Now, as long as we can provide a missile, you are perfectly free to leave your books or LPs or DVDs in the missile just inside our north doors (the glass ones off the parking lot) and take your bags and boxes home for reuse. Especially considering some of the bags and boxes you’ve used lately.
For those of you who are willing to leave the bags and boxes, it is apparent that a few of you slept through the lecture and need some quick refresher notes. I am leaving out of consideration for the moment those of you who paid attention, took notes, and then went out and did it any which way anyhow. You are clearly beyond reclaim, and will be taking Remedial Book Packing all the way through your Ph.D.
BAGS: We prefer not to have torn bags or bags with handles ripped off, obviously, but we understand, pistachio popcorn. Sometimes you get the bag all the way here and are lifting it into the missile when POP! Go the Handles. There is not much you can do about this. (You will probably do it anyway, but our security crew has heard those words before and will not be shocked.)
A bag should, however, at least have handles when you start out. It should be clean inside (no reusing those old garbage bags you used for leaf removal last year and which have been sitting in a damp pile ever since.) They should be of reasonable size. We have a name for those of you who use the largest garbage bags you can find, and, fortunately, our security crew has heard THAT word before, too.
A nice rectangular shopping bag—paper or plastic—offers just the right support for a stack of books, and usually is not too heavy to lift into the missile. You may, of course, leave a bag on the floor next to the missile, but this still does not excuse garbage bags.
BOXES should be composed of at least five reasonably solid sides: the top is optional, but we like to have that when you can manage it. Those detergent display boxes you got at the grocery store with one side torn away for display are best used for their intended purpose. And we do not intend to display detergent bottles at this year’s Book Fair. (None have been donated so far, thank goodness.) In fact, please go to your grocery store only if your liquor store hasn’t got any nice boxes to give you. Wine boxes are sturdy and come in very useful sizes. Go to the grocery store and what do you get? Banana boxes and a curse bouncing off the clouds from Uncle Blogsy.
(For those of you who just came in, fruit boxes are generally the last ones broken down at the grocery store because they are so solid, and are therefore seized upon by people looking for book packaging. Banana boxes, which are often secured by brass staples, are sturdy but have this great big hole in the bottom which Uncle Blogsy believes only someone who flunked basic Physics would try to use for carrying boxes. There are weeks when I wonder if all the Physics professors in Cook County go home and cry themselves to sleep at night.)
Shoeboxes CAN be useful for some things: postcards, say. Flower boxes, linen boxes, and television boxes are almost always expendable. Use these to store towels, or fishing rods, or collectible sticks from lollipops. As for those boxes U-Haul calls Medium, please reserve those for almost anything other than books. When full, they’re too heavy, and if you put just one layer of books in the bottom, we will all just laugh at you.
Of course, this does not exhaust all possibilities. The people who tie up their books in twine have been around (which usually damages the books), while there was one bundle tied up in knotted shoelaces (not so damaging but silly.) We have not heard lately from the people who brought books in the fertilizer bag, the pet carrier, the pillow cases, or those infamous bread bags.
Which MAY be a sign that Uncle Blogsy’s curse works. You have been warned.