A trainee must have shipped. Never had that issue with B&H or Adorama.
But I am lucky to have a real camera store near my home that gets whatever I want.
This is a result of people shopping the internet. We may save a little or not, but with no sales they close or carry only high volume cameras. Wait until you need a lens cap or small accessory .I wish I had a store close by. My local store stocks only the low end gear. They don't even stock the 1.4 tele convertor.
I've received many orders like that from them. Mostly cheaper items where it doesn't matter, but you'd expect a bit more care for expensive products.Slip from normal (I hope.) I haven't had any problems with them.
At the same time, it's also unlikely that those big cardboard boxes containing multiple lenses would be subject to the rough and tumble of USPS/UPS/Fedex transport—we're talking about "tossing the box into a bin from 10' distance" (seen it with my own eyes). Most likely the boxes were loaded onto pallets, foil wrapped and processed as such. Even when shipped to a store the order is packed in bulk and those large boxes do simply not invite the physical abuse individual parcels invite (because you can throw those around) while being handled. Also, stores can simply return goods in damaged boxes as "unfit to sell," giving the shipper an incentive to make sure such damage cannot occur during transport.Brian, while I understand your concern, one should keep in mind that the factory package (the Gold Box) is designed to protect the lens during shipment on its own. When your lens departed from the factory in Japan, or wherever, there was no bubble wrap surrounding the Gold Box. Just a number of them in a cardboard box.