Random Fact of the Day: Did you know that a flock of crows is called a murder? It is speculated over why this is what they are called, and a lot of the speculation revolves around the superstition surrounding this particular species. But an interesting observation pointed out that there was a time when groups of animals were given creative names, like a parliament of owls, a knot of frogs, and an ostentation of peacocks.
On a completely different note, when it is time to relocate, we all like to think that we want cheap moving boxes. The problem with this is that we don’t actually take the time to stop and think about what it really means. I mean, seriously, would you really choose cheap moving boxes to protect and transfer all of your worldly possessions? All of your grandmother’s antique crystal serving bowls, or your entire collection of records by The Who, or even your books? Imagine having the bottom fall out while holding any of the priceless items I just mentioned. You would probably curse yourself for not going the extra mile. Because what’s the point of even moving your stuff if you are just going to ruin it along the way, anyway?
A friend once asked for some help moving. Imagine our absolute surprise and consternation when we arrived and discovered that she was only “mostly” packed. Now, when most of us think of “packed” we think of items being placed in a container of some sort and being adequately secured. Well, when this friend said “packed” she really meant that she had unplugged her lamps and set them by the door and was ready to give orders from there. I kind of feel a little bad for her, actually, because I think she was hoping that it would wind up being some kind of party, and it was nothing of the sort. She wound up having some pretty adequate help, but we were all people that wanted to get in and get the job done. I think five of the six of us were prior military, and we were not impressed with either her strategy or her mindset. I don’t care how cheap, I would have settled for some cheap moving boxes on that day. It would have beat carrying grocery bags of cat supplies and armfuls of towels.
If there is a moral to the story of “cheap moving boxes” than it has to do with how it’s better to be packed than unpacked, and I think we can all agree on that.
Most people don’t know that there are three kinds of shipping boxes. This is, in part, because it isn’t an official designation, but one based off of observation. I still like to say that the theory stands, though. So the three kinds of shipping boxes would be: casual, serious, and professional. Below, I will explain in greater detail the characteristics that make each of these categories distinct from one another.
Casual: something that is done without much thought, effort, or concern. Now, when it comes to shipping boxes this doesn’t mean that you don’t care if what you are sending gets lost, or gets ruined along the way. If you cared that little you probably wouldn’t even be investing in sending something to begin with. It just means that you aren’t trying to make any kind of impression with your packaging supplies. You can take an old diaper box and wrap it in paper grocery bag and write on it with sharpie. You can let your kids cover it in stickers and scribble on it with crayons. More than likely this is something you would be sending to a close friend or family member.
Serious: involving or deserving a lot of thought, attention, or work. If you were going to send off your manuscript to an editor or publishing company, odds are that you wouldn’t be sending it like the first group that we mentioned. If a serious person doing a serious job were to come across a sparkly pink package they would probably assume that the sender had no place in that community. If you want your manuscript to be taken seriously, than you should be sending it in a plain cardboard box or envelope mailer, with tape that didn’t clash and addresses written neatly.
Professional: exhibiting a conscientious and generally businesslike manner. This is where an individual or organization takes extra care that their product is being correctly represented right from the get go. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that packaging is someone’s first impression (well, after the website or phone call or whatever that led them to sending away for something). Usually you have some nice, clean, sturdy boxes. Usually you have tape that has your company’s logo printed on it. Usually you have shipping labels with printed addresses on it. I don’t think it would be very impressive to buy something from a business and receive that had your name and address hand-written on it.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who hates Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You would have to hate candy in order to hate that movie, and I don’t see how that’s possible. You would also have to hate Gene Wilder, which is also not possible. He may have been in some weird movies sometimes, but I think he really was the Johnny Depp of his time. Minus the sexiness. Gene Wilder was just plain not sexy.
Have you ever noticed that the candy packaging is what makes the candy that much more appealing? Like in the beginning of the movie, Charlie goes to the candy store to buy a chocolate bar. The candy packaging in that store really is eye candy. The kids are basically going crazy over everything they are seeing. The explosions of color and dimensions and textures that all make the back of your throat start to tingle and your fingertips start to itch. Which one do you choose?
The candy packaging conveys what you can expect on the inside. Lots of bright colors and fun shapes speak of a mysterious concoction that is just as imaginative as it is delicious. Like the box for Nerds. The outside is flamboyantly decorated, with some happy-go-lucky, lumpy cartoon versions of the candy having a good time. When you open the box you have a pretty good idea that you are going to get some small, rounded treats of the same colors. And then you do! With a coin he found in the gutter, Charlie wanted a chocolate bar and he went with the most obvious choice: a rectangle covered in a brown paper, accentuated by low-key colors and giant font. What did he find inside? Pretty much what was on the outside: a brown rectangle. Oh, and a golden ticket that wound up changing his life dramatically, but I’m talking about the candy packaging.
I’m not sure why no one has caught onto Willy Wonka’s amazing idea. The closest anyone has come is probably McDonalds with the monopoly game that they bring out every year where you can win anything from a free hashbrown to a million dollars. If someone said that they were releasing ten tickets in their product, worth however much, they would get bought out just as fast as Wonka did. Guaranteed. And they would wind up making way more in sales than they would be giving away. Of course they would probably need to include a disclaimer that no one would actually be inheriting an entire chocolate factory…
Random fact of the day: jellyfish are terrifying. That isn’t the actual random fact, although it is a fact. The actual random fact is that Portuguese jellyfish can grow up to a mile long. Can you imagine the type of prey they catch with that kind of war path? A mile long? I mean, that’s over five thousand feet! It’s just insane. No creature on the face of this earth should ever be that long. Ever. It makes me never want to go into the ocean ever again. Regular jellyfish are scary enough. Ones that are a mile long kind of make me think someone has to be making this up.
How many of you would would rather deal with a Portuguese jellyfish over moving? (Take a minute to think about moving supplies in comparison with giant tentacles a mile long. Oh, and the tentacles are electrically charged.) I’m thinking not very many. I’m thinking not very many at all. And the ones that think they would have either never moved or they’ve moved no less than one thousand times, and each time was a nightmare. Or they might be descendants of Apollo or Achilles, in which case a Portuguese jellyfish is nothing compared to the skolopendra.
As for myself, I would rather move every year of my life if it keeps me far away from terrifying nautical creatures. I don’t even really like fish that much, to be honest. Although I do have this really cute memory of swimming in a beach in Guam, that crystal clear water and almost white sand, and there were these adorable little tropical fish, like Nemos and Dories, and they were diving into my feet trying to eat my toes. As my cousin likes to say: totes adorbs. But you know what isn’t totes adorbs? Moving supplies. I’m not gonna lie, as much as I don’t like fish I don’t like piles of boxes and stacks of tape either. I don’t like the smell of permanent marker or the sound of it squeaking on cardboard. And yet, still, moving supplies are always the better option. Sometimes you just have to go with the lesser of two evils. Anything on land is preferable to something out of your element, anyway. It’s like this book I’m reading about World War II bomber crews, and the insane amount of stress that came with their job.
I’ll take good old terra firma, thank you very much.
When it comes to getting your hands on some quality packing supplies there are a couple things that you should take into consideration. For one, they don’t have to be a name-brand, or sold by a large corporation. For example, U-Haul sells quality packing supplies, but they also cost far more than anything you are going to buy anywhere else. I mean, I was downright appalled at UHaul’s prices. Over three dollars for one, medium-sized box? Get out of town! If you were to buy a bundle of medium-sized boxes from an online store you could get about twenty-five for around thirty dollars. That’s two and a half times more than you would be getting at UHaul’s prices. Also, the well-known home improvement stores sells quality packing supplies, but they are also upcharged, and there is hardly any variety to speak of. Like three. As in, three different sizes of to choose, and three different kinds of tape to choose from.
A major component to choosing quality packing supplies is considering what you need. A lot of times people get frustrated with the materials they are using when it turns out they aren’t using the right kinds of material to begin with. They think that the material must be crappy, and don’t consider that maybe they made a poor choice (no offense). If you are moving some heavy stuff, be sure to get heavy-duty boxes. This way you save yourself the pain and heartache that comes when boxes start tearing and stuff starts breaking. If you need something to be properly cushioned, don’t just use an old hand towel wrapped around three or four different coffee mugs that you got handed down from your grandmother, use bubble wrap.
Have you ever watched a moving company? They use blankets to drape over furniture. They bring rolls of shrink wrap to wrap around awkwardly shaped items. They use inches of brown paper to protect things inside of boxes. They use heavy duty tape that doesn’t peel off in a sliver every time you try to use it. You wind up paying out the wazz for them to do all of this, which is why I recommend that you do it all yourself, but the point is that they know the “quality” in “quality shipping supplies” really lies in what the job calls for, having that on hand, and then using everything appropriately.