(NC)?The fun and frenzy of holiday shopping doesn't end at the mall ? you still have to get the packages to friends, family and business associates in time for the holidays, and in one piece.
"Taking an extra moment to carefully package items correctly saves everyone money in the long run and lessens some of the holiday stress," says Barbara Foster, a packing trainer for Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) who works with hundreds of MBE staff in over 275 of its centres across the country. MBE is Canada's largest retail chain of business and courier service centres and is expected to ship more than 100,000 holiday packages this season with the assistance of several of its courier suppliers, including UPS.
Approximately 80% of UPS's deliveries are business to business, and business to consumer. However, during UPS's busiest season ? the holidays, residential deliveries consisting of various fragile goods skyrocket.
"By using enough cushioning material to protect items, and by using sturdy boxes, you avoid the worries of disappointing family and friends with broken presents and the costs of having to replace damaged goods or lost items," says Foster.
Following are some packing and shipping tips from both MBE and UPS:
? Use a new box specifically designed for shipping ? such boxes are engineered to withstand shipping stress. If using second-hand boxes, select those that are strong and in good condition with the flaps intact.
? Don't forget to cushion the bottom of the package ? use a minimum of two inches of cushioning material such as bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts; the bottom of a box receives the most pressure during shipping.
? If shipping more than one item in a box, wrap each article separately in protective cushioning material and place them inside the box so they do not touch one another.
? Electronic equipment should be shipped in its original packaging, surrounded by additional cushioning materials, and placed inside a larger box.
? Secure each seam of your container with packing tape on both the top and bottom sides. Avoid using materials that don't firmly adhere such as masking or cellophane tape.
? String can get caught on sorting machinery or conveyor belts, so do not use it to wrap around boxes.
? Send your packages early to ensure items are received in time for the holidays and to minimize the added costs of 'rush' delivery.
? Fragile items should be sent via air service to minimize transit time and reduce the possibility of damage.
? If you receive a package with lots of foam packing "peanuts," bring them in to your local MBE centre for recycling.
Customers concerned about time constraints and securely packaging their holiday gifts can bring them into any MBE location to have them packed by experienced professionals.
- News Canada
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