• Frist (unregistered)

    I had this happen to me recently - order 2 SMT fuses, came in a box 2footx1footx6inch...

  • Saladin (cs)

    The important thing is that they only put two screws in each box so that they had enough room to, uh, breathe and stuff.

  • Jon (unregistered)

    This is actually pretty common for distributers. Dell is well known for doing it, but I have seen other manufacturers do the same thing.

  • Pap (cs)

    A few years ago I ordered a spindle of 50 CDRs and one pen safe for writing on CD labels from Buy.com. Apparently Buy.com had several warehouses and made it clear when ordering that they sometimes ship items from the same order separately. They sent me the pen from PA to CO in a 24"x12"x8" box with tons of peanuts.

    But I'd say these screws take the cake for coming in multiple boxes from the same place.

  • Tann San (cs)

    Dell, saving the planet one box at a time...

  • Milton (unregistered)

    The real WTF is that your nice Swingline stapler isn't red!

  • shambo (cs) in reply to Milton

    that is just screwy...

  • Leo (unregistered)

    The real WTF is that I spotted two printed =) instead of screws.

  • akatherder (cs)

    Cost savings. They probably don't need to send one package of screws very often so they don't order specialty sized boxes. And for the rare instances they do send screws out, apparently sending two screws is the most common instance so they keep the boxes pre-loaded with the screws instead of custom compiling every single order that comes in.

    Every hosting outfit I've ever worked in had dozens, if not hundreds of mounting screws sitting around anyways.

  • Luuvitonen (unregistered)

    I once got a mouse pad from Dell in a similar box. The real wtf was that the mouse pad was not of the soft squishy kind and it was folded to fit in making it effectively useless because of the fold.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.

  • Le Poete (unregistered) in reply to Luuvitonen

    Probably cost more shipping than the cost of the screws...

  • Mike (unregistered)

    I encounter this a lot to, when ordering from several companies. What takes the cake, however, is the placement of packing material. For example, a stick of ram, shipped in a shoebox sized box,loaded with foam, but the ram is still stuck against the outside edge, suceptible to all manner of damage.

    captcha: scooter

  • grg (unregistered)

    That's nothing. I often get free IC samples from TI. The Ic's are the almost invisible surface-mount type. They kind you could put 500 in a pink Get-Well-card envelope and it would hardly bulge.

    But they often come in a 8x4x2 inch box!

  • anonymous (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • MrBester (cs) in reply to Mike
    Mike:
    I encounter this a lot to, when ordering from several companies. What takes the cake, however, is the placement of packing material. For example, a stick of ram, shipped in a shoebox sized box,loaded with foam, but the ram is still stuck against the outside edge, suceptible to all manner of damage.

    captcha: scooter

    Stuck? STUCK?! You lucky lucky ... Every stick of RAM I've had from Dell has been supplied in a screw-sized dispatch box with no packing whatsoever. The only "protection" is afforded by the blister pack containing the RAM itself, which is free to bounce around the inside of the box during transit.

    Once I even had a stick in just a static protection bag. I was amazed it worked.

  • akatherder (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.
    1. You will spend three weeks filling out expense reports.
    2. How do you know what screw threading to get? Presumably you have no spare screws to match them up against or you would just use them.
    3. God forbid the screws bend and/or break and they find out you used non-manufacturer screws. There will be a stern talking-to from all 8 of your bosses. The mfg warranty is sure to be void. OSHA and ISO will probably string you up.

    Or you go spend $2 on a few screws and you're good to go.

  • whicker (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.
    The problem with that is you have to know what thread pitch, size, and length the screws need to be. Sometimes it's impossible to tell just by looking at the hole... I guess you could lug the whole heavy thing to the hardware store and just search through the bins. Oh wait, it's heavy and very expensive...
  • KG2V (unregistered)

    special screws - like 10-32 1/2 truss head? AKA about $1.60/100 when you order from a hardware supplier?

    Sometimes you see 12-24 (special racks) or 6mm

    You might pay 2x that if you want black oxide or stainless

  • Joseph Newton (unregistered)

    Much as I despise Dell, so famous for its "Texans" from New Delhi, I see this as uncharacteristic of their shipping. Could be because parts are shipped from a different division than workstations.

    I've unpacked and set up over 100 Dell desktops in recent years, and generally their packing for standard computers is very efficient in its use of padding material. Rather than a molded form around the system unit they use a ribbed designs that wraps the unit. They do use quite a bit of cardboard, but that's okay--Kraft paper is the highest grade, and can be readily recycled [in communities of civilized humans, that is]. The ribs actually come apart very nicely, and are made of a plastic that is easier to recycle than standard polystyrene.

    This is in stark contrast to Apple, which insists on molding its cute little iCrap in polystyrene at a volume ratio of more than 3:1. Then of course each component must have its own multiple layers of landfill-fodder, lest that cute molded plastic surface be scratched.

    Basically, all of the big OEMs suck pretty raw, but in my opinion, it is the vertical-monopoly Apple that sucks the worst.

  • KG2V (unregistered) in reply to whicker

    Rack hardware comes in 3 sizes, unless you special order

    10-32 (most common - almost every rack is 10-32) 12-24 6mm (you're probably in Europe if you have this)

    Industry standardized a LONG LONG time ago - you call up MSC ( www.mscdirect ) McMaster-Carr ( your facilities manager probably has their catalog ) or gasp, one of the specialized "fastener houses" - and you order a box of 100 of each - at about $2-$3 per box. McMaster, if your in many cities, and you order early in the day, might even deliver same day (they have delivery routes) - MSC will have it to you next day (for ground rate)

    Now you have all 3 industry standard sizes.

    BTW almost anyone who has spent anytime in a machine shop, or seriously playing with mechanical stuff can LOOK at a hole and say "Oh, that's XX-YY" - an usually can do it by feel too.

    Way back when - I grabed a bunch of screws out of my stash at home, and put them in a box at work - saved the day more than once - and I didn't really mind - somewhere along the line I picked up about 20 lbs of mixed stainless hardware for cheap - I just reached into the box and grabbed a handfull

  • savar (cs)

    You can run an article titled "Mounting and Screwing" but you can't continue to call the site "The Daily WTF"...

    WTF?

  • foxyshadis (cs) in reply to MrBester
    MrBester:
    Once I even had a stick in just a static protection bag. I was amazed it worked.
    Tech hardware can often survive an inordinate amount of abuse, which is a godsend to us careless and lazy techs. After years of handling all sorts of memory, cpus, cards of all shapes and sizes, I've never seen one with static discharge problems. This might be an artifact of living in a climate with humidity of 20-50% typically.

    Given the average quality of power supplies, I suppose parts have to be extremely hardy....

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered)

    I think people will too high a sensitive WebSense installation will find this article blocked.

  • Anita Tinkle (unregistered)

    Hmm... mounting and screwing... time to surf for porn on my cell phone.

  • Yikes (unregistered) in reply to anonymous

    Good God Man!

  • kmactane (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.

    Did you not see the part in the article about "the thing was 82 lbs and required specialized screws to mount"? Dell is just the kind of supplier that loves to require specialized parts, just so you have to come back to them instead of being able to go down to the local hardware store.

  • joeT (unregistered)

    I'm sure the Dell shareholders must be proud..

  • Laie Techie (unregistered)

    Perhaps the mounting hardware was packaged two per box, because Dell thought they would screw, and the babies needed extra room?

  • woohoo (unregistered) in reply to savar
    savar:
    You can run an article titled "Mounting and Screwing" but you can't continue to call the site "The Daily WTF"...

    WTF?

    :o) I was just thinking along the same line.

    captcha: craaazy - yes, indeed...

  • snoofle (unregistered) in reply to kmactane
    kmactane:
    Anon:
    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.

    Did you not see the part in the article about "the thing was 82 lbs and required specialized screws to mount"? Dell is just the kind of supplier that loves to require specialized parts, just so you have to come back to them instead of being able to go down to the local hardware store.

    Been there, been burned by it. Dell likes to make/sell custom "standard" usb cables. This way, they can lower the price of the item because it doesn't include the cable. Then when you get it, you realize that a stock usb cable (the kind that everyone has laying around) won't fit because they customized the connector, so you have to buy the $*#&% cable from them too.

    A long time ago, I needed a jumper for a new hard disk (from Gateway), and didn't have any left. I called Gateway. They sent me one jumper, in a little plastic baggie, in peanuts, in a 24x12x12 box.

  • snoofle (unregistered) in reply to snoofle

    I just noticed this... I would like to give extra points to the author for putting everything on a wooden table before taking the picture!

  • EnviroWeenie (unregistered)

    What is up with some of the amazing packaging decisions we've all seen in the computer biz? I've seen the same type of thing done for other small $0.10 durable metal parts before, too. They need to send their packaing guys to some weekend seminar on how to package stuff withint putting two small screws in a huge padded box and sending it overnight.

    CAPTHCA: craaazy. That's right!

  • KG2V (unregistered) in reply to kmactane

    Uh Huh - special screws. The server has a bleeping SLOT - the RACK has all the thread. Screws are fairly standardized - and 82 lbs isn't that heavy.

    The hole in the rack can fail by stripping out - as it's MORE than 3 threads deep, it can safely assumed to be stronger than the screw itself - so that leaves the screw - the 3 thread rule of thumb holds true here too - so now we are talking about the yield strenght of the screw, either in shear, or in tension - now I don't have my Machinery's Handbook here (it's at home in the shop), but I'll tell you right now I cry BS

  • Cheetah (unregistered)

    The four boxes is a WTF, but the size of the box may not be. Many shippers (esp. for large volume customers like Dell) have a minimum box size, because of the ease of losing smaller boxes. And for something hard with somewhat sharp edges (like a screw head), the screw could pierce through an envelope-style mailer.

    So poo on Dell for using four boxes, but it's not that crazy to use largeish boxes.

  • foxyshadis (cs) in reply to snoofle
    snoofle:
    A long time ago, I needed a jumper for a new hard disk (from Gateway), and didn't have any left. I called Gateway. They sent me *one* jumper, in a little plastic baggie, in peanuts, in a 24x12x12 box.
    Half the fun must have been just trying to find the thing in that box.
  • Event Horizon (unregistered)

    When I did support for the Universities Math department I required a license number for some software from SGI. They put the single 8.5x11 sheet of paper with the number printed on it in a fairly large box. For good measure the number was also printed on the shipping slip that was attached to the outside of the box. I guess they got too many complaints of empty boxes being shipped for license numbers.

  • snoofle (unregistered) in reply to foxyshadis
    foxyshadis:
    snoofle:
    A long time ago, I needed a jumper for a new hard disk (from Gateway), and didn't have any left. I called Gateway. They sent me *one* jumper, in a little plastic baggie, in peanuts, in a 24x12x12 box.
    Half the fun must have been just trying to find the thing in that box.
    Yeah, my 5 year old (at the time) thought it was fun to jump into the box and find the "prize". Then I scared the crap out of the dog with the shop vac sucking up all the peanuts
  • themagni (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Could you not just go to the hardware store and buy a couple of screws? It hardly even seems worth the effort to call Dell about it. How long did the submitter spend on hold with Dell before they got to speak to a person to order the screws? That's the real WTF.

    Dell screw + snap = Dell warranty.

    Home Depot screw + snap = You're farked with a shovel.

    Plus, he got to waste ~$50 of Dell's money in shipping costs.

  • zlogic (cs)

    I once got an Oracle promotion CD (with flash videos of how great Oracle 10g is) sent in an A4*(1 inch thick)-sized box. They put the CD in foam so that it wouldn't get lost. And sent it with DHL door-to-door delivery. Now, the real WTF is that I got the same CD two months earlier included with Oracle Magazine by regular post.

  • Laurence F. Sheldon, Jr. (unregistered)

    Must have learned packing from HP--used to get a lot of HP 9000 stuff--more than once we would up with several times (by volume) the equipment in trash to be be discarded. Favorite was a box containing a box containing a foam core containing a box containing a padded envelope containing a bullet-proof plastic envelope containing a piesce of paper telling us the code to get the software off the CD we already had.

  • Steve Burnap (unregistered)

    A few months ago, I bought a package of replacement pads for the earbuds on my iPod from Apple for $5.99. Not only did they come in a box much like that, but they were sent "signature required", and the UPS guy wouldn't leave them on my doorstep without them being signed for.

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to akatherder
    akatherder:
    Cost savings. They probably don't need to send one package of screws very often so they don't order specialty sized boxes. And for the rare instances they do send screws out, apparently sending two screws is the most common instance so they keep the boxes pre-loaded with the screws instead of custom compiling every single order that comes in.

    Every hosting outfit I've ever worked in had dozens, if not hundreds of mounting screws sitting around anyways.

    Cost savings? If 10% of their orders are small sized items, then they can just stock an extra size box and stuff all 8 screws in the box. You're taking standardization to the extreme.

  • darin (cs) in reply to anonymous
    anonymous:
    That's what happened to a kernel.org server they shipped to another location ...
    Yeah, seen stuff like that. We had an expensive network test box that suffered the same fate during shipping, as well as some custom made copper-clad RF shield boxes. The damage was all caused by the shipper who dropped the palette off the truck while loading it.
  • ParkinT (cs)

    I cannot believe the guy put those screws in that box without taking a moment to think, "WTF?" Just like the roadcrew who erected this sign (http://ponderables.twice21.com/images/deadend.jpg) and this one(http://ponderables.twice21.com/images/siedewalkends.jpg).

  • akatherder (cs) in reply to Franz Kafka
    Franz Kafka:
    Cost savings? If 10% of their orders are small sized items, then they can just stock an extra size box and stuff all 8 screws in the box. You're taking standardization to the extreme.

    I guess I'm assuming they have some sort of reasoning behind their actions (which isn't necessarily true). When they're working in that much bulk and they rarely send one bag of screws out, apparently it's easier and/or cheaper for them to package it individually. Small boxes would probably get lost on the Fedex truck or during transfer.

    Everyone seems to package their products like idiots (separating everything to the extreme) so there must be a benefit somewhere along the way.

  • Calyth (unregistered)

    Dell actually treats each individual screw as a single item, and hence, when we asked for 12 screws and 3 mounting bracket, the poor guy had to get a manager to override the shipping cost so that everything ships in one box.

  • CrazyOne (cs) in reply to akatherder
    akatherder:
    Cost savings. They probably don't need to send one package of screws very often so they don't order specialty sized boxes. And for the rare instances they do send screws out, apparently sending two screws is the most common instance so they keep the boxes pre-loaded with the screws instead of custom compiling every single order that comes in.

    Can't be cost savings in there. They have to pay "dimensional weight" for shipping those boxes. A box that weighs a few ounces but is large will be billed as though it weighed a few pounds because it takes up too much space in the truck, plane, etc. Have to think the price of shipping them would more than offset the standardizing of box sizes. For sending screws, they need envelopes to get the biggest cost savings.

  • Zygo (unregistered) in reply to Laurence F. Sheldon, Jr.
    Laurence F. Sheldon:
    Must have learned packing from HP [...]

    Favorite was a box containing a box containing a foam core containing a box containing a padded envelope containing a bullet-proof plastic envelope containing a piesce of paper telling us the code to get the software off the CD we already had.

    You're lucky. I got all that from HP, except that the piece of paper contained a sales guy's name and a 1-800 number to call to get the code to get the software off the CD we already had. The contact information pointed back to the sales guy we originally placed the order with, so it's not like we didn't already know who to contact or how to contact him.

    There's always room for one more level of indirection...

    It took a day for this thing to arrive by FedEx, and another day to get through the internal corporate mail system, when the HP sales guy could have just told us the code over the phone when we bought whatever the hell it was that we bought (to this day I don't know, at the time I was just the guy with the root password to Unix servers).

    There was also an anti-static bag somewhere in there, but I don't remember at which level of envelopes it was used.

  • drinkingbird (unregistered) in reply to Mike
    Mike:
    I encounter this a lot to, when ordering from several companies. What takes the cake, however, is the placement of packing material. For example, a stick of ram, shipped in a shoebox sized box,loaded with foam, but the ram is still stuck against the outside edge, suceptible to all manner of damage.

    captcha: scooter

    Yep, I just got a MicroSD card in a box about 18"x12"x6", and they'd put the card right at the bottom of the box, and then smothered it with air-filled bags.

    It's a sad to think that there are people out there unable to grasp the basic principles of packing items in boxes.

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