The Great Polybag Debate

The Great Polybag Debate

After a great deal of research, analysis, feedback, and soul searching, we have decided not to ship all of our items in plastic bags.

As stewards of our planet, we have a duty to our children and our grandchildren to use only as much packaging as is absolutely necessary, and to use renewable resources whenever possible. Some of our product styles benefit from shipping in a plastic bag, and we hope you will recycle it when it arrives : )

But for our products that do not ship in plastic bags, here are the two main concerns our customers had, and how we evaluated these concerns:

A bag would help protect the items in my order in case the shipping carton is damaged

This was the hardest one for us to make the call on.  A bag would protect the items in your order from getting dirty if the shipping carton is damaged.  But we looked at how many of our cartons get damaged in shipping, and found that the percentage is less than .01%.  Then we looked at the .01% of shipments where a box got damaged, and tried to calculate how many of them actually resulted in dirty or damaged product.  In the majority of cases, a box corner got crumpled, but the product inside did not get dirty or damaged.  The actual number of shipments where the item suffered because we didn't use a bag is less than .002%.  No one wants to be that .002% customer, and we do have a duty to protect that customer from the disappointment of receiving a damaged or dirty item...But we weighed the cost to our customers and the cost to our environment of literally thousands of plastic bags, and we concluded that we should not bag some of the product styles that do well without it.

For the unlucky person in a thousand who gets a dirty item, we are absolutely prepared to offer a fast, free replacement with a new item.  Or if the customer prefers, and only if that's how the customer wants it, we can offer a concession (a partial refund) if the customer prefers to wash it herself.

A bag would help protect the items in my order if the shipping carrier leaves my box out in the rain all day

Coming home to a soggy mess instead of a nice exciting box of crisp home decor goodness is undeniably the worst.  We don't deny it.  But when we looked at this from an analytical standpoint, rather than an emotional one, we found that the biggest problem with a soggy carton is that it makes us feel yucky.

We are required to use plastic bags that reduce the risk of suffocation, so when we polybag an item for shipping, the bag has quite a few holes in it, each about the size of the hole punch you use to put a page of computer paper in a ringbinder.  So the bag wouldn't actually prevent the item from getting wet if the carton was soaked. But that's only part of the issue.

All of our products, even the ones that say spot clean or dry clean, should be perfectly fine if they get wet from rain water.  In the worst case scenario, a customer would have to peel a soggy cardboard lid off (which would be gross) and then lay the item flat on a rack, or hang the item on a line, to air dry.  In over 60 years, we have yet to have a single report of an item suffering from color bleed or water rings after getting left out by the delivery man, but rest assured if it ever happens, we will provide a replacement or a refund, as the customer wishes.

So what do you think? Did we make the right decision? 

Our 2016 customer poll results came back in favor of saving our environment from thousands of plastic bags, but you can still add your two cents in the comments below.


[Please do not take this as carte blanche to use indoor only items outdoors or to machine wash spot clean or dry clean items.  A total drenching of torrential rain will be fine because it is gentle (compared to machine washing) and the customer would be allowing the item to air dry completely. The reasons we don't use indoor items outdoors are that indoor fibers do not resist fading from prolonged sunlight, and they do not dry as fast so they would be more prone to developing mildew if they were allowed to get rained on so often that they couldn't dry between exposures. The reasons we don't go ahead and wash spot clean and dry clean items are several, but they have to do with preventing shrinking, fading and disintegration by avoiding exposure to hot water, chlorinated water and detergents, and the stresses of mechanical washing.]


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