Preparing to Fail: Federal Bureau of Prisons Sells Mailing Envelope for When MP3 Players Break
The other week I prepared to shop in the FCI Petersburg’s institutional commissary. New commissary forms had just been printed, this one with “Feburary” printed on it. I was looking to see if there was anything new available for sale. After all, some items change each quarter, when they issue the new commissary forms. Well, I wasn’t to be disappointed.
As I scrolled down the commissary list, I came across an entry called a “MP3 Envelope.” Seeing this I assumed that they were finally selling a soft, clear, rubberized carrying case for the $69 SanDisk MP3 player which they’ve been selling for some time. This clear case — with a neck strap, no less — is sold at other prisons for around $1, or even given away with the MP3 player purchases.
Later in the day, while at the commissary window retrieving my purchases, a small yellow envelope was passed through the slot. The inside of this envelope contained bubble wrap. On the outside, there was a label for the Advanced Technologies Group — the contractor who installs the software on the MP3 players sold by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I was sadly disappointed, but didn’t hand back the envelope because I wanted to share this with my friends so that we could all remark at the principle behind selling this padded, labeled, envelope; an envelope designed for use upon product failure, an apparently expected outcome.