As I sit here nursing my poor feet, having visited the Packaging Innovations show at the NEC today – because yes although I have done it countless times before – I still attempt to do it in heels and never learn. I think about a new term I heard called Pack Rage and how it is influenced by those uneccessary packaging mistakes.

I’m sitting here sipping on my tea and munching away on my Stroopwafels that a very scantily clad attractive lady thrust into my hand as I wandered around minding my own business, and I am pondering something I heard this morning.

I took time out to listen to one of the guest speakers who’s name escapes me but I believe he was from Packaging News – and he touched on the topic of pack rage. I don’t remember his exact words but he said something like “nowadays when somebody is unhappy with their packaging they take to social media and broadcast it – but I am sure the main concern of the shipping companies is the protection of the product”.

What is Pack Rage?

Now this caught my attention on two levels: 1) I didn’t know it actually had a name – PACK RAGE! and 2) his comments about the companies actually shipping the product.

I think it is definitely becoming a trend. Disgruntled customers taking their “rage” to social media and the press are all over it as well. I think the most shocking is the recently document packaging mistake involving a Tesco dinner service.

Tesco customer recieves 24 piece dinner set in 48 different boxes.

I think we have all had an experience like this. Mine was an Etch a Sketch which came in a 12″ deep carton with no voidfill whatsoever. Did it bother me? Yes, but I work in the packaging industry so of course I was going to pay attention to it – my initial thought was about how it could have been packaged better, and secondly wondering who their supplier could be! I definitely wouldn’t call it rage though. I don’t think consumers are foaming at the mouth as they frantically tweet away their images of packaging error. I think it is more of a frustration. Frustration at the waste that needs to be disposed of, frustration at the waste of money which is no doubt incorporated into the postage and packaging costs. I think by taking the concerns to social media consumers are raising awareness of a problem that does in some cases need to be resolved. Don’t get me wrong for every poorly packaged item there must be millions that are packed well or at the very least adequately. When these stories break I wonder who is more worried, the marketing manager at the named company, or the packaging manufacturer/merchant who sold them the product?

Avoid packaging mistakes and eliminate pack rage

That raises another issue, who’s responsibility is it to ensure packages are packed well and without excessive packaging? Well you could, and probably would say the company dispatching the goods. However I do not know a packaging sales account manager who would not be appalled if it were one of their accounts shipping goods like the example above. You see the role of the reputable account manager is to work with their customers to provide solutions to their packaging quandaries. To raise awareness of new technologies, to encourage replacement of manual packing with automated on demand packaging to relieve the pressures of cost, time and space. Even in smaller accounts there are plenty of solutions available that don’t involve sending out a tub of pet ointment in a gigantic box

Pets at Home customer recieved tub of cream in box big enough for 400 tubs.

So back to this mornings speaker, point 2: “The main concern is the protection of the product”. Well yes I am sure that is true but there are some very obvious problems if we look at the examples I have mentioned. You do not need to be a packaging expert to know that 1 tub of pet cream does not need to go into a massive box with enough bubblewrap to wrap Buckingham Palace. I would imagine that the dispatching company may have a range of boxes that they keep in stock and this was the smallest? – Maybe they had run out of stock of smaller sizes? I am being optimistic here and trying to rationalise the stupidity in my head to be honest, because I am absolutely 100% sure somebody did not put that cream in that big box with all that bubblewrap thinking “yay it won’t break now”!

Wow I think I am beginning to feel the pack rage!!

Your solutions provider is key to minimising packaging mistakes

I am sure everybody has good intentions, I am sure nobody wants to see these stories becoming more and more frequent in the press – so businesses really do need to protect themselves against these PR nightmares because I can assure you in some cases not all press is good press! Align your business with a packaging solutions provider such as Antalis Packaging who will ensure you have the right solutions at the right price with the right service level.

In the mean time I would love to hear your own packaging horror stories, and if you felt the full force of pack rage