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9: How should I package and ship toys I'm selling or trading?


This article is from the Toys FAQ, by scottg10@ix.netcom.com (Scott Gordon) with numerous contributions by others.

9: How should I package and ship toys I'm selling or trading?

From Eric G. Myers (emyers@utmdacc.mda.uth.tmc.edu):

"This is an important question and one that has many legitimate
answers. Just keep in mind that the sender is responsible for
making sure that the item(s) arrive in good condition. Much of
this depends on the toy itself. The first component is a good
sturdy box (Loose figures can sometimes be shipped via padded
envelope without problems). I suggest NOT using the 'Priority
Mail' boxes supplied at the Post Office. These have a tendency to
flatten out during shipping. I suggest finding some type of box
made from at least some corrugated cardboard. For larger items,
boxes from liquor stores work exceptionally well (and they are
free...a definite plus!). Choose a box size that will
accommodate the item without having to bend, fold or otherwise
damage the toy package.

Next you need to consider some type of packing material. The
most frequently used material is obviously newspaper. This
can work effectively if you use some common sense. Since most
action figures (as well as many other toys) have 'bubbles' it is
important not to crush the bubble with your packing material.
You want the packing material to surround the entire item without
crushing it. The goal is to keep it in place and provide extra
cushioning should the package end up underneath a stack of heavy
boxes during shipping. Remember, you are not stuffing a turkey.
Crumpling newspaper works well when used carefully. Rolling
newspaper into 'logs' can also work but takes some practice to
pack an item securely. The next level up from newspaper would be
bubble wrap or styrofoam 'peanuts.' Each of these methods has its
own ups and downs and is really a matter of preference and your own
experiences. Go with what works for you. Bubble wrap can be an
extra expense but does provide good protection if used in
sufficient quantity. Peanuts also provide excellent protection
and are usually quite cheaply available. Remember to be careful
with the use of tape on the inside of the box or with packing
material. Tape that is applied to a toy package may not be
easily removed.

Once you have the item snugly in the box, seal the box with
appropriate packing tape. Regular thin Scotch tape is usually
inefficient unless used in large quantities. Make sure the
address is legible and written preferably in dark, block
letters. Don't forget to include your own return address. If a
mix up occurs with the delivery address, you want the item to come
back to you rather than the dead letter office.

Now you need to pick a delivery service. You have several to
choose from. The standard is the United States Postal Service.
Currently you may send up to two pounds via Two-Day Priority Mail
for $3.00. This is usually sufficient to ship one or two action
figures in a suitable box with appropriate shipping materials.
Occasionally you will have to pay a little more depending on
various factors including the type of item, the size of box and the
type of packing materials used. The next most used service is
UPS. This costs a little bit more but delivery is generally
reliable. In addition, UPS insures all packages for a standard
amount (you may increase this amount for a fee - [see Q2.10]).
Last, but not least, there are many overnight shipping services
(Federal Express, DHL, etc.) that can be used to get a package
somewhere in a hurry. This is probably the least used method for
shipping due to cost involved.

Last but not least, its always nice to e-mail the package
receiver letting him or her know that the package is in the mail.
Also politely ask that they drop you a quick note letting you
know when the figures arrive. With luck and good planning, you
will have made a successful shipment."


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