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Is this a resurgence of the eBay we came to love?

Posted Friday, September 3, 2010, at 10:38 AM

Here is a quirky, environmental and practical roll out from eBay, a recyclable box. What's new about that? Well let me share.

It accomplishes several things. It makes a statement about being environmentally concerned (we have a "green" statement on all our listings), the first 100,000 boxes come free to test sellers (no, we are not one), and it promotes buyers using it to resell (on eBay, of course).

Now here comes the quirky, fun side of it. There are spaces on it for 6 (I think) folks to write a personal note about what they got or about the area they live, or.....whatever. It gives a little history of where the box has been.

They are also creating a discussion forum so boxes can be tracked. I am not sure how that will work and am sure privacy issues will be addressed, but it sounds neat. (to use a term our daughter cringes at)

If it proves successful, eBay will make it available to everyone. It may have a cost associated with it, but it is advertising so they will surely keep the cost lower than buying regular boxes.

Of course, I've made a suggestion on that so maybe if they accept it they can make an ad like the creation of Windows 7. I'll be famous or least maybe in Bell Buckle.


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Steve, first I wanted to ask you if:

blueanjell posted a comment on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 5:05 AM on your blog "What's on your mind?

He spoke of "the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch" in New Zealand having two Gunnera plants next to each other.

Churchchrist is the name of the town that got hit by an earthquake this past week in New Zealand. I wondered if you had heard from him since the earthquake and whether or not he missed the earthquake.

Used Boxes, Great idea!

It sounds like a fun idea, however I bought an item that was defective from an ebay store and demanded that they send me a PREPAID RETURN address label.

I had to print it from my email. It was a UPS Label and plainly stated the package could have no other printing on it.

The history writings on the reusable boxes would no doubt contain the previous Names and Addresses on them along with what was sent in them, so UPS could refuse to deliver them or band the idea completely.

Same with the USPS!

Then I went to the website!

Everything is written inside the box. So now I have to start all over again. However, the send to is on the outside and would have to be covered or removed. Some Disgruntled Postal Worker would more than likely send it to one of the other senders.

What are the odds of receiving the right size box to send your item(s) in. That almost never happens unless you keep a lot of newspapers or bubble wrap in your home. My wife wants to keep all boxes because we may need it later... it is always just a little too small for what we need to mail. I use them to fuel my burn pile.

Someone somewhere will be able to use the information on these boxes to hack, kidnap or steal someones identity, or maybe break into their home and take their newly ordered products. Some people get excited about these great ideas and will write everything about themselves and their order on those box lids.

And finally, have you ever watched the Hoarding Show on TV where people save everything they get. Sounds like a great way for people to become Hoarders and start Hoarding old used eBay Mailing Boxes they will never have a use for.

Then again, over time, eBay may make it manditory that sellers MUST buy boxes from them in order to use up all those mailing boxes they had manufactured.

What about the person who ordered something just to get one of those mailing boxes with all that history written inside just to find out the seller doesn't use those boxes. - Sellers will have to inform buyers if he/she uses these reusable boxes or not.

Of course, eveyone could always use them at their Yard/garage Sales to put sold items in. That is if they don't sell their stuff on eBay.

But what about the souvenir value of the reusable-remailable BOX? They have waiting a long time to get a box that had all 6 spots filled with data! Can't just let it go. That's HISTORY!

And who in their right mind is going to remail a box that has any history in it? They will have to use a different box not THAT BOX!

Of course, you have to know I am blowing this way out of proportion. I buy a lot of plants and other stuff on ebay, but I will more than likely never use the boxes unless i just use them to keep junk in. I am a buyer on ebay but not a seller.

Even though I use eBay for a lot of stuff, most of the time it is cheaper to go to their off ebay store where they are not charged all those eBay fees to sell their items. You can buy it for less.

If a person sold a lot of things on ebay he could use these boxes but would hesitate to write anything in them if he was a business other than his business name and address. If you didn't remail in that box, the advertising and the history stops there. But if you do remail the reusable box where is your souvenir? You just put it in the mail.

Now if you just mail 10 boxes and those 10 people remail 10 boxes and those 100 people remail 10 boxes and those 10,000 people remail 10 boxes and those...

Look at all the money ebay would have to come up with just to print those boxes. Ebay customers would have to consume the cost.

Kind of like another Stimulus package, only this time it is put together by eBay.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Sun, Sep 5, 2010, at 11:59 AM

I have only conversed with blueanjell through this blog so I do not have a direct e-mail address. Hopefully they did not live IN the city since that seems to have been hit the worst.

I will try to track them down or if someone knows who they are, please check on them. I will start a blog that will hope fully catch their attention if they are online.

Regarding the boxes, whew!, you thought of many angles. We use recycled boxes all the time and have no issues with the USPS but don't use any of the other services. I am guessing they do not want printed bar code labels messing with their own. We cross them out if they are showing.

Yes, if people are not thinking and put personal information on the inside of the box, they could cause themselves a problem. Since we are not doing the test, we do not know if they have included special instructions about their use.

eBay and the USPS already print a free box if used for Priority Mail. If it becomes popular I would bet they will offer these free as well. The original 100,000 boxes will probably go pretty fast.

I would bet that they will eventually offer an award for the box that goes the furthest, has the most unique history, etc.

But you are right, many will disappear into private collections or be recycled in more typical ways for cardboard. The ones we do not use in our eBay business are used in the winter and fall for starting our wood burner.

I am curious what sellers will be used in the test market. Guess time will tell.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 6, 2010, at 9:48 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.