Holiday Shoppers Need the 'Packing 411' to Help Gifts Arrive in Shape, on Time

The UPS Store Offers Packing and Shipping Tips; Introduces "Pack & Ship Promise" and "Green" Packaging

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Santa has an advantage over consumers when it comes to handling the holiday gift-giving crunch, but consumers do have an ally of their own -- The UPS Store.

"We've seen some wild packages come through the door over the years," says The UPS Store franchisee Audrey Jones. "All that work to find the perfect gift can be wasted if the package isn't properly prepared for shipping. But we have the '411' on perfect packing to help our customers."

Jones offers these tips to ensure your package is delivered in perfect condition:

* Get a good start by using a new box specifically designed for shipping, not moving. The old box in the basement from your last catalog order – with "just a little tear" and the old label attached - is a recipe for disaster!
* Follow through by using the right packaging materials, including a minimum of two inches of bubble cushioning and/or packaging peanuts. Old clothes, crumpled newspaper and real popcorn don't offer protection for your goods.
* When shipping perishable foods, place them in an interior airtight container or plastic bag before putting them in a gift box. Fill any air gaps in the container with squares of bubble cushioning to soften the vibration. Otherwise you may find yourself saying, "That's the way the cookie crumbles."
* Before closing the box, place an extra mailing label inside, just in case the outside label gets damaged.
* Seal the box on all seams with clear, professional-grade packaging tape. Duct tape, masking tape and cellophane tape as well as packages wrapped in paper or tied with string are no-no's.

Too busy to get your packages ready yourself? "There's nothing wrong with asking for a little help," says Jones. "We undergo special training to become certified packing professionals. And now the Pack & Ship Promise gives our customers another great way to enjoy a stress-free holiday."

The Pack & Ship Promise reimburses customers in the event a center-packed item shipped via UPS is lost or damaged. [Subject to certain restrictions and limitations. Details are available at www.theupsstore.com.]

"We love a challenge," Jones says. "Making our customers' lives easier is what we do throughout the year, but especially at the holidays. It's our favorite part of the job."

For those looking for "green" alternatives to standard packaging materials, The UPS Store has introduced IVOX™ by Smart Karton, Inc., innovative, earth-friendly new packaging that eliminates the need for bubble cushioning and packaging peanuts for many items. IVOX is currently available exclusively at The UPS Store locations in a variety of sizes.

In addition to proper packaging, timing is everything. This year, there are only 21 shipping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas with Dec. 17-22 expected to be the busiest shipping week. Since Monday is traditionally the busiest shipping day of the week, Jones recommends shipping Tuesday through Saturday. Habitual procrastinators might want to note the last days to ship via UPS domestically for a Dec. 24 delivery:

* Wednesday, Dec. 19: UPS 3-Day Select®
* Thursday, December 20: UPS 2nd Day Air®
* Friday, Dec. 21: UPS Next Day Air®
* Saturday, Dec. 22: Last chance to use UPS Next Day Air®; additional pricing applies.

Plan on five days for most ground shipping and consult a The UPS Store location to determine the best dates for on-time delivery if shipping internationally or to military personnel.

The UPS Store locations can assist busy holiday shoppers in other areas as well:

* Mailbox services are ideal for people who order gifts online or from catalogs and aren't home during the day to receive packages. Unlike the post office, The UPS Store locations will accept packages from any carrier.
* Holiday newsletters are a snap with digital printing services and personalized family calendars make a perfect holiday gift for kids to give to grandparents.

Most locations of The UPS Store have extended holiday hours. For the address and hours of the nearest location, visit www.theupsstore.com.

The UPS Store retail locations are franchised by Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. (MBE), an indirect subsidiary of United Parcel Service, Inc., a Delaware corporation. Together The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations comprise the world's largest franchise network of retail shipping, postal and business service centers, with more than 5,900 locations around the world. In the United States, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. Outside the United States, locations are owned and operated by MBE master licensees or their franchisees. For additional information, please visit www.theupsstore.com or www.mbe.com.

Contacts

The UPS Store
Becca Andrews, 858-455-8982
raandrews@mbe.com

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