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sdrake

Poorly Packaged Shipment = Dented Cans

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I received my $150 order today in the mail which included 7 HME cans.  2 of the HME cans (Australian Sparkling & Diablo IPA) are heavily dented because the packaging wasn't done very well and the cans were able to float around inside the box with all the styrofoam.
 

These are dents that go into the cans the width of one of my fingers.

 

Two Questions...

 

1. Since Mr. Beer ships out lots of HME cans, how come they can't find a better way to package them so they aren't lose in the box banging up against each other?
2. Are the contents of these cans still safe to use?  I've always been told not to eat food out of heavily dented cans.

 

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I have always been impressed by MrB's packaging. I guess 7 cans is a lot for their normal packaging, though...

 

  :(

 

As far as safe to use? As long as they aren't open, they should be fine.

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One other comment about this order.  Online the order shows all the ingredients sorted per each recipe.  But the packing slip just shows the totals of all the ingredients with no mention of the recipes I purchased.  Plus, it seems that the instructions for each recipe are no longer being included in orders.  It would be nice when an order is shipped to include a copy of the order with the ingredients sored by recipe, like just the printout of the online order.  It's a very small hassle to have to come back online to print out my order to remember what recipes I actually ordered so I can sort the ingredients and print out the instructions.  (Sorry if I seem to be complaining, but packaging needs to be better to avoid dented cans.)

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i have never complained about the packaging from Mr. Beer, but, so help me, if I ever find the guy (or gal) that puts all those goddamn packaging peanuts in my shipments......  maybe i'm letting my dislike of packaging peanuts affect my rational judgement.  

 

I seriously though, would take dented cans over having to deal with styrofoam, in any form....  

 

PACKING PAPER!!!!  I can compost it!  and it is so much easier to deal with!  

 

sorry about your dented cans though sdrake.  Although I don't mind the lack of recipes, i've taken to copying the info from the website to my OneNote file, so I have all the instructions there.... which is fine for me with saving the paper....  

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I understand about the packing peanuts because the static electricity makes them stick everywhere.

 

But the problem with those packing peanuts is that they shift around as the weight of the HMEs shift around.  There are some cardboard squares that are intended to hold the HME cans apart, but with the packing peanuts moving around, the cans start shifting up and down like pistons in their cardboard squares.  Not all the HMEs are the same height and eventually they break down the cardboard squares separating them such that the different sized HME cans start moving around against each other with the lips of one hitting the side of the next.

 

It's not rocket science.  To package the cans, there needs to be some bubble-wrap around each of the cans or plastic wrap that can force each can into a stationary position.  The current packaging method has nothing to keep the cans from shifting around and finding each other.

 

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It was free shipping because the order was over $125, so I guess I got what I paid for in the shipping area.

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I guess I don't understand using a forum to complain about how your package arrived. You know how to contact Customer Service directly. We on the forum can do nothing.

As Josh has posted previously, dented cans are fine to use.

As far as sorting/grouping ingredients by recipe, Josh has also explained previously how difficult that would be.

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It was free shipping because the order was over $125, so I guess I got what I paid for in the shipping area.

Right, only orders that ship for free arrive dented, as Mr. Beer uses less packaging... . Really?

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I've bought some damaged/dented HME cans on purpose and they of course worked fine.

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As far as sorting/grouping ingredients by recipe, Josh has also explained previously how difficult that would be.

 

Including the packaging list printed out by recipe or including each recipe's instructions (as they used to do) would suffice.  I haven't suggest grouping the actual ingredients by recipe.

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Right, only orders that ship for free arrive dented, as Mr. Beer uses less packaging... . Really?

 

Bigger orders require more cans be stuffed together in the box, which should mean more care is needed when packing.

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I guess I don't understand using a forum to complain about how your package arrived. You know how to contact Customer Service directly. We on the forum can do nothing.

As Josh has posted previously, dented cans are fine to use.

As far as sorting/grouping ingredients by recipe, Josh has also explained previously how difficult that would be.

 

yeah crazy huh?  wait... what's to understand?  

 

This is a forum directly run by the providing company, and covers anything from recipes to directions to dissatisfaction about product or arrival of product.  I see no problem with voicing an opinion, even in a public forum.  He's not asking for a refund or something for free, just maybe some consideration on how MrB handles shipments in the future.  

 

As a company, MrB should welcome feedback from whatever source they can.  A public forum is as good as emailing, and if done respectfully, in the end generally ends positive for everyone!

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yeah crazy huh?  wait... what's to understand?  

 

This is a forum directly run by the providing company, and covers anything from recipes to directions to dissatisfaction about product or arrival of product.  I see no problem with voicing an opinion, even in a public forum.  He's not asking for a refund or something for free, just maybe some consideration on how MrB handles shipments in the future.  

 

As a company, MrB should welcome feedback from whatever source they can.  A public forum is as good as emailing, and if done respectfully, in the end generally ends positive for everyone!

 

And I've also learned on multiple occasions (Travelocity, ADT, Expedia) that the quickest and most sure way to receive a response is to never call their 1-800 number and to post on their Facebook page.  This forum is a great courtesy, especially with Josh and other Mr. Beer people participating in it, and better than Facebook any day for customer service.

 

I don't expect Mr. Beer to replace the dented cans even though the dents are as deep and as long as one of my fingers.  I expect that they'll tell me that they're good and to use them.

I've been reading online about dented cans and these 2 cans are dented enough that the USDA says they should be discarded.  I know the cans were dented within the past few days from shipping as I do trust that Mr. Beer isn't putting dented cans in the boxes.  And the disorganized state of the innards of the boxes shows they moved around in shipment and such.  The dents do have sharp edges on the side and I am concerned the integrity of the cans have been compromised.  I'll probably toss these 2 cans and just eat the cost of these 2 recipes.

 

If Mr. Beer wants, I can ship the cans back at Mr. Beer's cost if they take returns.  I've been a happy Mr. Beer customer in the past.  I just got a lot of crappy packaging this time.

 

What I hope for with this public complaint is to get Mr. Beer to actually learn that their packaging sucks and they need to improve it.  If I send an email, I just don't trust much ever happens.  But in the public, people read and discuss and the issue gets more notice.  And yes, this forum does exist for all kinds of customer support and interaction.  So I'm certainly not off topic.

 

CANS SHOULD BE PACKAGED SO THEY CAN'T MOVE DURING SHIPMENT!!!

 

I'm glad I wasn't ordering something from Mr. Nitroglycerin as something definitely would have exploded.

Anyway, as long as I've ordered stuff from Mr. Beer, there's usually been issues with every order.  Usually it's been product that has a month or two until the "best use" date.  This order the "best use" dates give me plenty of time, but I have dents and poor packaging instead.

Anyway, all I ask is that Mr. Beer improve their packaging.

 

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As a company, MrB should welcome feedback from whatever source they can.  A public forum is as good as emailing, and if done respectfully, in the end generally ends positive for everyone!

 

When I earned my MBA about 15 years ago, in one of the classes it was stated that good customer service is making it easy for customers to complain.  Customers get satisfaction by complaining.  And every complaint is good information to make the product better.  The company that makes it difficult to complain has little information about what their customers think of the product.

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Please don't throw the dented cans away. They are perfectly good  and people here will use them.

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Please don't throw the dented cans away. They are perfectly good  and people here will use them.

 

My point is that I don't want to go through 3 weeks in the LBK, the 1-3 months conditioning to only find the innards weren't good.  When I buy a product, I expect to receive an uncompromised product.  When you buy a new car, do you expect there to be a dent on the side and the dealer telling you that it still runs fine because it doesn't impact the engine? 

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I feel better now.  I just drank a bottle of my Hopiphany White IPA.  That's exactly what I needed to calm myself down.

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For a good example, getting a dented can is like getting a car with 20,000 miles already on it.

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Unfortunately, those cans are not dented enough to warrant a replacement. And yes, I will say they are safe to use. But you should use them first and not let them sit for an extended period of time. That's where the trouble lies with dented cans. Also, there is no harmful bacteria that can survive the temperature of the boiled water or the alcohol produced in the fermentation process. There are bacteria that can survive these environments, but they are harmless. If the can was physically compromised and is leaking or if it's basically crushed, we will replace it. But I've used cans that were way worse than the ones in the images you provided and they came out fine.

 

As far as the recipe info not being shipped with the order, we are aware of the issue and are taking steps to fix it as we're now trying to package each recipe in their own small boxes, with instructions. It will cost us more to do this, but it's a necessary step to improve our packaging. And in regards to the way your package was shipped, I will be sure the warehouse is notified of the issue. They obviously need to pay more attention when packaging large orders. Unfortunately, the warehouse is all the way in Wisconsin so I can't just walk over there so I will let Rick Z know about the issue so he can pass it on to the warehouse. I would like to point out that this is not typical of our packaging.

But since you are in Arizona, sdrake, give me a call when you would like to place an order and I will see if we can ship it from our warehouse here. We can't do large orders like the one you had concerns about, but we can cover most orders. I will even package it myself if I have to. You might even get it a day or 2 earlier. Just call and ask for me and I will be sure you are taken care of. I will also give you 20% off your next order to try to at least make up for the damaged cans (phone order only). But that's the best I can do for you.

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I can tell you that this is something that is looked at ALL THE TIME.  First things first.  Packing peanuts.  I hate them.  Packing paper. More dents.  Air pillows pop.

 

Back in the summer of 2012 when the new cans came out we knew that there were going to be problems.  The can circumference is much more than the old ones which meant that we were going to deal with a much higher likelihood of dent damage.  JoshR and others have put in the forum how those cans are most likely very safe.  To combat this larger can we developed a new packing box that puts all the individual cans into a grid system.  Most packages should be using this double wall grid system.  These should not have any peanuts in them.

 

As we ship many differing products, there are other times where peanuts may be used for stabilizing those loose items.  I can tell you that our packing peanut usage has dropped in half since January 2012 and that is with increased number of orders.  That cost benefit is offset by the cost of the new boxes being doubled.  

 

Another of your issues that we are looking at is putting all recipes into their own box.  In that box would be a recipe card.  This would help to solve a few issues that are coming up.  You all have mentioned wanting those cans and other things to be included all together AND by having their own box we can minimize can damage as well.  There are some significant warehouse changes going on to support this and you will see it in the future.  We see this as an opportunity to use some of our old boxes as well instead of just throwing them away.  So you will see some inside-out boxes.  We are trying to be as green as possible.

 

Lastly, LME packs.  These were introduced to see how well they stand up to abuse.  We are very pleased with the results so far.  These don't dent, they weigh less so shipping is less costly, they don't damage other items in your order and they are flexible to fit into boxes nicely.  The machinery for these are expensive plus there is a 40 year history of canned malt extract that we would combat.  Mr Beer has always been about bucking current trends and making our own.

 

All of this work is being done to minimize those shipping issues like dented cans.  Sdrake.  I am sorry that you received some dented cans.  I can tell you that it is not on purpose and that it left the warehouse clear of those dents.  JoshR gave you some great options so give us a call.  I do appreciate those of you that do use them when they arrive minimally dented as it saves us a lot of money that I don't have to pass on with higher prices later on.  

 

Any ideas that any of you have is always welcome.  Just PM me or post it in here.  We all have things to say.

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Josh & Rick.  I've cooled off quite a bit since last night.  I'll use the dented cans.  I think I was more ticked off at the bad packaging than the actual dents.  Thanks for your responses.

 

The packing procedure needs to be improved.  The issue is that your packing procedure works when all the cans are the size of the standard HME's as the cardboard dividers are the same size as the cans and keep the cans from coming in contact with each other.  The issue with my order is that 6 of the 7 cans were longer than the standard HME with 1 being a monster can (the Australian Sparkling).  The same size cardboard dividers were used, 1 per each box.  These cardboard dividers only separate a portion of the larger HME cans from each other.  Half the Australian Sparkling HME wasn't being protected by the cardboard divider.  And probably 1/3rd of the other HMEs weren't being protected by the cardboard dividers.  And given the size difference (box sized for the larger Australian Sparkling HME) and the movement of the styrofoam peanuts, the cans moved quite a bit, turning diagonally and banging into each other quite a bit.  The HMEs are heavy and create a lot of momentum when they are dropped by the shipping company.

 

If you can keep the HME cans from coming into contact with each other, you've probably solved 90% of this packing issue.

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When I earned my MBA about 15 years ago, in one of the classes it was stated that good customer service is making it easy for customers to complain.  Customers get satisfaction by complaining.  And every complaint is good information to make the product better.  The company that makes it difficult to complain has little information about what their customers think of the product.

I agree.  The better phrased forum question may have been:  Has anyone had problems with dented cans in your Mr. Beer shipments?  If no one complains, they won't know there is a problem that needs to be addressed. 

 

My last shipment contained 2 Winter Dark extracts that had been "floated" in peanuts.  There was a small dent in one of the cans, but the depth is less than the thickness of my finger and it's not on a seam so I'm not going to worry about it.

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I mixed up API IPA this morning (my 21st Mr. Beer batch) using the Diablo IPA dented can.  Please see the attached pictures of the can after it's been cleaned out and the label removed.

 

As you can see, the large dent was into the seam of the can, something you can't see with the label on the can.  It also required some extra effort to get the lid off the can with the can opener as the lip was a little deformed also.  Opening from the other end wasn't an option because that's where the lip is extra deep to hold the yeast packet.

 

I've instructed my wife that if I die in a few months from beer poisoning that I want the epitaph on my gravestone to read "Mr. Beer done him in."

 

All is good if Mr. Beer will review their packing procedures and improve the process so the HME cans are restricted from touching and aren't able to freely float in the foam popcorn.  When I opened up my large shipment that included 7 HME cans, I knew something wasn't good before I even pulled any product out of the box.  It was obvious within the first 5 seconds of pulling the box open that everything had done a lot of shifting.  HME cans are heavy and pack a lot of momentum when jostled.  Like I pointed out earlier, the cardboard dividers are only the height of a standard HME and do little to restrict the movement of the larger craft and seasonal type cans.  Fortunately, I have enough beer recipes to last me until Christmas.  That gives Mr. Beer time to examine and improve their packing process before I make my next order.  The one condition I have in continuing to be a Mr. Beer customer by ordering more recipes/refills is that the packing procedure is improved.

 

(Note the Keith'sBrew's post where he says he's received cans are dented from moving around in shipment.)


 

 

 

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For a good example, getting a dented can is like getting a car with 20,000 miles already on it.

 

Actually, getting a dented can is like paying for a new car but getting a car with 20,000 miles already on it.

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I mixed up API IPA this morning (my 21st Mr. Beer batch) using the Diablo IPA dented can.  Please see the attached pictures of the can after it's been cleaned out and the label removed.

 

As you can see, the large dent was into the seam of the can, something you can't see with the label on the can.  It also required some extra effort to get the lid off the can with the can opener as the lip was a little deformed also.  Opening from the other end wasn't an option because that's where the lip is extra deep to hold the yeast packet.

 

I've instructed my wife that if I die in a few months from beer poisoning that I want the epitaph on my gravestone to read "Mr. Beer done him in."

 

All is good if Mr. Beer will review their packing procedures and improve the process so the HME cans are restricted from touching and aren't able to freely float in the foam popcorn.  When I opened up my large shipment that included 7 HME cans, I knew something wasn't good before I even pulled any product out of the box.  It was obvious within the first 5 seconds of pulling the box open that everything had done a lot of shifting.  HME cans are heavy and pack a lot of momentum when jostled.  Like I pointed out earlier, the cardboard dividers are only the height of a standard HME and do little to restrict the movement of the larger craft and seasonal type cans.  Fortunately, I have enough beer recipes to last me until Christmas.  That gives Mr. Beer time to examine and improve their packing process before I make my next order.  The one condition I have in continuing to be a Mr. Beer customer by ordering more recipes/refills is that the packing procedure is improved.

 

(Note the Keith'sBrew's post where he says he's received cans are dented from moving around in shipment.)

 

Those are great shots.  One thing to remember though.  If that dent is on a seam.  Let us replace it.  I will have a talk with our CSR staff to make sure that they know this as well in our weekly meeting.  I am not sure if they are aware of the seam issue.

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MRB Rick, one other thing I've noticed about the packing over the past year.  When an order has only standard refill HME cans (the shorter ones), the packing box is the same size as the HME cans and the size of the box (plus the cardboard dividers being the same size as the standard refill HME cans) creates no packing issues.  Everything is good.  When craft or seasonal HMEs are ordered with the taller cans, you then go with a larger box.  The larger box combined with the foam popcorn and short cardboard dividers is where the issue is caused.

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Could the issue of moving cans be solved as easily as taping them down to the cardboard?

 

Hmm...

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Actually, getting a dented can is like paying for a new car but getting a car with 20,000 miles already on it.

 

Actually, getting a dented can is like getting a new car, but it doesn't have the show-room shine on it, instead it has a light haze of dust.

 

 ;)

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Well, it is still happening.

I had one tall can and 3 short cans and short dividers in my latest shipment that arrived today - and 3 cans of 4 were dented.

Looked like peanuts were not all around and not at end I opened first and rather loose.

It looked like the cans could (and did) move around in there.

 

But nothing is leaking so far so I guess I will use them.

 

3 dented cans

 

Low dividers for tall can

 

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I got four cans yesterday, three of the seasonals and a can of stout.  the Baltic looks like it took a shot and popped out the bottom... If the can was old, i'd be hesitant to use it, but it surprises me that it could do this.  I literally must have been dropped from four feet up, several times... 

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Yeah. Previously when there were tall cans or more than 4 small ones, the packers had inserted a square sheet of cardboard with 4 round can sized holes in it between the layers in the middle of the package between the upper and lower 4-can cardboard dividers. This kept the tall cans in stable position. I did not see this in my package this time. It might have helped. I just looked at the last shipment with the Imperial Red Ale and I noticed that has a ding in the side too. This has only been happening recently for me.   Maybe something changed in the packing/shipping process. 

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Thanks for the images and input, guys. I will forward this to our warehouse managers so they can deal with the issue.

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On 12/15/2015 at 10:13 AM, MRB Josh R said:

Thanks for the images and input, guys. I will forward this to our warehouse managers so they can deal with the issue.

 

Just wanted to report that the packing situation has been pretty close to perfect lately.  The last couple of boxes had the cardboard dividers inside the box to protect the cans.  

 

Thanks for asking the folks up north to take care of us!

 

Now if they could just replace those styrofoam peanuts with REAL peanuts.  Seems to make sense for beer.....just saying!

 

Thanks Josh.

 

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