Sampling Groups Part 2: How to Pack Samples to Avoid Mishaps
by, 2nd June 2011 at 10:56 PM (5599 Views)
Basically there are two things to prevent: leaks and breakage.
1. Leave a bit of head space when decanting!
Liquids expand in the lower atmospheric pressure of the airplane hold, so don't fill the vial or atomizer completely, or the perfume will be forced out when it expands.
2. Tape the caps on afterward.
The idea is to keep the cap in place so the sprayer doesn't discharge by accident. Bandage tape leaves the least residue, I am told, but many people use electrical tape or some other tape. I like to use Parafilm, a thin, stretchy, non-adhesive plastic film used in laboratories, which I buy on eBay (one can buy small amounts.) Parafilm is also useful for sealing spray samples that have no cap.
3. Use Teflon tape/ plumber's tape to improve the seal of the threads on atomizers with a screw-on sprayer.
This is a thin, white, non-adhesive tape. It is cheap and found in the hardware department. Cut about 3 inches of it, wrap it counter-clockwise around the threads while smoothing it down with your thumb (don't go around more than twice or it will be too thick.) Then screw on the sprayer clockwise.
4. Put the samples in a zipper-type bag.
I like to use two kinds. One is a pill bag that has a white area you can write on. These are a good size for the small, snap-on sprayer type atomizers and glass vials. I get these at WalMart, in the section near the pharmacy where they sell pill boxes. Also, in the craft section, there are packs of various sizes of zipper-type bags for about $2.00; carded samples and larger atomizers will fit in the larger of these.
Breakage prevention: Glass vials
If it's a manufacturer's sample and has its own card, the card will offer a bit of protection.
If sending several carded samples, I nest them one inside the other, then bag them tightly all together. A bit of bubble wrap over them is extra protection.
If they have no card, make a protective folder of your own.
I use shirt cardboard (thin, somewhat rigid cardboard) but any cardboard will do. Fold it so that it covers 3 sides of the sample and then tape the 4th side shut. Then pop it into a bag and into the bubble mailer. You can fit several glass vials side by side in one cardboard folder, but if you do that, put a bit of cushioning between them.
Or put the samples in tins or flat plastic boxes
Tins that held breath mints or lozenges are lightweight. Someone recently sent me a bunch of samples in a light plastic eyeglass case! Be creative; use whatever you have on hand. Pad inside the tin so the vials don't break each other from impact while the package is in transit. Try to keep the weight down, though.
The ultimate breakage prevention is shipping the samples with bubble wrap/packing peanuts in a cardboard box.
I will do this if there are a lot of samples, but I am getting away from sending more samples than people can adequately test in 2 weeks.
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