The Great Shipping Experiment Update!
There is a big update and boy is it unexpected!
We ended the first chapter after successfully dropping off our unique box at the post office and sending it on a journey to a far off place. Quick recap: We've attached 4 original artworks to the OUTside of the box and want to see in what condition they arrive. Do we really need to carefully wrap everything in bubble wrap, or will our outwards facing art survive without? In this case, we'll welcome any condition it arrives in. In fact every scratch, dent and tear would simply add to the story and improve the art.
So exactly happened next?
Of course I was keeping a close eye on the tracking and anxiously awaiting every new status update. That being said, I did not expect this one at 2:57AM:
"Item could not be delivered - return". Wtf... I should note that at this point the package had spent several days sitting around and not yet left the country.
I saw the message at 8AM and soon after I was greeted by a friendly postal worker and my old friend, the Amazon Crime box. Not only did the 105€ shipping not get delivered to Japan, the friendly delivery man let me know that 20€ was due to him for "return shipping". That sounds fair...
20€ later I had our old friend back in my possession. I was told there is a letter from customs attached that should give a reason for the return. We will revisit this later, but first it was time to assess the damage.
It was clear the package had been opened at the Austrian customs. There was new tape all over the art from when they reattached the lid, so obviously we needed to open her up and investigate. This is where it begins to get really interesting, because we're about to see they were very interested in our little project.
First off, the lid is made out of 1 single piece of cardboard, not 2 like an ordinary box. However, since I wanted our box to "blend in" a little bit, I made it look like it did have those 2 flaps. I made a crease in the middle and put a piece of tape over it. Below you can see what one of these lids looked like (before shipping). In reality you have to cut around the whole lid to take it off.
It was obvious from the damage that customs did not know this. The lid had taken a major beating. You could tell they tried to open it normally, like they have for thousands of other packages. They cut along the middle and then tried to pull open the 2 flaps. That didnt seem to work, so they pulled harder. "God damn it" he must have thought, "I wont let this box win!", so he gave it the biggest pull of his life! *Rip!* Eventually they must have realized force alone wasnt working and they continued to cut around it.
(The images below show where they grabbed the lid and attempted to gain entry).
Peeking inside, the next noteworthy discovery is that they didnt carefully return its contents in the state they had found them. No longer was our precious cargo neatly gift wrapped in paper and protective bubble wrap, instead it was all just randomly stuffed back inside.
Maybe this is where the mayhem ends and it was just an effective form of repackaging? Nah, they were just getting started! We'll start with our box's little flaps, which usually stand up and make it look like it has an open lid. Both of these were heavily ripped and now hanging on by a thread. Cool.
The back side had gone through quite a bit of torture as well. Every original TABBY artwork has a dollar bill attached, the unique serial number gets noted in my archives and is used for authentication. This dollar bill had been ripped off. My guess is they wanted to see if it was real by checking if it had two sides.
Next they cut open two sides of the box to see what was inside. "Maybe its full of more money!?" Nah, it was completely empty of course. The contents were as described on the customs form: "One cardboard box".
With all that, I was almost surprised they didnt look inside the 4 outward facing boxes. Until I noticed this: