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Bad Packing, Bad Scene, Unsatisfactory $45 Transaction

photo-20Let’s talk crappy mailers and bad packing. This time from Scotland.

Total cost of this package was about $45.00. The media included an LP, CD, and some postcards. The LP is limited to 250 and numbered. I liked what I heard on Bandcamp and figured it’d be good to have the album on vinyl.

Before I opened the package I could tell the postal service had fucked it up. Once I slit open the paltry packing tape, my suspicions were confirmed. And it wasn’t necessarily the US post’s fault.

The mailer was super-thin, barely-corrugated cardboard – the type used by a lot of overseas companies, especially UK/EU ones. The LP had been stuffed in with about two feet of bubble wrap – no cardboard 12x12s.

The sleeve of the LP had a large, wrinkled dog-ear extending about 3 inches on the top left cover. As a result, the LP was warped enough so the once-around “whump” was audible at low volumes.

That same week I received another LP packed in a similar fashion with a bashed corner. It came from another country a bit further away than Scotland.

And it’s not just foreign vendors. Amazon is by far the worst US offender. It’s too bad, because after labels sell out of initial copies, often Amazon is the only outlet for the remaining quantities. Their “frustration-free packaging” of vinyl may be easy to open, but it’s flimsy and lacks inner padding. Half the LPs I was buying from them were showing up dinged, and I won’t buy anything from Amazon anymore as a result.

One of the reasons people still like vinyl is the artwork. And a lot of people buy LPs because it retains its resale value on Discogs or ebay. If labels and artists are expecting people from other countries (or even within the USA) to buy via mailorder and shell out $30 to $45 for a single LP, the sellers need to begin packaging their vinyl in a manner designed to protect the jackets and the music within.

If it’s not getting to the customer in good shape, it’s not worth buying.