a pallet on a fork lift like that. Note also the black bin-bag 'shrink wrap' that was prolly done with the secs hairdryer and the carefully off center tape that reveals the money-shot. And, as has been mentioned, no bottom sheet on the pallet.

Not having it...

Anonymous Coward

Duly Noted

As an HP employee I have escalated this to our environmental and packaging teams. They assure me they are on the case. May not be a quick fix but it will be fixed.

IT Angle

@ Matt Bryant

You are correct its a reseller again, as we are a buyer of IT products they don't ship it direct this way unless the order is big enough or is a heavy hp printer. I agree they use to much packaging for certain cheap items such as mice but then again we have never had a beaten up machine received

Sarah Bee
(Written by Reg staff)


It's true y'know, everything on the internet is Photoshopped.

EVERYthing. Even you.

Luiz Abdala

The packaging madness obeys a sense of scale too...

I once bought a SD Card - you know, it has the size of a postage stamp, just a little thicker - and it was inside an A4-size (*) plastic package. I wonder how large would be the box to ship a Land Rover, or any car for that matter.

(*) A4 - a sheet of paper this size measures 210mm x 297mm.

My coat is the one with the camping backpack attached, just to carry my MP3 player...


"Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

Even your momma?

Sarah Bee
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: "Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

Especially your momma. Twice.

Paris Hilton

And the other thing...

Wtf is going on with that black bit of bin-liner hanging on by a tiny thread?!? If it was shrink-wrapped at the depot that would have fell off many ages ago! Ergo, it was blasted, after blackbag wrappage with Tracy's hair dryer in-situ.

I rest my case.

El Reg should own-up now! I have my suspicions...

Keith Williams

Over packaged consumer products

I would like to point out that much of the overpackaging of consumer products is to deter or otherwise reduce shoplifiting, 'cause if the package is big, it's harder to fit in your pocket

As for the one pound cheque, I worked at one company which had been around for a while manufacturing clothing. It had a "seconds" shop which was open to the public run by a retiree. His pension had been increased the month previous so he received a cheque for the difference which had not made it onto his month pension cheque. He took it to the President of the company (whom he had known since the president was a baby) and suggested that it had not been necessary to send him a cheque for 1 cent.

Mr G

@Printer cartridges

The best bit about HP printer cartridges are that some of the 42ml cartridges actually come in a smaller box than the 26ml ones, and yes they are both black cartridges.

Anonymous Coward
Paris Hilton

Another contest idea

Okay, since it's so easy to fake a packaging pic, how about an award for the best Playmobil reconstruction of an excessive packaging encounter?

I chose the icon closest to a Playmobil figure.

Jamie Kephalas
Paris Hilton


never ordered memory from across the pond for some cisco devices?

now that is ridiculous!

PH knows all the best things come in large packages.

Mike Cresswell

Hornets Nest

Hi All

Well, I sent the picture because I saw the previous article about excess packaging, it made me laugh and I thought "Yeah, I've seen that". So my intention was only to amuse. But it seems to have stirred up a Hornets nest so just a few comments.

The picture is genuine. It wasn't staged, artificially created or Photo Shopped. The way I described it was exactly the way it happened.

I agree that the tape says Kuehne and Nagel. But my company outsources all its IT support and procurement to HP so this was ordered through HP.

I did say "It was a while ago". But this isn't the first time I've seen excess packaging nor I suspect will it be the last. This was just the most excessive example I've ever seen.

To anyone I've offended, I apologise

To anyone I've amused, you're welcome

To anyone who doesn't believe me, you are entitled to your beliefs.

Here's hoping someone can top this and win the 5000 rolls of packing tape :-)


Mike Crawshaw

Re "Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

That is all.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

That's nothing

Here's an image of the packaging HP used to send me one piece of paper:

Thumb Up


did the package or did the package did arrive at its destination unscathed ?

who's to say it needed less since we'll never know.

good job HP and the distributor, please please continue to pack things as you see fit and not as the environMENTALISTS would like.

Dazed and Confused
Silver badge

HP like big boxes

This is hardly new

I've been dealing with HP for almost 30 years.

They just like big boxes OK.

I think the most inappropriate box I've ever received from them was about a cubic yard with 1 sheet of paper in it. I nearly missed the damn thing too whiles emptying out all the little plastic foam packing pellets.

All that for a right to use a copy of Rocky Mountain Basic.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

@Sarah Bee "Re: Everything on the internet is photoshopped"


so there I am bigging you up as the promo face of LG (to put the hackneyed Asus EEE PC beach girl in the shade), because I thought looked photogenic at the El Reg 10 year bash......

.... are you saying your colleagues found you too lovely and had to re-touch you, so you wouldn't outshine them? Or is it just your natural sense of modesty?


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018