View Full Version : PSA Regarding Shipments & Smoke Smell

12-09-2016, 01:34 PM
I thought I'd throw out a little PSA about something I noticed recently regarding shipments and smoke smell:

So, I believe my "new" fed-ex guys smoke in their truck. I'm not a smoker, nor is anyone in my family, so even the faintest hint of smoke odor I can detect. The last two fed-ex delivered orders I received in the mail WREAKED of cigarette smoke. These orders came from Dickblick (a couple of days ago) and Chewy (pet food that came today) so I know these things do not come from a smoking environment as I've ordered from them DOZENS of times before and they are well established companies. The dickblick order I received a few days prior to this one (they had to send me a replacement for something) was fed-ex -> USPS drop-off. When the regular mail carrier dropped it off, no odor at all...but the replacement that came a couple of days ago was dropped off directly by Fed-ex and wreaked.

Now, here is why I'm posting this. These boxes smelled inside and out...(worse on the outside than in) and I'd even go as far as to say the product packaging had a light smoke odor. If I would have gotten this from eBay I would have thought the seller a liar or a smoker and been kinda ticked. If this were a plush or clothing or something else absorbent I can almost guarantee the product itself would smell as well. (Thank goodness all my xmas shopping is already done lol!)

I won't re-use these boxes or packaging because that stuff can be really absorbent and I don't want it transferring to whatever I might ship in them in the future...just in case! That's the biggest bummer in all of this as packing supplies add up (both in cost and for the environment) and I always try to re-use and recycle when I can!

I never thought the boxes could smell inside and out from being on a smokers truck for the tail end of shipment. I'd figure there was plenty of ventilation on a truck for it to not "soak in the smoke" so to speak.... guess I was wrong! I have never noticed this before...at least not that I know of! I may have very well thought things that smelled like this came from the sellers previously until these last two orders from familiar frequented places! Hopefully these are just the holiday drivers that aren't the normal drop-off peeps. (And thankfully, not much of what I order gets dropped off by Fed-ex here anyway).

So yea, anyway...just wanted to put this out there before we as buyers may jump the gun on a private seller for smoke smell when it may really not be their fault. This has definitely opened my eyes to that!

How can you tell if it was the seller or truck? Well, I'm sure you will know if what you have came from a smoker given how pungent the odor is throughout the box and the product, but I'd say if the smell is fairly light and airs out in less than a day or two, it most likely happened on the truck. If the smell does not go away after a few days...you may have a smoking seller.

That ends my PSA for today...thanks for listening... lol

12-09-2016, 01:36 PM
My UPS driver smokes in the truck too. I just got breeches from Smartpak that reeked of smoke too. Nasty.

If it's the driver smoking, then the outside of the box will smell more than the inside. If it's the seller, then the inside of the box and the product will smell more than the outside. That's how I tell. :)

12-09-2016, 01:51 PM
Ughh... :yuk
Thankfully, I have not noticed this with any of my deliveries...yet. I hate the smell of smoke. :(

12-09-2016, 02:06 PM
FYI to add an experience: Before the Clean Air Act affected businesses, I purchase new, unopened box of kleenex tissues in a convenience store during a road trip. The attendants smoked in the store. And that box of tissues reeked of smoke! All the way through! Every tissue. I had to toss them because every time I blew my nose, I choked on smoke.

In conclusion - cardboard is porous.

12-09-2016, 03:05 PM

12-09-2016, 03:28 PM
I would be very upset if anyshipments arrived smelling of smoke because of the driver smoking in the truck. I don't think they're aloud to do that. Luckily it's never happened with any of our shipments and if it did I'd probably sqwak about it. I smoked years ago and am very against it. IMO it's a horrible thing and no good for anyone and no one should do it. It's just a bad addiction that will make you sick and kill you. Rant over.

12-09-2016, 04:22 PM
Yes I wonder if there is no company policy of no smoking in the truck . May be not enough customers are complaining. That can cause serious issues

Ulla Harneit

12-09-2016, 04:28 PM
Sadly, if someone smokes they're unlikely to even notice the smell if their stuff winds up showing up smelling of it. I have family members that smoke and whenever anything arrives from them it winds up spending a requisite amount of time thrown outside where it can air out before it comes into the house.

12-09-2016, 04:44 PM
We had a UPS driver several years ago that smoked in the truck, and it really caused issues as a neighbor's daughter would have an asthma attack every time they got something.... a phone call to UPS solved the problem. If it's an issue, you may want to report it to FedEx or UPS or whoever is delivering. One shouldn't have to accept packages reeking of smoke because of the delivery driver.

Aidan's Toy Trove
12-09-2016, 04:58 PM
Yes. My friend has a USPS Postman who smokes INSIDE his mail truck which is a federal vehicle. I'm not even sure if that's legal!

12-09-2016, 06:38 PM
It also may be because this time of year shipping companies hire independent contracters to make deliveries due to the volume of packages.

And this is why newspaper and cardboard is a really good way to remove smoke from items. Place item in tub with newspapers and change regularly. Also can be used for wooden furniture. Stuff drawers of chests that have come from smokers' houses with newspaper and this will soak up the smell.

12-09-2016, 06:42 PM
Ok, I just got a model that reeked, and I know the seller doesn't smoke as I know her personally-so that's got to be it! I threw the box and peanuts away because it was disgusting. Luckily the model was in a Breyer box and did not have any odor.

12-09-2016, 06:48 PM
I'd be calling FedEx to complain, to be honest. I have no problem with smokers but when it affects other people (cause I bet every package on that truck also reeked) then yeah. :nono

Miss Susan
12-09-2016, 09:52 PM
Oh, this is bad on several levels. I can see a seller being accused of selling a smelly model when it wasn't them at all. :(

12-10-2016, 10:22 PM
I'd be calling FedEx to complain, to be honest. (cause I bet every package on that truck also reeked) then yeah. :nono (snip)

Oh, this is bad on several levels. I can see a seller being accused of selling a smelly model when it wasn't them at all. :(

I, too, would be calling Fed Ex to complain. (or USPS if I was on that route)
I'm a non-smoker (never smoker) and I shouldn't have to put up with a smoker blowing their nasty smelling, reeking smoke on my packages when AFAIK they should NOT be smoking in their trucks anyway! :grump

And you can be darn sure I'd be finding out the regulations on drivers smoking in their vehicles...

12-11-2016, 06:54 PM
Perhaps the smell could also be from being next to one or more boxes from a smoking home, but it doesn't seem likely that would get into the packing. Someone smoking in the vehicle sounds more likely.

I can't think of anything offhand that will cause things to smell the way tobacco smoke does, even just from casual exposure. It's kind of an amazing phenomena. But I do not appreciate having to experience someone else's habit through that smell. I agree that it is worth a mention to the shipping company - they would probably rather correct someone than risk some bigger complaints from other people who will insist on recompense.

Hope that smell goes away for you and is no longer a concern at some point. Ick! :yuk :grin

12-11-2016, 08:15 PM
Absolutely, PLEASE, let the carrier's main office know about this whenever it occurs. It can take a long time to get a smell out of plastic models, and lowers their value. We and other reputable dealers take great pains to make sure that no odors get into the products (even cleaning chemicals, personal perfumes, etc), and it would be very disappointing to have a customer receive one that stinks.

If you need a good reason to call them, we now know about a phenomenon called "Third-Hand Smoke." Unlike second-hand smoke, which is being around someone who is currently smoking, third-hand smoke is that lingering odor that remains afterward on items, clothes, etc. It has been determined that this is also dangerous to people with lung issues (as someone mentioned about their neighbor's daughter suffering asthma attacks). One of our vendors has a severe lung disease, and his doctor forbids him to even visit a place with smokers, because it can compromise his breathing to a dangerous extent. So by reporting this issue, you could be saving someone else from serious health problems when they unknowingly bring one of these stinky boxes into their home.

12-11-2016, 09:22 PM
[ I'm not a smoker, nor is anyone in my family, so even the faintest hint of smoke odor I can detect.

Smokers have NO idea how faint a whiff us non-smokers can detect.

That ends my PSA for today...thanks for listening... lol

Thanks for pointing this out. FB recently had a stink over "it smelled like smoke" vs "But I don't smoke" recently. People need to realize that other things can happen.

12-13-2016, 11:45 PM
I agree with all of the above! Just wanted to add that smoking in the trucks is indeed *not allowed* for USPS mail carriers, at least. I suspect it probably is similar for other mail carriers, too. It's an awful and pervasive odor! :(

01-20-2017, 02:19 PM
Ok so just got my recent shipment of dog food in and you guessed it...the boxes smelled of smoke again! Not as terrible as the others I got during the holiday but it was seeped through the box and some of the packing material...again....sigh. I didn't really want to complain --I always fear retaliation of some sort and the drivers themeslves are really nice, don't get me wrong...but I'm always afraid I'd end up worse off than before!

I was hoping it was just the holiday drivers but seems to be ongoing. So I made the call. Wow, the guy I got on the phone was REALLY nice! He totally sympathized with my complaint because his wife is allergic to smoke so he's got to be careful with that too and totally understands and it's a legitimate complaint. I told him my fears of retaliation and he said if anything like that happens make sure to call us..that's NOT at all acceptable! He wasn't sure on the smoking policy so he basically put in the complaint as that I'm looking for the policy on smoking in vehicles and if they could take some precautions to protect the boxes from the smell in the future...etc. A nice complaint it sounded like...so we'll see how it goes.

Also, side note he said that the drivers they hire are contractors and are not fedex drivers so they file the complaint with the manager of that facility and they in turn will make sure the drivers are aware or whatever. So yes...it is true that fedex drivers are contracted out and are not fedex employees. (I know there's sometimes a little bit of a debate on that sometimes).

01-20-2017, 03:37 PM
:sigh :sigh :sigh
Well...some not so good news. Got a call back from FedEx (different woman who was also EXTREMELY nice and understanding!) Basically again saying that the drivers are subcontracted and their smoking policy is not the same in every hub...and unfortunately this hub allows it's drivers to smoke in the trucks :\ They've had these complaints before with this hub so they are going to add mine to the pile. She even said they can smell it when the truck comes back to the main facility but they can't tell their subcontractor companies what policies to do (which seems odd because you'd think if it's got the fedex name on it, policies should be the same across the board but I digress)...

What she said they can do is request that my packages be put in a plastic bag and if that's something I'd be ok with. And I said yea that should help given it's less absorbent than the cardboard..but some things are big (like this pet food order) so I don't know how feasible that would be for everything...but if it's something they can do then sure. So they're going to put my address on the list for that.

So..in the end...it's sadly out of the main fedex companies hands...aside from them changing the whole way they do business. I guess I'll just be more careful in ordering when I can...problem is, most of the time you don't have a choice in shipping service with stuff. I guess I'll have to start emailing companies now and making sure the end drop off is not fedex. It's ok if it's the fedex->usps drop off because I haven't had issue with that...but if fedex is the last leg that's used, it's going to smell like smoke.......*sigh*