Porcelain packaging can be shocking at times!
When we got the parcel below from Europe (Switzerland) we did not dare opening it ourselves - this was once a rectangular box!
It is better to have the post office handle parcels that could contain broken items, for any compensation claims could be refused by the post or the sender/seller once you have accepted a parcel. Never open damaged parcels yourself. If the exterior of a box is damaged, it is better to refuse acceptance and then go and ask the post office to open it in your presence. If you receive a box with porcelain, shake it a little in the presence of the mailman and ask him to take it back - or open it in his presence (that is often not possible, though). Don't open such a parcel yourself.
The first three pictures below show a parcel immediately after receiving it. We did not open it. With this look we naturally suspected that the porcelain plate inside was
broken and returned right away to the post office to have it opened there in our presence. Negligence in packaging is a frequent cause of broken content.
The adhesive tape with green imprint was stuck all around the parcel by the receiving post office upon arrival, in order to avoid that the parcel disintegrated even more.
The fourth picture shows the parcel after post office staff started opening it. The cardboard had completely changed shape, even the different layers inside the corrugated cardboard had separated and were all wet. Everything inside was completely wet. The tape the post office stuck around it was really the only thing that held the whole thing together. The cardboard of the box was soggy and the box had changed shape. Even the green nuggets were still moist. But as luck had it - the plate was intact!
After prodding the post in the sending country we found out the route the parcel was taking. The only reasonable explanation for its condition was that the parcel probably was exposed to heavy tropical rain in SE Asia, while waiting on the tarmac to be loaded unto another plane...
Two things come to mind. If the parcel had contained an item that was sensitive to water (wood, cloth, paper) the content itself might have been damaged.
It was pure luck that the the porcelain plate inside was not destroyed. A box in such a state could not possibly protect its content from external shocks. In this case the bubble wrapping and nuggets used for packaging were of great help. If newspaper had been used for stuffing the box the result can be imagined.
The item below is the result of gross negligence by the seller ...no proper packaging material at all.
The purple cloth was the only packing material inside the box. No bubble wrap, no nuggets, not even crumpled newspaper.
The box had a width of less than 5cm. this item was only wrapped inside this cloth. It is a shame, after more than 250 years of its existence this 18th century dish met this end due to the sender's negligent packing. The seller claimed inexperience and that they were usually selling books(!). That would explain the small box but not the lack of care.
The two plates below were broken when we got it from a dealer in France. The exterior of the box was NOT damaged.
In this case the packaging was the culprit. No proper bubble wrapping or nuggets. Some crumpled magazine pages, a tooth brush wrapper, a subway ticket from the Paris area, etc. -- all candidates for breaking items. Such wrapping, including crumpled newspapers, may be fine when you send something to a place nearby. Nowadays parcels are put on conveyor belts in post offices, airports, etc. resulting in vibrations which will shake the content. Due to the bad packaging in this case the two plates moved and were in contact with each another and with the bottom of the box (no space or wrapping in between).