Can You Ship a Potato Without Packaging?

July 21, 2015

To the surprise of no one, we here at Ernest Packaging Solutions are big fans of packaging, and we could never imagine a world without packaging. (Otherwise, we would be called Ernest Things-That-Aren’t-Packaging Solutions.) Packaging allows you to safely and securely send things anywhere in the world—it’s one of its jobs.

Ship a potatoBut are there things that can actually be mailed without packaging? (Spoiler alert: The answer is, “Meh. Sort of, but we don’t recommend it.”) That’s what “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” wants to know with their annual Strange Mail contest.

Ripley’s asked people to mail in the most unusual things that they could. Here was the catch: They couldn’t use any packaging. Contestants could only throw a label on it and drop it in the mail.

What were the results? Well, some of them actually worked. Last year, Ripley’s received things like a tree stump, an inflatable palm tree and a nightmare-fueling homemade Raggedy Ann Doll.

This contest got the attention of news station KBOI in Boise, Idaho. Being from the state known for potatoes, KBOI wanted to find out if they could mail a potato across the country. They put shipping labels on two potatoes, went to the post office and shipped the vegetables off to New York. They arrived a few days later.

But here’s where it gets interesting—and where packaging proves its value: Several of the items that Ripley’s received were damaged. Additionally, the US Postal Service (USPS) refused to send 13% of the items without some sort of bag or container.

The USPS also said that packageless shipments are much more likely to get lost or delayed than packaged shipments.

Perhaps most significantly, all of the items were (with all due respect) pieces of junk. Seriously, who really needs to mail a single boxing glove?

Your products aren’t junk. They’re valuable, delicate and can’t afford to run a high risk of getting lost, damaged or delayed. It doesn’t just require packaging; it requires strategically designed and expertly crafted packaging. Shipping a single potato is one thing, but shipping live flowers or an entire spread of office snacks are different challenges altogether.

Getting your products to arrive safely is no small potatoes to us. Contact us today to talk about building custom packaging solutions.