Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cooperative Shipping Service by Individuals

Ship items with people who are already going that way.
  (+13, -2)(+13, -2)
(+13, -2)
  [vote for,

Sort of like The People's UPS: "When you absolutely positively don't care when the hell it gets there". If someone from my neighborhood is driving down to Florida next week why not send along the package I had destined for my Aunt Mabel in Florida. A drop-box in your area could be perused by people who were heading out on the road and they could grab a few things and toss them in the trunk to get them closer to their destination. If they get close they could deposit them in another drop box and they could be taken the last few miles or picked up by the recipient. Of course this is completely free and run by volunteers.
dgeiser13, Feb 23 2001

Deuce of Clubs's Oobiland. http://www.deuceofc...com/oobi/index.html
The Oobi was a similar idea. This didn't work either... [StarChaser, Feb 23 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Northern Forest Archipelago http://northern-forest-archipelago.org/
A micro-nation protecting the forests of Maine, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire [imaginality, Aug 20 2007]

Stuff2Send.com http://www.stuff2send.com/
[dgeiser13, Dec 17 2008]


       Theory: Sounds like a good, "world-family" idea. Reality: These drop boxes would be robbed constantly and items opened/kept or discarded. However, Peter is right in that it does would somewhat well among some family and friend networks.
Susen, Feb 23 2001

       I think Susen may be right. The slogan would need to be something more along the lines of "When you absolutely positively don't care if it ever actually gets there."   

       Plus, who would pay for the network of drop boxes?
PotatoStew, Feb 24 2001

       OK, eliminate the drop boxes. Coordinate everything on an Internet web site. The person who is delivering the package would have to take it to the carrier's residence before the day they left.
dgeiser13, Feb 24 2001

       This is baked by some companies and people... No links, though I read about it on the rec.antiques.radio+phono newsgroup sometimes. Someone will say "I'm going from here to there and back with a truck and have some extra space. Anybody need anything moved or picked up?" Sometimes you can talk trucking companies into letting you buy space in their trucks if they don't have a full load, too...
StarChaser, Feb 24 2001

       "Did anyone unknown to you ask you to carry anything on board the airplane for them?"
jutta, Feb 24 2001

       This is precisely how overseas mail was sent in the American colonies prior to the establishment of a post office. Pubs were typically used as the delivery point.
francois, Feb 25 2001

       Okay, nice idea as far as it goes. How about this as a potential improvement?   

       Every shop in the country receives deliveries on a regular basis - from twice a week for a tiny country store to twice an hour for the big supermarkets. Why not drop your packages off at your local shop. Whenever the shop receives a delivery, the lorries take the packages with them back to the suppliers, ready to deliver to another part of the country a few days later. You get notified of the delivery via e-mail and you pick it up from your local store...
mboxwell, Apr 03 2001

       That's a pretty good idea, mboxwell. The distribution arm of the grocery chain, or the independent distribution company serving the smaller grocer, could just enter an agreement with UPS or FedEx or someone like that. When the mostly-empty delivery trucks return to their base, they would unload a few boxes of stuff to be picked up by UPS in one large convenient bunch. Drop boxes in grocery stores; delivery would be as usual.
wiml, Apr 03 2001

       The completely free part has me a little skeptical, since the process consumes energy. Making it cheap enough for the don't care when market means beating the economy of scale at its own game. Something I believe is possible, though admittedly for emotional reasons. Little people like us could volunteer price and availability survey data, personal shopping lists, and location data. This entails volunteering more information than time. Another problem is getting people to agree on procedures for avoiding duplication of procedures, emptying the out box in a timely manner. Start by recording pickups and other intermediate services in the public domain. A mail tracker gizmo (http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Mail_20tracker_20gizmo) could play a role in automating part of this process. Then somehow coordinate people's efforts without costing them time or money, and if possible by non-authoritarian means. A tall order, to be sure. But why waste a resource like the half bakery on any other kind? I'd definitely want to participate on either or both ends of this, even at risk of some loss. Just because the idea fascinates me.
LoriZ, Jun 22 2001

       ...I liked this from the conceptual point of view, even though the initially proposed implementation leaves a bit to be desired.   

       I would characterize this as a "peer shipping network" and with critical mass, it could have promise.   

       Initially I thought that it could simply be a loosely organized band of individuals coordinated through some network service. But with mboxwell's idea, this could actually achieve critical mass fairly well.   

       I guess the biggest problem I see has to do with security. A network in which all of the participants are trusted not to ship volatile, dangerous, or illegal material would be the only context in which this works. (Otherwise its simply a smuggling ring.) But such a community (one of trust) would by necessity be fairly small and difficult to establish on a reliable, all points of delivery basis.   

       I suppose that for distribution of things like books, videotapes, and easily opened boxes of random stuff, this would be fine. Add some barcode readers and network connectivity, and this might just work.   

agentv, May 10 2002

       Sounds great. Most people are reliable, can be trusted and don't mind helping out any way they can. Sorting, delivering and keeping their nose out of other people's things. Not!
akanewB, May 12 2002

       This would negate the "free" part of this idea and the "individuals" part as well but...   

       It seems that I often hear about people getting jobs shuttling rental cars and U-Haul type trucks to various locations (that presumably have more outbound 1 way rentals than inbound 1 way rentals). Why not utilize the empty space in those vehicles?   

       It seems all of the major rental car agencies barcode their cars these days. So car rental agencies could be a hub for inexpensive shipping. Slap a barcode on the package, scan it "on to the vehicle" for tracking via website. Then the vehicle is scanned when it arrives at it's destination and you can then be notified that your package has arrived. It would cost more than zero but would also have a bit more accountability built in.
half, May 12 2002

       Err.... isn't this how most countries post offices get started? It begins for free, then some bright spark decides that a small charge could apply 'to cover costs'. The 'don't care when it gets there' attitude starts to change because it's cheaper than the post and the service becomes more popular, and people forget the basic idea. It turns into a bigger and bigger enterprise, and eventually.................
cooky, Jan 08 2004

       this idea is somewhat baked in the form of a post office in the galapagos islands, the idea is to post your letter there and anyone from the region it is being sent too should pick it up and hand deliver it, either that or bring it home then post it in a local post box
engineer1, Feb 24 2004

       Something similar to this is baked by the Northern Forest Archipelago, a micro-nation in the Appalachians. See their FAQ. The sender puts a stamp on the letter or parcel, and the deliverer receives a stamp or equivalent value in return for delivering it.
imaginality, Aug 20 2007

       Anything is better than UPS. (they owe me $$$ for shipments they destroyed) I swear they dropped this one out of a plane in the congo.....
evilpenguin, Aug 21 2007

       No, the drop boxes would not be robbed. The DHL Packstation system is like a "drop box" and it works perfectly fine.
kinemojo, Jun 02 2008

       I use UPS to test products with. Just because the device passes the MIL STD shock and vibration standards means little.   

       Ship it from California to the East Coast and then back again, and you will have learned something regarding your product and your packaging.
normzone, Jun 02 2008

       "Package for you Mrs. Maas. Just sign here ...."
mouseposture, Jun 03 2008

       I have a plastic croissant here which i have long wanted to send to other halfbakers around the world. There is also a list of halfbakers posted by [neilp]. If i find the nearest halfbaker to me on that list, i could presumably go to them and hand over the croissant, and they could then pass it on.   

       This could also be done with other items.
nineteenthly, Aug 19 2008

       P2P shipping. Very nice idea.   

       Most of the kinks can be solved, I guess.   

       Since you're working with a website, it would also be very easy to actually incentivize carriers - financially. They get a small fee per 100 miles or so. When they do this regularly, it adds up. And you could still beat regular shipping services, I guess.   

       Finally, since you're still on the website, the users can rate each other - so the bad shippers will be punished and the good ones rewarded. This does not offer a water-proof guarantee that the shipper of your choice is OKAY, but at least you get an indication.   

       You can start this project/website warning about its initial phase, and ask those who try it out for the first time, only to send non-valuable items.   

       After a while, a big list of reliable shippers will emerge, rated by many users. This builds trust.   

       Obviously, everyone will understand that this service will forever remain good for sending not-too-valuable items only. But there could well be a market for these items.   

       If I send 100 pairs of shoes this cheap way, and 1 gets lost ("stolen"), I'd still be better off than working with a commercial shipper, I think.   

       There are many interesting possibilities with this idea. Very neat. [+]
django, Aug 19 2008

       I _knew_ this was a good idea. Hence, Stuff2Send.com.
dgeiser13, Dec 17 2008

       Stuff2Send.com seems like a nice implementation.   

       I have a txt file I built in April, hashing out a similar idea. My priority is p2p trusted carrier networks that do not rely on the internet for operation. The web could be used to start out, and track deliveries, build some trusted links, but the protocol should be robust enough to handle an internet and phone outage.   

       My idea involves rules like: 1) Only pass packages on to people you know or reasonably trust (trusting them to do the same) 2) No exact location reporting/tracking, just general, and optional (again, web shouldn't be relied upon) 3) The carrier is responsible when he has the package (and for remembering the person he got it from and passed it on to)   

       Distribution of rewards is a problem. The shipper should be able to offer an amount for the total delivery, dividing by hops or by miles, or some combination. Rewards should probably only be distributed if the package actually arrives at the destination, and again this is a problem. If we can't rely on intarweb or phones, then receipts and distribution of rewards becomes difficult.   

       I envision the protocol to be open, decentralized, and therefore it is conceivable that several trusted networks would develop in parallel.   

       For tracking and delivery confirmation, while the web is working, a simple email or text to the person who shipped would work. Something like... "I am dude abc, I received pkg 123 from dude def in kansas city, and gave it to dude ghi in salt lake."   

       The protocol for developing unique ids, auth etc can be RSA or something like that.
bickelj, Feb 03 2009

       I had this idea too. It stands to reason it is baked. You can keep in mind that you can rate and track successful deliveries just like successful sales on ebay
MercuryNotMars, Feb 03 2009


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