More Hidden Costs

The other day we received a box delivered by one of the major package delivery services that looked like it had been through a battle zone of some sort. Despite double-walled thick cardboard packaging and copious internal packaging, the contents reflected serious and repeated impacts of some force. Now, I’m not mentioning which of the three major outfits serving us [USPS, FedEx, or UPS] delivered this package, because I’m not seeing much difference between those carriers. No matter which entity delivers packages, at least one in ten arrives looking that way.

As I’ve mentioned before, thanks to the “success” of Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, for us, shopping for much besides basic hardware, home maintenance, and food requires either a three to four hour drive [one way] or online purchases. The only boots that fit my feet are no longer sold here, nor are any shoes my wife can wear. The same is true of my shirts, trousers, and vests, and anything my wife would want to wear, either in public or private.

It didn’t used to be that way, but that’s the result of the undeclared monopolization of the United States, at least for anyone who doesn’t live in a major metropolitan area. And from what my offspring who live in such areas say, it’s even sometimes true there.

That’s one big reason why, all across the country, more and more gets delivered. But the problem with this is that it’s put enormous stress on all the delivery services. Too many people in those services could care less about labels such as “fragile” or “perishable.” So… there’s more and more damage.

As a result, shippers are resorting to bigger boxes, more bracing, and more padding. That increases shipping costs, and those packages take up more space. The extra packaging creates more waste, and there aren’t enough recycling operations to handle it.

But the monopolists aren’t the ones bearing all the additional financial and environmental costs of their operations. Everyone else is, one way or the other.

3 thoughts on “More Hidden Costs”

  1. Tom says:

    It seems to me that, if our work force is not careless, then perhaps the reason for items arriving in an uncared for condition may be our US culture of “I want! I want it now!!” So, in order for the instant delivery of the item, we get increased damage to the product we have requested?

    Increased control of business outcome does lead to a lower concern for customer satisfaction. Monopoly removes all concern for the customer.

  2. Grey says:

    Not wholly on point (when am I ever) but I laughed when I read this. I happened to be in the parking lot of a chain coffee store in a small city, in the middle of lamenting that there were no independent coffee shops here due to a similar triumph of capitalism.

  3. Bill says:

    It seems like the problem is a result of the changes to the tax code. When the tax rate on extremely high income is higher, the incentive to combine goes away. It also means there is an incentive to keep more money in the company and produce a higher quality product and pay people more.

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