It isn't as far fetched as you might think.. I work for a company that builds sorting equipment. Ours is some of the nicest and gentlest to packages out there... as well as being very quiet.
However, I've also heard of literal high speed box slappers, pneumatic box throwers and even on our systems a box can get "eaten"... though we design our systems to minimize this unlike some others. Thankfully the industry is moving away from that and toward systems like we make or like those Amazon uses (which is solving the problem from the other end that us) Sometimes sortation systems are used to sort items they were not originally designed for (sorting boxes on a sorter designed for poly bags or vice versa) as well... and this leads to nightmares of 100+ packages crashed into each other and destroyed but that is down to mismanagement honestly.
In the end if you want a good sorter... you have to buy one that has thought put into it instead of being a cookie cutter system. And the place I work is only company in the US that makes them (everyone else is German or Japanese). If you go with the German or Japanese systems you are going to get a either a cookie cutter system or a giant erector set... both of which have problems of thier own versus a high quality engineered solution.