How not to give the shipping guy more grey hairs than he needs...

Posted by Brent Owen on

Alternate title: How to input a proper shipping address, or at least things to avoid.

Editor's note: Seems I couldn't persuade Brent to introduce himself, so I'll do it for him. Brent has worked here ever since January 2016, when the saline crisis was starting. He's responsible for all of our outbound shipping. He's a real character and a delight to work with.

Once an order is placed it’s my job to process the order, print the labels and make sure they get out the door.  This includes of course, making sure that the address your packages are going to is valid. After all, we want you to get your much needed supplies!  

In most cases, our primary shipping platform will do this for me. However, it cannot account for, shall we say, some of the more creative ways people input their address. So here are some tips when placing orders which I’m sure will make other online stores happy as well.  

1: Put your full street address on address line 1. Do NOT for the love of my sanity (and my still dark hair) place your city, state or zip code on line one or split your street address by putting only the number of line 1 and the rest on line 2. (You know who you are!)  

2:  If you live in an apartment building, condo or are shipping to a commercial address with a suite number, then please, please, please include your apartment number, unit or suite number and be sure to include "Apt" "Ste" (Suite) or whatever is appropriate. Just a number or letter will still cause an error. 

When you don’t do this, I have to look you up and sometimes use google maps. I do not want to see into your windows with a street camera to try to figure out if the postal service will know where you are! It scares me!  Also, if I can’t figure it out I have to have someone call you.  

If you do not need to include this for some reason, you can simply add a note to your order and I will be so thankful. I will even tag your record so I will know for future orders and all will be well!

3:  Address verification systems hate non-alpha numeric characters. They will break. So no periods, dashes (PLEASE no dashes, my heart can’t take more of those. Story for another time. Angela, I’m sorry!) or the like. Numbers and letters only please.  

4: Smaller point but you’ll understand when I get to #5. Suite, unit and apartment numbers go on line 2 please. Line 1 usually doesn’t hurt but… 

5: Shipping labels are only so big.  If an address line is too long, parts can be cut off. As a general rule, try to limit the address to 35 characters if possible. Common abbreviations are just fine. Long city names we don’t care about.  

This is especially true of you international folks with insanely long addresses putting it all on line 1. Yeah I’m talking to you folks who live on the corner of this street and that, 3 blocks from the university and up the stairs! The post office can’t generate all that on a label with only one line. It’s ok to split it between both address lines if you need to.

6: Number 5 also applies to company names. I feel bad if my creative edits butcher your company names out of necessity. Think about my conscience!  

7: Your phone number goes on the phone number line.  

8: Your email address belongs only on the email address line. Yes, I’m serious.  Please don’t put it anywhere else.  

I think that covers the most common issues (and some uncommon ones). By far the most common error our software spits out is missing or invalid apartment or suite number. 

Getting your order out to you is important to us. Know that even though we’re not perfect, you will always have human eyes on your every order, from the time you place the order to when it goes out the door.  


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  • You guys are the best!

    Sally Chapman on

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