Wednesday 8 July 2009

An example of how society's values are all screwed up

The doorbell rang, a delivery man was there. "Sign here", he said, and handed me a cardboard box. "Thanks," I said, noticing how light it was. I knew I'd recently ordered two new hard drives and a SATA card (to connect them into our server). This was too light to be either.

You can see from the photos below what was inside - a box the size of two shoeboxes, stuffed with brown paper, containing 2 tiny red SATA cables (which could at a pinch fit in a normal paper envelope if you wanted to). I had ordered these from as part of the order for the SATA card. I was shocked that they would ship these individually and in such a wasteful way. A jiffy bag would have been more appropriate, and why on earth do the cables needed to be shipped separately.

This got me thinking, people talk about how we should have an economical model where we take into account the real environmental cost, not to mention the money cost. I can't think of a better illustration than this. Not only all that waste packaging, but the fact that the delivery man made a separate trip to deliver it.. Wasteful deliveries like this must equate to a lot of fuel, vehicle wear and tear, not to mention packing note printing, labour to package the thing, backroom admin by the supplier and the courier.

It's really sad that somebody decided it's "cheaper" to treat all items the same, send each part of an order in an identical size box, regardless of what it really needs or what is sensible.

I guess common sense doesn't scale.

Here's an image I found online which tells a similar story quite succinctly:

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