Now I know this may seem like a dull and odd article topic but I can honestly say that there is an
art to shipping Pop! I was so naïve and trusting in my early days, thinking if I put a pop in a
sturdy 7x5x4 box with a secure/snug fit, it would reach its destination safe and undamaged.
For those who rarely ship more than 10-15 pops a year, this may not ever become an issue.
Shipping services like to fool you into a false sense of security, safely delivering your packages
whole and on time…. until they don’t.
Therefore, when it comes to shipping, there are several matters that need to be taken into
USPS is the Shipping Standard?
For most collectors, Pop! normally arrives at your home via the United States Postal Service
(USPS), FedEx or UPS. My experience is mainly with USPS and I have used them to ship several
thousand Pops in the past 3-4 years. Could the other services be better? Maybe.
But honestly, I don’t even have the time to learn the nuance’s of another shipping service. Hell,
I don’t even have the time to put away clean laundry, I just buy more laundry baskets. Anyway,
better the enemy you know, Right?
Shipping Pop! with USPS
USPS is ideal for most people, as there’s usually a post office nearby and there are so many
options for printing labels from home like Stamps.com, PayPal or eBay. Which is great, so long
as you realize USPS is like a cat. Most of the time they’re loving and attentive and then one day,
for no reason what so ever, they turn on you like a rabid gremlin.
You can use the same box size and packing materials for dozens of Pops with no issue. Then one
day you get the dreaded email or eBay message with a picture of a used piñata, that’s really just
the package you just shipped.
When you find yourself losing money to refunds and paying for worthless pop to be shipped
back to you, it becomes clear something has got to change and it wont be the USPS.
Find a Strong and Light Weight Box
People don’t realize how important it is to find a strong spacious box that won’t push you over that 1 pound mark. When I starting mailing pop in a 200lb tested Uline box that provides about two inches of space on all sides, emails from strangers and eBay became less scary. In fact, setting a standard for box size and packing materials can allow for bulk purchases that keep down costs. It also helps to hoard all those stackers and bulky bubble wrap commonly delivered with Pop.
Find a Balance Between Security and Space
And when it comes to packing you need to find the perfect balance between empty space and keeping the Pop from free floating. Remember pops are not people, even if some of us may see them as family, I’m talking about you She-Ra. They do not need to be surrounded by airbags.
They need to have room to drift over to the side of the box that is not getting crushed in by a disgruntled postal worker.
They need to be safe from getting all scuffed up and we all know how sensitive to scratches the plastic on a pop can be. If I come across a flawless shiny clear plastic with a sharp crease I quickly wrap that sucker in tissue paper before the air can scratch it. Yes, the dang air! I swear Pop plastic has the ability to suddenly form scratches like it’s under attack from a tiny poltergeist.
Luckily this can all be accomplished with foam and tissue helping to keep that weight down, which is great for when shipping is including in the sale price, just beware the shipping cost greed. Consider the value of the Pop and think, if this Pop doesn’t make it through the USPS gauntlet will I be out more money than if I just paid the extra $3-$4 from going over a pound.
Packing Supplies Help Protect Your Pop!
My rule of thumb is if a pop is over $50 or so, then slap it in a sorter or soft protector, give that
poor thing a fighting chance. If it’s over $100 put it in a hard pop stack and if it’s over $300
double box. What is double box you say? Well that’s when you pack it up like you would a pop
over $100 then pack that box in a bigger box and if it’s over $1,000 repeat that process. Your
goal is to create an inception box to confuse USPS and throw off Murphy’s law.
If your Pop is likely to fly over large oceans you need to set that value limit much lower. For
example, I will double box a $100 Pop heading to Australia. I don’t know how foreign postal
services roll but why take chances in a country where the even the common wildlife can take
Trial and Error Work
The truth is it takes a lot of trial and error to learn all the tricks and details of affordable and
successful shipping. I could probably fill up a whole other page of suggestions and learning
experiences but that would likely tread into boring territory.
Shipping services will eventually betray your trust. Pops needs security blankets and boxes with safe spaces. Uniform your packing to save money but know that being too cheap is like sending out a mating call for Murphy’s law.
Just treat it as if you are mailing that pop to yourself but it will need to take a sightseeing roadtrip across the country to find its self before returning to you.