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Thursday, September 24, 2009

WTF: Why Would You Pack Rechargeable Batteries in Styrofoam Peanuts?

WARNING: This is a rant.

For the past few years, I've been working towards living a greener lifestyle. I've scanned, shredded, and recycled most of my paper documents. I've encouraged organizations to switch from print ad journals to video ad journals. I practically sit in the dark when I'm at work. While I'm not always successful (I'm sorry, I can't live without air conditioning and I sometimes shower twice in a day), I do my best.

One thing I had been overlooking for some time was my use of batteries. Granted, I don't go through them too frequently, but I understand that every little bit matters. My Wii, TV remotes, and Bluetooth Mighty Mouse were enough to warrant me investing in a rechargeable battery system.

After some quick research, I decided to order Sanyo's Eneloop Power Pack with Battery Charger (which, by the way, happens to be mentioned in Joe Hutsko's Green Gadget's for Dummies). I placed the order and felt good about my purchase... that is until I received the package. To my surprise, my eco-friendly eneloops were packed in STYROFOAM PEANUTS. Are you kidding me? Even if you regularly pack things in styrofoam (which is just thoughtless nowadays) wouldn't it dawn on you that maybe the customer is purchasing rechargeable batteries in an effort to be environmentally conscious? Now, I won't mention the name of the company this time, but if you're out there and you're reading this, you may want to re-think your shipping practices.

The most aggravating thing about having a box of styrofoam peanuts in my office is that the responsible thing to do is to reuse them in a future shipment - and pass them off on someone else like a stupid chain letter.

Joe Says: If you simply must use styrofoam peanuts, please consider the biodegradable variety that is made of cornstarch.

This is Joe, signing off.

3 comments:

boschii said...

I am sooo with you. I had a WTF moment earlier this week. I will refrain from mentioning the company also for fear of libel and such, but here are the facts.

-I have been with the same telephone (do they still call them that anymore) company since 1997.
-I have 1 landline (do landlines even exist anymore?), 2 cellphones,and internet through them.
-I decided to get a landline, internet and "tv" service for my new house through same company.

Really long story short, as a result of ultimately cancelling services on this package for my new house, I was owed some money which I wasn't even aware of. So, I received a check in the mail for the amount owed....$.07. Yes...SEVEN CENTS!!!!

Did this huge company that relentlessly encourages customers to be environmentally responsible and enroll in electronic billing and bundle everything under the sun, stop to consider that this was really not worth the paper it was printed on? Literally? There were so many other things they could have done with those few cents. They could have donated it, they could have credited it to my other accounts. Is their technology not sophisticated enough to put 2 & 2 together? This is such a waste of paper - the actual check, the envelope, the stamp and probably any associated paperwork for generating the check - since I am not even going to waste my time to cash or deposit it. It's not even equivalent to minimum wage, so there is no justification for this check - I don't have to monetize my time to figure that one out. This is absurd. Since I am not cashing it, I figure that at some point in the future my name will end up on the government's list of unclaimed funds, since that is where old funds go to die or be resurrected. This list doesn't indicate the amount sitting there waiting to be claimed. I will probably have forgotten about this incident and therefore go through all of the paperwork to claim my funds, and I will receive another check in the amount of $.07, which will sit there and go unclaimed....again!
Thanks for the opportunity to rant along with you.

Joe Moran said...

@boschii AGREED. There is no excuse in this day and age that a billing system could not red flag any refund that is worth less than a certain amount (in this case, the price of a stamp). While I understand that every cent matters to some people, it's simply irresponsible to mail a check for $.07.

If a customer really wants a refund that costs less than the price of a stamp, he/she should be required to set up an online account in order to electronically transfer the funds.

Not worth the trouble? Exactly :)
Donate the $.07 to the environment.

Joe Hutsko said...

Great post (rants are good when the subject matters to everyone!), and many thanks for mentioning my book Green Gadgets For Dummies, Joe Hutsko