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Yet another "ESTES sent me a smashed package" thread.

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Bat-mite

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A month ago, my Fliskits Richter Recker "recked" due to an Estes E9 cato. As usual, Christine at Estes customer service hooked me right up: pick any PSII kit you want. I asked for a Nike Smoke.

It arrived last night. The box looked like it had been thrown down a long flight of steps; and, of course, the airframe is smashed.

I will call Christine, and I know she will ship me out another one. She'll probably even tell me to keep the damaged one, and I'll have spare parts.

But, man! Estes must throw away so much money on these smashed shipments! Why don't they mark things as fragile and put them in a sturdier box? It boggles the mind.
 

JumpJet

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Why don't they mark things as fragile and put them in a sturdier box? It boggles the mind.
Putting the word Fragile on a box is like saying "Kick Me across the room please." It is more likely your local UPS facility has issues.


John Boren
 
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Flyfalcons

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The RC company that sponsors me did a shipping test - they labeled half of their shipments as fragile and the other half were left blank. The marked boxes were damaged more often than the unmarked ones.
 

neil_w

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Putting the work Fragile on a box is like saying "Kick Me across the room please."
Many years ago, a coworker of mine who once worked at UPS told me essentially the same thing. I really hope it's not really that way so much anymore, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
 

bob jablonski

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I dont think any shipping company is great. UPS and Fedex crushes boxes and getting UPS to pay is like pulling teeth from alligators (so I wont ship with them). USPS has packages ge to the twilight zone for a week before arriving. (tracking numbers covered my butt more than once. But they do make it and with less crushings.
 

bclark989

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Rather than a story from a friend, I actually used to work in a UPS hub!

I worked the day sort as a loader for a few months shortly after dropping out of my first stab at college. I was pulled off my truck 3 separate times to work the unload. (One side of the building unloads trucks while the other side loads trucks).

I can truthfully say that they try to pay attention to "fragile" labels, along with "this side up" and "do not bend". The ones they pay much more attention to are "HazMat" and "This is heavy; get help". The problem at the hubs is that the most important thing is time. The line supervisors are somewhere in between a slave driver and a football coach. You feel like you are on a sports team. They keep track of everyone's stats and post them publicly...how many did you load, how long did it take, how many were mispicks (zip code doesn't belong on your truck), etc. It was very survival of the fittest. In orientation, you learn to handle things with care while maintaining a level of urgency. After a week on the line of being yelled at for loading the wrong packages on your track at half the speed of the guy that has been there for 10 years and never gets a mispick, all concern for the well-being of the packages is out the window.

And the unload is even worse, because they can't screw up. There is zero reason to go slow because there is nothing to sort or check the zip on, which is the primary reason you stop and look at each individual package on the load.

At the end of the day, if the package is still sealed, it goes on the truck. It has to have substantial holes in it or flat out have missing chunks for them to send it to the "damaged" pile.

I know none of that is very encouraging. But as with most problems with big companies, the problem is management. I can assure you its not that the package handlers see "Fragile" and think "Yay! Eff this guy! Break his stuff!". It just isn't on their priority list thanks to management.

BC
 

dhbarr

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Rather than a story from a friend, I actually used to work in a UPS hub!

I worked the day sort as a loader for a few months shortly after dropping out of my first stab at college. I was pulled off my truck 3 separate times to work the unload. (One side of the building unloads trucks while the other side loads trucks).

I can truthfully say that they try to pay attention to "fragile" labels, along with "this side up" and "do not bend". The ones they pay much more attention to are "HazMat" and "This is heavy; get help". The problem at the hubs is that the most important thing is time. The line supervisors are somewhere in between a slave driver and a football coach. You feel like you are on a sports team. They keep track of everyone's stats and post them publicly...how many did you load, how long did it take, how many were mispicks (zip code doesn't belong on your truck), etc. It was very survival of the fittest. In orientation, you learn to handle things with care while maintaining a level of urgency. After a week on the line of being yelled at for loading the wrong packages on your track at half the speed of the guy that has been there for 10 years and never gets a mispick, all concern for the well-being of the packages is out the window.

And the unload is even worse, because they can't screw up. There is zero reason to go slow because there is nothing to sort or check the zip on, which is the primary reason you stop and look at each individual package on the load.

At the end of the day, if the package is still sealed, it goes on the truck. It has to have substantial holes in it or flat out have missing chunks for them to send it to the "damaged" pile.

I know none of that is very encouraging. But as with most problems with big companies, the problem is management. I can assure you its not that the package handlers see "Fragile" and think "Yay! Eff this guy! Break his stuff!". It just isn't on their priority list thanks to management.

BC
Truth. When I did unloads we were required to hit 1,100/hr, 20.5 lbs the avg. weight. It was 100+ in the trailer, 11pm-3am.

Best shape of my life, but no time to hate any one package. I hated them all indiscriminately :)
 

DavidMcCann

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Truth. When I did unloads we were required to hit 1,100/hr, 20.5 lbs the avg. weight. It was 100+ in the trailer, 11pm-3am.

Best shape of my life, but no time to hate any one package. I hated them all indiscriminately :)
Over the last 20 years I've seen a lot. Writing fragile is useless.... Not because people ignore it... Machines and Trucks don't read.

I say this not with malice, but I agree it's blunt... It is the packers responsibility to make sure the package is properly packed to survive transport.... Not the delivery company. It's going to go into containers, ride in trucks, airplanes, and be sorted several times along the way. You have to take that into consideration. Most businesses play the odds and replacement is much cheaper than 100% solid packing. They know they're going to lose things in transit, and accept those losses. This isn't a cop-out of responsibility, It's a known factor of shipping. Doing things fast, cheap (yes, shipping in this country is cheap.... look at other countries) and good is hard. People ask "how hard is it to not crush a box?" To be honest I'm shocked at how well things arrive.

If you are sending something that is not replaceable- send it registered. It's going to cost an arm and a leg, and it's going to go slowly. Every person who touches it will sign for it.

Since that is excessive for most of the hobby market shipping, the best thing to do is pack well, and realize that shipping anything is a gauntlet.
 

Buckeye

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Rather than a story from a friend, I actually used to work in a UPS hub!

I worked the day sort as a loader for a few months shortly after dropping out of my first stab at college. I was pulled off my truck 3 separate times to work the unload. (One side of the building unloads trucks while the other side loads trucks).

I can truthfully say that they try to pay attention to "fragile" labels, along with "this side up" and "do not bend". The ones they pay much more attention to are "HazMat" and "This is heavy; get help". The problem at the hubs is that the most important thing is time. The line supervisors are somewhere in between a slave driver and a football coach. You feel like you are on a sports team. They keep track of everyone's stats and post them publicly...how many did you load, how long did it take, how many were mispicks (zip code doesn't belong on your truck), etc. It was very survival of the fittest. In orientation, you learn to handle things with care while maintaining a level of urgency. After a week on the line of being yelled at for loading the wrong packages on your track at half the speed of the guy that has been there for 10 years and never gets a mispick, all concern for the well-being of the packages is out the window.

And the unload is even worse, because they can't screw up. There is zero reason to go slow because there is nothing to sort or check the zip on, which is the primary reason you stop and look at each individual package on the load.

At the end of the day, if the package is still sealed, it goes on the truck. It has to have substantial holes in it or flat out have missing chunks for them to send it to the "damaged" pile.

I know none of that is very encouraging. But as with most problems with big companies, the problem is management. I can assure you its not that the package handlers see "Fragile" and think "Yay! Eff this guy! Break his stuff!". It just isn't on their priority list thanks to management.

BC
Wow. Thanks for the insight. I am envisioning the opening scenes of "Castaway."
 

Buckeye

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Over the last 20 years I've seen a lot. Writing fragile is useless.... Not because people ignore it... Machines and Trucks don't read.

I say this not with malice, but I agree it's blunt... It is the packers responsibility to make sure the package is properly packed to survive transport.... Not the delivery company. It's going to go into containers, ride in trucks, airplanes, and be sorted several times along the way. You have to take that into consideration. Most businesses play the odds and replacement is much cheaper than 100% solid packing. They know they're going to lose things in transit, and accept those losses. This isn't a cop-out of responsibility, It's a known factor of shipping. Doing things fast, cheap (yes, shipping in this country is cheap.... look at other countries) and good is hard. People ask "how hard is it to not crush a box?" To be honest I'm shocked at how well things arrive.

If you are sending something that is not replaceable- send it registered. It's going to cost an arm and a leg, and it's going to go slowly. Every person who touches it will sign for it.

Since that is excessive for most of the hobby market shipping, the best thing to do is pack well, and realize that shipping anything is a gauntlet.
Agreed. My dad was a shipping clerk, so I know my way around tape, cardboard, and packing! Anybody who gets a package from me can rest assured.
 

Bat-mite

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You are spot on, Dave. Estes could save a lot of time and money by using a thicker box and packing it with more bubble wrap or peanuts.
 

JRobinsonUSAF

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I just got two in the last two weeks. Not the carrier's fault though. Apparently if a body tube will not fit into the company's plastic sleeve, the acceptable course of action is to force it in. I got a Mercury Redstone with a deformed tube from a LHS and an STM-012 off od eBay, both with oval tubes from a too small plastic sleeve, I an sending Estes a copy of this.

JR
 

dr wogz

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Packing is an art! and many times I've seen badly packed items..

https://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/guidelines/how_to4.html

at the bottom of the page:

"Note: UPS does not provide special handling for packages with "Fragile", package orientation (e.g., "UP" arrows or "This End Up" markings), or any other similar such markings."

Now, if only their drivers would point that out when they pick up your Ming vase, packed loosely in 1 layer of bubble wrap & Christmas wrapping paper with "fragile" written in crayon on it..
 

Bat-mite

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Christine, as always, was extremely sympathetic and got a body tube into the mail to me almost immediately. Here's hoping this one has some better luck.
 

DavidMcCann

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I just got two in the last two weeks. Not the carrier's fault though. Apparently if a body tube will not fit into the company's plastic sleeve, the acceptable course of action is to force it in. I got a Mercury Redstone with a deformed tube from a LHS and an STM-012 off od eBay, both with oval tubes from a too small plastic sleeve, I an sending Estes a copy of this.

JR
Ever since they moved to china, a move I will never forgive them for, the quality control has gone to crap, and they have bagged the kits much too tightly as you've said... Just plain stupid.
 

DavidMcCann

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You are spot on, Dave. Estes could save a lot of time and money by using a thicker box and packing it with more bubble wrap or peanuts.
I'm certain that replacement costs of damaged parts are less than bombproof packaging. ;)
 

cerving

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I ordered an Argent recently ($22.50.. hard to pass up) and the box was practically open, but other than a slight dent at the edge of the fin side of the booster tube it was OK. They DO pack them way too loosely... just a few pieces of paper, almost obligatory. I suspect that the minor damage wasn't due to rough handling, it was due to the bag thrashing around in the box during transit.
 

PropellantHead

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Many years ago, a coworker of mine who once worked at UPS told me essentially the same thing. I really hope it's not really that way so much anymore, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
An ex-UPS employee once said that, if you really want a package to be handled with care, mark it fragile AND have a young kid with a crayon scrawl something like "To Gramma From Bobby" all over it. Apparently the average person will take pretty good care of something if he see that it's from a kid and going to his grandmother.

Disclaimer: I've not ever personally tried this.
 

DavidMcCann

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An ex-UPS employee once said that, if you really want a package to be handled with care, mark it fragile AND have a young kid with a crayon scrawl something like "To Gramma From Bobby" all over it. Apparently the average person will take pretty good care of something if he see that it's from a kid and going to his grandmother.

Disclaimer: I've not ever personally tried this.

agreed, but once again, the majority of damage comes from machines and in transport. If a handler carries the box on feather pillows, sets it gentlely into the container, and kisses it, it does not protect it from the 16 bowling balls some guy ordered.

Save on the crayons, buy more bubble wrap. newspaper is not effective at shock absorption.... just prevents rattle damage.
 

Brent

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It is not just packages UPS smashes they also hit mail boxes. I just got done straightening mine out and pounding the post about 4 inches deeper in the ground. Wife heard him hit it but he didn't even stop.
 

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The last time I had rocketry items shipped (Apogee) I asked them to double box everything due to "rough handling" by customs.

They did. Everything came up perfect. The outer box was in pretty sorry shape and it had literally 3 rolls of packing tape all over it, but the inner box was spotless.

Just ask the company you buy from to do it. If they say "We'll have to charge you an extra couple of bucks to do it" then pay it.
 

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Recieved today... I am upset, but, half expected this. Probably the WORST packing job ever. How did the tube for the Nike Smoke get WET?? (which it is)
Both ends of the body tube got mashed up. Honestly, it almost looks like someone did this on purpose.
Yes, I am going to contact Estes and Yes, I will probably get another. I may be able to make one out of the 3 different kits.....
.... or a Nike Python 2 stage.

IMG_20160719_183901.jpg

IMG_20160719_184150.jpg

IMG_20160719_184211.jpg
 

dhbarr

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Didn't Alway just release details on a Nike Nike Smoke? :)
 

DavidMcCann

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Only place I've seen "wet" happen is broken packages containing water spilling on others, or from the airlines leaving packages in the rain during an offload.
 

Salvage-1

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Only place I've seen "wet" happen is broken packages containing water spilling on others, or from the airlines leaving packages in the rain during an offload.
Wierd thing... none of the rest of the packaging shows any sign of moisture. It almost looks like the tube was wet when it went in the plastic packaging. Opening later for a good look.
 

Bat-mite

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Would be great if you report all your findings to Christine. The poor packaging is obvious from the pictures, and that is Estes' fault, not the shipper. If the tube is truly wet in the package, then they have a problem in their Chinese facility.
 

JumpJet

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The poor packaging is obvious from the pictures, and that is Estes' fault, not the shipper
Just curious how a box that has be crushed by UPS is Estes's fault. Estes would NEVER ship out a box that has already been smashed in any way. I see in an earlier post you stated this box was shipped via FedEx. We only ship by UPS, so if it did in fact have a FedEx Shipping label on it I found that REALLY STRANGE.

If the tube is truly wet in the package, then they have a problem in their Chinese facility.
This Pro Series kit is Package here in Penrose.


John Boren
 

Bat-mite

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My apologies, John, you are correct. My package was shipped UPS. However, as has been noted in several posts in this thread, if the package is protected correctly (e.g., thicker box, more stuffing, more tape), then it is far less likely to get damaged in shipping. Take a look at Salvage-1's picture: there are three pieces of tape across the top, and they aren't even clinging very well.

I know my package had only a couple of pieces of inflatable packing in it, not nearly enough to withstand any kind of jostling during shipping.

IMG_1658.jpgIMG_1659.jpgIMG_1660.jpgIMG_1661.jpgIMG_1662.jpg

Also, the heavier box of engines was placed alongside the rocket, with nothing separating them.
 
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