Friday, July 27, 2012

International shipping–the sublime and the just plain ridiculous

I just love the convenience of internet shopping. Ebay, Etsy, web surfing, there’s absolutely nothing, it seems, I can’t find somewhere in the world by just sitting in my PJs (or snuggling under the covers) and letting my fingers do the walking.

When it comes to shopping, even though I live “down under” in Australia, these days the world’s my oyster.

Trouble is, sometimes you find a pearl, and sometimes there’s just a lot of grit.

Today I received a package of fabric from Sew Dear, an online quilt shop in Waverly, Iowa, and I can’t praise them enough for their wonderful customer service.  I’d been scouring the internet for nine metres of fabric from April Cornell’s Nature’s Notebook range from a few years back, and was over the moon to see the object of my desire on the Sew Dear website.


A quick email to them before I popped off to bed elicited a warm, friendly reply by morning. Yes, said Deb, she could supply me with my whole nine metres!


My quilt fabric, weighing a hefty 3 lbs, was promptly despatched, via USPS Priority Mail, and arrived on my doorstep this morning, just 15 days later. The shipping cost was a very reasonable US$46.40.

Go Deb, and the staff at Sew Dear!

What a contrast to my experience trying to buy this little item a couple of months earlier from Lightwedge in  Massachusetts .


It’s a KIndle cover, beautifully crafted to look like a vintage leather book, and as soon as I saw it on the Lightwedge website I knew it was the perfect gift for my Kindle-loving husband for our 40th wedding anniversary.


It weighs a feather-light 7.7 ounces, according to the website, but can you guess how much Lightwedge wanted to charge me for shipping?

Sit down first.


When I first saw this I was certain it was a computer glitsch, but no. Christina Woods, Lightwedge’s Customer Service person, assured me it was correct. In fact, she told me in her email, Lightwedge’s international shipping starts at US$100.


Stranger still was what happened next. I asked for my gorgeous Kindle cover to be sent (domestic postage was free)to Sarah in Virginia who promptly repacked it and sent it to me via USPS for the very realistic cost of $11.60.


There are questions I can’t avoid asking, but I‘ll resist putting them into words here. I simply want to ask why, if an ordinary citizen can post this cover for $11.60, can’t Lightwedge do the same?

My DH is enjoying his beautiful gift now, and I would really love to recommend you buy one too, but definitely not if, like me, you live outside the US.

This company clearly doesn’t need my business, so they’ll not be getting it again.



  1. Oh my....makes you wonder where the cost goes, doesn't it? Nature's Notebook was such a pretty fabric range!

  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly, I love to shop online and sometimes the outrageous postage costs stop me making the purchase. It even happens in Australia, but thankfully so far the sellers that I have questioned have offered items to me at a more reasonable rate. But some sellers dont even reply to me, so they dont ever get a sale. I love the April Cornells fabric, Natures notebook and made a quilt in this for a friend a year or so ago, so pretty.

  3. Wow that's amazing. What a rip off. Obviously they don't look for business overseas. Hope hubby liked it after all that!

  4. The postage debauchle is why I shut down my Etsy store, and send so little to friends and family while I summer in Canada. I sent a baby quilt to my niece, a mere 10 hours away by car, and it cost $25 to mail. It fit into a large manila envelope? Hello? Good that you have someone in the states to do that for you. My daughter sends stuff up to me, but it takes her forever to find the time to stop by the PO.

  5. Well I know the answer to your question! It's precisely the difference between Midwesterners and New Englanders! People in Iowa are wonderful. They'll bend over backward to help somone, however they can. In Iowa you'll never meet a stranger. However, as I myself have discovered since moving to Florida, where the majority of people have come from the east coast, people from Boston can be terribly unaccommodating. I learned this first-hand when... I was driving a rental golf cart in our new community. Still learning the ins and outs of driving a golf cart, I happened to put my purse into one of the cubbies in such a way that while going along the road, at about 18 mph (28k), my purse fell out onto the road. Checking first to see if anyone was directly behind me, I signaled and stopped on the road to bend over and pick up my purse. A golf cart came from nowhere, behind me, and the male driver began yelling, "What are you doing stopping in the middle of the road!? You need to pull over onto the grass!" I quickly replied that my purse had fallen out and I was picking it up, and he again yelled, " You need to pull off the road." As he went around me gesturing wildly, on the bumper of his golf cart I saw "Boston Celtics." His poor, obviously long-suffering wife, was patting him on the arm. You can guess how quickly I formed an opinion of Bostoners. I think it's just fine that you did the same, Di.

  6. That has to be the most ridiculous postal story I ever heard! It even beats me sending three paperback books to the USA for $35 postage as a giveaway on my blog. The winner could have bought the books for less! And the most annoying part was the package arrived - minus the books!

    Even my husband is sitting here shaking his head saying, "crazy!" hope your husband was really pleased.


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