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 …

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  1. 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).

  2. Steve Taylor
    Unhappy

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. dervheid
    Coat

    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.

  6. Scott Millar
    Thumb Down

    green? what's that?

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

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I hope he used a forklift to move that palette

    Health & safety and all that.

  8. Laxman

    I don't even find that funny

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

  9. 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")

  10. 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.

  11. Ian

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. The Dark Lord
    Happy

    @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.

  16. Dennis
    Joke

    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.

  17. Scott

    Stores

    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????

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    To Destroy All Monsters

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

  19. Dale

    @Printer cartridges

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

  20. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @David Edwards

    Make sure that the pallets are untreated wood.

    Maybe you can specify that on your order?

  21. 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

  22. Francis Vaughan

    Credulity

    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.

  23. Dominic Murray
    Stop

    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?

  24. Wize

    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.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    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.

  26. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Boffin

    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.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    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

  28. Alan
    Happy

    @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

  29. Pondule

    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.

  30. 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?

  31. Neil Porter
    Heart

    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....

  32. A

    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 ;)

  33. beast666

    FAKE!

    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...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    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.

  35. Christopher
    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

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: FAKE!

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

    EVERYthing. Even you.

  37. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    Coat

    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...

  38. Wize
    Coat

    "Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

    Even your momma?

  39. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

    Especially your momma. Twice.

  40. beast666
    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...

  41. Keith Williams
    Pirate

    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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. Jamie Kephalas
    Paris Hilton

    Cisco

    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.

  45. 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

  46. Mike Crawshaw
    Happy

    Re "Everything on the internet is photoshopped"

    http://xkcd.com/331/

    That is all.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's nothing

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

    http://i.treehugger.com/files/th_images/empty-boxes.jpg

  48. AC
    Thumb Up

    ahem

    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.

  49. Dazed and Confused

    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    Sarah,

    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?

  51. herman Silver badge

    Intel too

    I had similar crazyness from Intel: Three 'Russian doll' boxes inside each other, each with copious quantities of peanuts and in the middle was an envelope with a manual in it. It did arrive in perfect condition though.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe they are saving money

    If they have an annual rate with a shipper for all their shipments, then they can save money on waste disposal by giving unwanted packaging to customers to worry about.

  53. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    Title should not be required

    Heh, I believe this and it isnt just IT companies either who do this kind of BS.

    Back when I use to work on cars we had torched a machine that was under warranty.

    Call company they said sure we will send you a new one.

    2 weeks later we have a full size tractor-trailer backing into the front of the garage, I'm sitting there thinking "WTF is this?". Driver gets out tells us we have a delivery from the company fo the machine. Oh great well lets get it off. He opens the rear doors, and there, all alone in the middle of the truck is a BIG SOB wooden box. I ask him where he drove from, Los Angeles was the answer....he also informed me he didnt make any stops and that he was told to get the delivery to us ASAP. Oooookay. So we get the box off (about 750 pounds of wood packing), the machine is held in the pallet/box combination with what look to be railroad tie sized pieceds of wood. All for a machine about the size of a microwave.

    Ok Wish I had pics but I was too busy rolling on the ground laughing, plus it was years ago.

    Oh well

    /Paris because shes unpacked wooden things.

  54. John
    Coat

    You need a degree to unpack IBM stuff

    We had a large consignment of whizz bang IBM when I was warehosuing, which had their own mini pallets and the boxes of stuff were stapled (with large industrial efforts) to them. It took quite a while and quite a few blokes to unpack it, but (fortunately) we couldn't quite master it, so we gave up. Later in the afternoon we got a phone call saying that the stuff was going to Germany, and they'd put our address on by mistake. We were also told that it must NOT be damaged and forwarded on in its original packaging. Good job I left the boxes stapled to the pallets. Health and safety almost threw 'em out for recycling. All this technogoly fries yer brain.

    Mine was the hi-viz one.

  55. JT2008
    Paris Hilton

    @Dennis

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

    What??

    We're supposed to WEAR something???

    Paris, because she likes working in the Hi-Viz industry.

  56. JT2008
    Coat

    RE: 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."

    ... and your verification of resolution will arrive on a single sheet of paper,via pack elephant, in a giant steel cargo crate, filled with styrofoam packing peanuts, and about 8 miles of bubble wrap.

    Mine's the one that says "Janitor"

  57. Charles Manning

    @JT2008

    I think you forgot the bit where they fly all the environmental officers from around the world to some location to discuss ideas. On a monthly basis. Then send everyone in the company a coffee mug saying "THink of the environment"; individually packed in 1ft cubed boxes, one per pallet, and delivered by Fedex,

  58. Bob Keyes
    Pirate

    $0.00 bill

    A few years back, I think it was 2001, I got a bill from AT&T Cellular, which I hadn't had an account with for a year or so, for $0.00. I ignored it, got an overdue notice the next month for $0.00, so I sent them a check for $0.00 and they went away.

    One time, back in the 80s, I got ripped off of a dime in a payphone (In Massachusetts) and called to report the phone out of order. They took my name and address and send me a check for the ten cents. I never cashed it...I recall that it came in a wastefully thick and formal envelope and 20 lb paper with a watermark, with a form letter apology. I mean, this was almost card stock. I just wanted them to fix the damn phone, which it took them forever to do.

  59. Bob Keyes
    Paris Hilton

    $0.00 bill

    A few years back, I think it was 2001, I got a bill from AT&T Cellular, which I hadn't had an account with for a year or so, for $0.00. I ignored it, got an overdue notice the next month for $0.00, so I sent them a check for $0.00 and they went away.

    One time, back in the 80s, I got ripped off of a dime in a payphone (In Massachusetts) and called to report the phone out of order. They took my name and address and send me a check for the ten cents. I never cashed it...I recall that it came in a wastefully thick and formal envelope and 20 lb paper with a watermark, with a form letter apology. I mean, this was almost card stock. I just wanted them to fix the damn phone, which it took them forever to do.

  60. tony trolle
    Happy

    IBM boxes

    I remember them in the 80's 'EMPTY BOX' most of the managers took them but we had one in the media store for about 3 months until someone wrote on it.

    Inside was a used condom and the words were "Empty sack".

    In another job we had a 21 inch monitor RMA'ed sent back in bubble wrap. It was returned because of those two black lines on the sony tubes so it still worked; looked like it had rolled 200 miles in a empty van DOA.

    Turns out AMC bubble wrapped it on one of the depots and the customer just stuck a note on top.

    We find out later in the day the customer was a small courier company

  61. Slimey
    Paris Hilton

    @ Matt Bryant

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

    Ahem, read the first comment:

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

    OK, he didn't order it 2000 years ago, but as recently as 2000 many companies still did not have adequate and/or secure access to the web so keys were still mailed out on paper certificates. Even in the age of broadband, there are enough companies out there, particularly for expensive software, where electronic keys are not available.

    Stop shooting the messenger. Paris because her comprehension is questionable too.

  62. Max Vernon
    Alert

    Tell me this

    Who doesn't like a big box?

  63. Adam Buckland

    Did this Mike Creswell

    Work or still work for Strategix?

  64. Mike Cresswell

    Nope

    Nope. Never worked for Strategix.

  65. rick buck
    Gates Horns

    bloat

    An overlooked example of overpackaging is as close as your windows machine. The amount of BLOAT in the last 2 or 3 renditions of windows should be a crime.

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