January 4th, 2011

Popular Mechanics tested shipping services

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/tests/which-shipping-company-is-kindest-to-your-packages

What they did was pretty cool. Consumer Reports or Mythbusters style experiment in which a package is instrumented to detect temperature changes, temperature extremes and acceleration. I would expect that as the sensing technology gets smaller/cheaper/uses less power, this kind of experimentation will happen more often.

Thanks to J.B. for passing this along to me.

The comments threads are interesting. A few people repeat as problems issues with the experiment that were already noted in the article (small sample size). Many people note that they didn't mark things Fragile because they had noticed it seemed to increase the likelihood of damage to the package. There was one story about packages from a bindery reliably crushing everything that was sitting at the bottom of the ramp when the packages arrived. I guess that's one final argument against paper books/magazines/etc.: when you ship parts of those products around, they destroy everything in line ahead of them!