I’ve been shopping online for Christmas and holiday gifts this year, as I’m sure many of you have been. I’ve bought quite a few items from Amazon this season, and when they arrive, quite a few of them have been showing up in their original packaging with an address label slapped on..!
This practice has caused me to monitor our front porch like a hawk for three reasons:
- To keep the kids from spotting things like a brightly colored Hot Wheels track set sitting in front of the house;
- To prevent these items from soaking up moisture and snow
- And of course, to prevent items from being stolen. (It’s one thing to see a plain brown box sitting on the front porch, but something like a flat-screen television in its original packaging presents a different kind of temptation to would-be thieves: They already know what’s inside the box.)
I was watching WGN News today, and they had a lengthy television segment on the problems this practice is causing for shoppers. They spoke to several Chicagoland residents who shared their issues with this. One dad who had a Barbie Dream House delivered in its original, four-foot tall, full color box and was grateful that his UPS driver warned him to open the garage so he could put the Dream House inside so his daughter would not see it.
The segment noted that Amazon, Overstock, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kmart are all shipping in original boxes this year. Kmart advises shoppers to choose the gift-wrap option to conceal an item prior to shipping if it will be a gift. Walmart notes that many of its supplier ships directly from warehouses, and those items never have an opportunity to be touched by Walmart at all.
This is the part that really caught my ear though: Amazon notes that shoppers do have a choice to receive an item in its original box or not:
“Customers have several delivery options when ordering from Amazon. On the product information page, customers can see if the item they would like to buy will be shipped in its own container to reduce the environmental footprint of their order. In those cases, customers can request the item be placed in an Amazon box for delivery as part of our concealment program to ensure holiday surprises.”
This was news to me! I headed over to Amazon to check this out, as I had no idea that Amazon shared this information ahead of time.
I looked up an item that ordered a few weeks ago from Amazon which showed up at my door unboxed: This Action Plates superhero art kit:
I ordered this a few weeks ago, and it showed up at our door with an Amazon label stuck right on the front of the box over the box’s artwork. I went back to Amazon to look at the product page for Action Plates:
Green arrow added by me to highlight this text:
This item’s packaging will indicate what is inside. To cover it, select Ship in Amazon box on the checkout page.
How about that. I added it to my cart again and headed to the checkout page.
At checkout, sure enough, there’s a small grey box that says “Ship in Amazon Box.” Of course, I never noticed this, because I’ve been happily clicking the gold Amazon checkout button and apparently ignoring this rather valuable information.
With action figure collectors in this house, the condition of the original packaging is a concern too for items that are being bought to be displayed and not opened. Leaving packages in the snow on our front porch pretty much guarantees soggy and less-than-aesthetically-pleasing original boxes.
I hope this information helps keep many of your holiday surprises just that — surprises! Instead of zipping through the checkout process (as I’ve admittedly been doing!) take a moment and look for the “Ship in Amazon box” button if you’d like your gifts concealed inside plain boxes.