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Good things might come in small packages, but should small things come in huge ones? Some mail-order companies seem to think so. Spurred by readers who have complained about overwrapping, we ordered tiny items online from 13 companies and found ourselves awash in cardboard, paper, and plastic.
Avon sent a stick of lip balm in a box just slightly smaller than a shoe box. The Oriental Trading Company encased a vial of beads in bubble wrap surrounded by bags of air. Staples delivered a single pencil in a box that could have fit about 200. Why? A Staples spokeswoman told us that the wrong-size box must have been used or that the packagers …