Amidst other Atlas work (such as packing some orders to distributors), I've been working on the gift boxes. Yesterday I printed out all of orders we received, and sorted them into two piles — those that will probably go UPS (for some destinations, that will be the cheaper way to send the contents that will fit in a flat-rate box), and those that will definitely go US Mail.
I'm waiting for delivery of a bunch of flat-rate boxes from the Post Office, since I only had a few on hand, but in the meantime I'm able to work on the boxes that will go UPS, using packing materials we already have in the warehouse. We do a lot of reusing and recycling here at Atlas; most of these boxes I'm using are from our friends at The Source Comics and Games, who give us the boxes, packing peanuts, etc., from shipments they receive at their store. We put them to good use. Boxes in good shape are reused for our outgoing shipments, and those that are not in good shape either are cut up to use as packing material, or (when we just have more than we need) taken to the local recycling center. It's good for the environment to reuse these materials, but it's also good for the Atlas bottom line, to avoid spending money on brand-new shipping cartons. (Avoiding needless expense is one of the ways for game companies to survive 20 years!)
I've further sorted the orders into those that provided some instructions, and those that didn't. I filled a few flat-rate boxes that I had in the office, and I've started work on packing some boxes for the "no instructions/via UPS" group. As of when I had to leave the office earlier today (I'm working less than full time these days; I am in the office in the morning to early afternoon, and then I go home to take care of our twins while Michelle comes in to work in the afternoon), I so far have 39 boxes packed up and sealed.
At this point I'm thinking that we'll pack up all the gift boxes before we ship any. Bobbi said she wants to take a picture of them all, and she's away all week, and I have to admit that will make a cool picture. (My guess is that we'll have about three pallets of gift boxes.) After all the boxes are packed, the labeling itself will be no small task, and I'll need to be careful to keep track of the contents for all the ones going overseas so that I can process all the necessary export/customs documentation. And that reminds me, I need to count how many gift boxes are going outside the USA, and make sure I have enough of Customs Form Envelope 2976E...