I've ordered a LOT of electronics components over the past 13 months, many of it for my previous blog that covered my work through the Make: Electronics book. One really annoying (to me) business practice I've seen time and time again is best summed up with the included picture here.
On the left is the box I got from Kingbrightusa.com that contained two small plastic baggies, each with a single 8x8 LED. On the right is a small box I got from sparkfun.com that contains a total of 11 different components ordered, packed nice and tight (and with bubble wrap) and shipped in an envelope that was only slightly larger than the box.
By and far, the worst I ever received was a box larger than the one on the left from Mouser.com that contained a single relay. One. Relay. Smaller than a golf ball.
I'm part of the problem, of course... I try to save funds and gas by ordering online rather than driving all over Atlanta buying up pieces from various vendors. Yes, I pay more at Radio Shack, but I'm really starting to think that the amount of gas I use in my truck has to be less than the amount of fuel these big boxes take (by air and ground vehicles).
I'm glad to see that these companies want to protect my order and keep it from getting damaged, but there's got to be a better way. I really have to give a HUGE hand to sparkfun.com for their efforts in reducing waste - I have a strong feeling this is a choice they've made and not just happenstance. And even if they are trying to save money by using less packaging, that's still a big plus in my book.
So... I guess what I'm trying to say is try and order from sparkfun.com if you can... if this kind of thing bothers you. And please let me know if you are aware of other electronics supply companies that don't just throw a couple small resistor bags into the nearest shoebox (or larger).
Sorry for the rant... now back to the blog.