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Normally, due to people not wanting to waste too much material, packages tend to be about the same size as what's in them. Not when this tropes comes up. In that case, an entire wooden box used for major transport could be used to carry a single pen, a steel suitcase the size of a rifle is used to transport a single ammo clip, etc. Tends to be parodied in cartoons, when they somehow pull a giant 30+ Inch TV out of a package the size of a shoebox, in which case it can overlap with Hammerspace.
Bigger case examples:
- In a lot of FPS games, you can find a single ammo clip in boxes large enough to hold a large rifle.
- In King of the Hill, Luanne gives Hank a shoebox gift, but turns to contain only a tiny gift box containing a pass to swim with the resort's dolphin.
- Tends to be used by children when they need to make a surprise, in order to make the other child think they got a huge gift. Alternatively, they just got lazy/bored and put a small box in a shoebox.
- A lot of companies do this out of either false advertizing (Make the buyer think there is more in the package than there actually is) or just plain standard package sizes.
- Things packaged for shipping often have much bigger boxes then the item itself. Justified, because they fill the space in with bubble wrap and shipping peanuts to prevent damage.
- Sometimes Truth in Television. These days security precautions package seemingly rudimentary things with too much tape, foam, bubble wrap, MORE tape, a box inside of a box, and more tape, to make it look comically unnecessary.
- Consumer Reports magazine has a regular feature on its back page showing off various advertising bloopers submitted by readers. Items where the package size is (misleadingly) larger than its actual contents get labelled with the "Black Hole Award".
- When CDs were first sold they came in boxes 3-4 times bigger than the disk. This was meant to help prevent shoplifting.
- This one has been zigzagging, with "normal" CD cases (5mm thick with often a booklet), shrinking to thin CD cases (half the thickness, never a booklet), and growing back to DVD cases (width, height, and half the thickness of a VHS).
- Some parents will often package something small in a much larger box during a gift-giving holiday to tease them.
Smaller case or misleading shape examples:
- A commercial once had a woman unwrap a package the shape of a tennis racket to reveal an armchair inside.
- Dragon Ball: anything from the Capsule Corporation (vehicles, appliances, houses, ect.) collapses down for storage in a capsule no bigger than a person's finger.
- In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura tries to open a box that Rob gets in the mail. When she finally manages to open it an inflatable dinghy pops out and inflates, leaving it about 5x the size of the original box. It had also just happened in a sketch Rob had written for "The Alan Brady Show", making it a case of In-Universe Truth in Television.
- There's a Donald Duck cartoon in which he's a gift wrapper in a department store. He puts a small ring inside a large box, then tries to put a football in the box meant for the ring. He has to deflate the ball in order to fit it in.
- In the recent Disney short "How to Hook Up Your Home Theater", Goofy is having trouble opening a small package of cables. After failing to open it, a single drop of sweat causes the package to burst open, covering Goofy in about half a metric ton of cables.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Idiot Box", SpongeBob buys a television set just to play with the box it came in. The TV was about three times the size of the box.
- Family Guy: Brian once received a Christmas present shaped like a wine bottle. He removed the wrapping paper to discover a book.
- Taz-Mania: In "Sub Commander Taz", he ordered a nuclear submarine from a comic-book ad. It was delivered in a crate that filled most of the room, but it turned out to be a toy so small it could be dropped into a water glass.
- In the Classic Disney Short "Pluto's Party", Pluto gets a present shaped like a huge bone, but when he bites into it, it turns out to be a wagon.