When does recycled packaging become tacky? Many eBay sellers, who are working out of their homes and using the resources around them, believe strongly that recycled packaging is totally acceptable. Other more established sellers think this kind of relaxed business style is what gives eBay a bad name. As a customer, do you care if you receive a pair of used shoes shoved in a Cheerios box?
The Eco-Friendly argument
The environmentalist camp says is it perfectly fine to use whatever recycled packaging you can find to ship an eBay item to a customer. As long as the customer receives the item in good condition, they don't care what it is packaged in. Eco-friendly sellers feel strongly about saving the planet and keeping trash out of the landfill. On one eBay Facebook Group, Stay at Home Mom's Selling on eBay, members listed many of the items they have used to ship merchandise. The list included cereal boxes, diaper boxes, USPS Priority mailers and UPS supplies turned inside out, brown grocery bags, and a Target store bag secured with duct tape. Some sellers commented that they have used clean baby diapers as cushioning material to wrap a breakable item. It is just eBay, right?
The professional seller argument
During this discussion, which had 120 comments, other sellers stated in no way would they ever send out an item in food or diaper box. eBay is how they earn their living and they go the extra mile to make sure their items are packaged professionally so that their buyers are happy and will rate them well. Recycling shipping boxes is acceptable, but using flimsy or dirty food boxes is not. Also, misusing supplies will definitely make someone look like an inexperienced hobby seller. Some eBay sellers get free supplies from UPS, turn them inside out, and use them to ship items through USPS. It is also against USPS policy to turn Priority supplies inside out, or to use them as packing material, which many eBay sellers do.
Is there a happy medium?
While most sellers involved in the discussion agreed that recycled packaging can be appropriate, sellers should understand that packaging is often the buyer's first impression and could lead to negative feedback. Although there is no specific rating for "tacky packaging," if a buyer has a low opinion of how an item is packaged, or it is downright gross, the buyer could rate the seller low on any of the rating criteria. Bottom line: presentation is everything. When a few sellers present themselves badly, it makes the whole eBay marketplace look low class.
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