Posted on July 10, 2024 by Michael Boik

Rush Orders—A Custom Packaging Scam?

Scams are seemingly everywhere nowadays, and some are far more obvious than others. We’ve all seen the email in our inbox from an unrecognized, questionable-looking email address with a poorly-written, grammatical nightmare of a message trying to get us to click a link to lord knows where. These are often deleted and typically pose a minimal threat to the average consumer. Also, the more of these you see, the higher your awareness is in spotting them.

However, there are other scams which are actually targeting a different area of consumer vulnerability. They are not recognized as scams because they appear to be offering the customer a premium service for an added fee. One example in our industry is rush orders, and many of our competitors will promote and offer them as an alternative to waiting for standard lead times. Below are some of the reasons we do not offer rush orders, and frankly, think they are designed to take advantage of vulnerable new buyers of custom packaging.


The Problems with Rush Orders

You don’t have to be in the packaging industry for as long as Salazar Packaging (17 years) to know that the VAST majority of customers are in a hurry and are trying to meet a deadline when they order custom packaging. It’s probably a number higher than half of all potential new customers ask us if we offer any rush services or expedited orders. We never have, and never will, for a variety of reasons we will get into here.

We won’t use their name, but one of the biggest custom packaging companies openly advertises two buying options on their website. One is to purchase boxes with a standard lead time, and the other is to purchase the rush order for a SLIGHTLY reduced lead time (a few days) at a 60% markup from their normal pricing. We make no apologies in saying, this is not good customer service. This is a lose-lose situation for all customers. The customers who are not paying the premium are getting less than the best-level service the company has to offer. And the customers who are paying the premium are getting less that the best-possible pricing the company has to offer. Either pricing is sacrificed for customer service, or customer service is sacrificed for pricing. Nobody is getting the best of both worlds.

Are Rush Orders Ever Beneficial?

While it is true and we understand that sometimes, a few days may make a substantial difference between having boxes and meeting a deadline, fulfilling an order etc. but we simply don’t believe that a packaging company should charge a premium for such a service. It doesn’t make sense that there is a normal process for all “regular” customers, and then a magical faster process for the higher paying customers. If the magical faster process happens to be available, then any customer should be able to take advantage of it. I’m sure there are many times outside of the packaging busy season (Sep-Nov) where this rush service is absolutely unnecessary because the order volume should not be exceeding their production capacity. It also begs the question, that if it is a matter of machine availability, and they are prioritizing the machines to the higher paying customers, then what will they do if everyone is willing to pay more for this service, especially around the busy season? Then they would inevitably have to add a third option to their order menu—a super rush service at an even higher markup. You could be paying to cut the line in front of someone who paid to cut the line in front of someone…

It’s a dangerous and slippery slope, and in many ways, unethical.


What does Salazar Packaging Do Instead?

Our typical lead time on a custom box order is about 2 weeks production time from final artwork approval. This is in line with many of our competitors’ lead times, but we offer a distinct advantage that they do not. If you come to us, asking for a specific delivery date, we have the benefit of working with many manufacturing locations throughout the country, and knowing their machine availability and schedules at all times. We will transparently share with you our exact thoughts about where we can manufacture your boxes, to get the best possible lead time when needed, as well as any other tips/advice we can provide to help move the order along faster. This means that if a company in New York calls us asking for boxes, we can check with our east coast production plants and likely find one that is able to accommodate the order. And the best part is, we do this as a service to you, the customer, as part of our normal process at NO ADDED CHARGE! We want to be your packaging partners, and we don’t play favorites or tailor our production schedule to whoever buys their way to the front of the line.

One question I have for our competitors is, if you are able to reduce your lead times for some of your customers, then why aren’t you able to do it for all? Also, what happens if someone does pay 60% more for a rush order, and the order is delayed unexpectedly? In the industry, we know that not every order runs smoothly, and sometimes delays do happen. This is just one of the many reasons we won’t make empty promises or deliver false hope if we don’t think we can meet your target date.


Our track-record is unmatched. Some of our largest customers who have ordered millions of boxes from us know that when they need us to work a miracle, we often deliver it. If you are ready to work with a fully transparent, full-service packaging partner, please reach out to us today.


Please Contact Us Today

As always, if you have any questions, one of our branded packaging advisors is standing by to assist, with decades of experience behind them. Want to know more about custom packaging options? Please call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us via email at


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