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As promised, I just finished posting photos of my background-free, all wood build, which has me really excited. I got the wood at my favorite LFS, and it's really hard not to keep going in there, even when I don't have a project going. They have THE best wood in the area that I can find. It's priced by weight, which seems fair enough to me. It really seems to work well for this application, too. It grabs the plants really well, and they grab it quickly, since it tends to hold a bit of moisture. I suspect that the height of this tank is helping it hold more humidity than my other tanks. I still have to find a fan for it, install the cover for my reservoir access point, run a silicone bead on one of the doors to keep flies in, and get the whole thing on the table.

My Begonia baik arrived this morning, and it is perfect. I posted the photo just a few minutes ago. Every shipper of plants should be packing them this way. Each and every item is always labeled individually, with a plastic plant label. The pot is wrapped in giant bubble wrap at the bottom, and a stick is placed upright, parallel with the stem. Some sort of fine, soft, shredded tissue paper is gently stuffed somewhat densely, though with room for the plant to move a little, around the base of the plant, and then more loosely around the upper parts of the stem and leaves. The tissue paper is also taped in place across the top of the pot to keep the soil from falling out. The entire box is lined with giant bubble wrap, and the plant is then placed inside, and the big bubble wrap folded closed over it. The bubble wrap cushions the plant from every angle, and there's just enough room for movement, but lots of softness to keep anything from getting broken. This is my third order from this (non-DB using) vendor, and every time, my plants have arrived with absolutely nothing broken. Begonias are super delicate, so that's quite a feat, in my view. I took pictures of the packing, in case anyone wanted to see an example of what I consider the gold standard. I'll post them a bit later.

That brings me to some additional thoughts I have on packaging. The best shipper of critters I have dealt with sent the animals in brand new sphagnum, in an insulated box with one of those fancy phase changing packs (I can't remember what they're called). The box was one of those inch-thick, styrofoam types from Polartech, placed inside a cardboard box, and there was plenty of fresh, dry newspaper inside the styrofoam box to minimize the bounce. Each plastic deli cup was taped shut and had air holes. I consider that top notch. The vendor, whom I shall not name- I'm not trying to endorse anyone, just describing what I think is great packaging- also included an itemized, printed receipt. The whole thing was properly labeled externally and actually sent through Ship Your Reptiles.

I've noticed that there really isn't much in the way of shipping guidelines here on DB, so I figured I would share my two best experiences in the hopes of raising the bar. Most folks do a good job, and I have not had a disastrous experience so far. I hope this is helpful to those who are new to shipping, and are looking for an outline of best practices. This is my version of that outline.
 
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