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I work full time helping to ship other people's precious items and heirlooms, as well as all sorts of esoteric and even hazmats. Like the orkin man, people see my uniform and ask questions. Here's a handy dandy set of things to remember when sending out things via airplanes and trucks.

First of all, think about where and what you're shipping. The overall cost is directly related to the weight and time demands of the items. The formulae differ from company to company, but remember as a rule of thumb that shipping a set of dumbells across the nation to grandma overnight is gonna cost an arm and a leg. Also, remember that some things need special documentation and/or precautions to ship. Example? Anything flammable, which includes aerosol products, as well as chemicals you wouldn't want to swallow. When in doubt, ask the friendly customer service representative.

Next, think about what exactly you're shipping. A priceless antique that's been in the family for years will require much better packaging than a chia pet. Carefully wrap any fragile items in plenty of the material of your choice, bubble wrap being one of the better choices, as an audible warning is given to the handlers when we're being too rough. Don't leave a lot of open space in the box. Think about the outside of the package as well. Warning stickers and labels are best, since when we're expected to process and load a huge amount of cargo in a short time span, we don't always have time to read the fine print. But the standard warning stickers catch the eye. If you're extremely paranoid, then install a shock marker; a small mcguffin that may or may not show if the package has been treated roughly, but again, catches the handlers' attention. If there's glass in the package, put on a label saying so! Special handling instructions, you'll find labels that'll suit your needs.

As for the box itself, choose a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. It's a bit more costly, but isn't your cargo worth the expense?

A trade secret in this biz is that we try to treat packages as fragile china or the Maltese Falcon, but if we're in a rush, and there's nothing but a box that's light and has no warnings... up up and away! It gets thrown around. This may not be the absolute best way to do things, but trust us, we're professionals. Properly packing and marking your box will make its trip easier.

Finally, remember to tell the cosignee,to check their shipment when they receive it. If you're the cosignee, carefully inspect all packages you receive, noting damage and making sure the shipper adknowledges it. DON'T SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL YOU'RE SURE YOUR SHIPMENT IS INTACT!

We try our best to make sure your items, boxes, and all that jazz make it to their destinations safe and secure, but you've got a part in this transaction too.

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