Common Sense Collecting
This article is prompted by the poor collector on oldgas.com website, who received the pair of wonderful Marathon running lenses, “in kit form,” in a Priority Mail box that was about 4” thick. I know I have written over and over about how to correctly pack and ship a gas globe so I promise not to reiterate facts that are found in previous articles as well as the new Gas Globe CD. If you still have questions, call me anytime. I, myself, have received many globes in idiotic packaging scenarios, including my favorite where the complete globe was crammed inside a car wheel carton and the inserts were bulging out the sides of the box. Yes, it arrived in many pieces and yes, how could someone be so stupid I mused.
So, you buy a gas globe, or sign, or can, or gas pump and you pay for it and now you wait until it arrives safely. Hopefully packed well! Wrong! That is your first mistake. Assume no one on eBay or other venues knows how to pack it correctly! If you do, then pass this data on please! I can tell you factually that even the pack and ship centers do not know how to pack a gas globe correctly. They have the right material but have no idea on how to use it. Signs, maybe, but if you are a sign collector you should know by now how to carefully and correctly pack a sign. I know how to pack a gas globe. Can collectors should know how to pack a can. Gas pump collectors should know how to transport and ship a gas pump. So what can you do? You take the responsibility to tell them how to pack it correctly. What if they tell you they know how to pack your item correctly? Now you wait until it arrives, comfortable with what they said. Wrong! That is your next mistake. A few years ago I bought a gas globe and the guy said he shipped globes before and knew exactly what to do. I got the globe all right, but the packing was horrible! It was a miracle it arrived in one piece. He knew nothing about packing a gas globe for shipment.
So my point, you tell them how to pack the gas globe, the sign, the can or the gas pump. If they say they know how, then ask them what they plan to do. I have asked dozens of people who said they knew how to pack a gas globe and only one actually knew how to do it properly. And that guy charged me $100! I wasn’t too happy about that, but he packed like I do! If you collect these items you’d better educate yourself on how it’s shipped, transported or moved. That is your responsibility! When I see $20-$35 shipping for a gas globe, well I get really concerned. First of all, this tells me right away the person has never properly shipped a gas globe! If he has, he would realize there are about $10 in packing materials alone, at least $5 in insurance and a minimum of $35-$50 in actual shipping costs for the double box. Sending vis the U.S. Post Office is very risky. They have a 20” cube limit. It is cheaper, but by far they are the worst for lost packages and damage. Good luck getting a claim paid as you may have to wait for months. If you are a sign collector you know what it costs to ship a good sign. Tell them how to pack it.
I see the collector getting excited: Wow, I just bought a cool 30” curb sign on eBay and he’s only charging $20 shipping!” Don’t get excited! You cannot properly ship a cool sign safely for $20! Don’t get caught in that facade. Free shipping really freaks me out! I’d rather pay the $50-$75 and get it in one piece thank you! Never deal with people who do not accept returns or especially ones who state, “Seller does not assume responsibility for damage, etc.” That is nonsense. The seller is completely responsible for getting it into your hands and you have nothing to do with that other than telling him or her how to pack the item properly.
The shame is that rare and common items in our hobby are broken beyond repair every week. They will never be replaced. Those Marathon inserts will no longer be enjoyed by anyone now. But you can do something about that next time! Think of it this way. You just bought a great item. It’s yours right now. How would you pack it? You’d better know the answer.