Purchasing from outside the USA
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ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
Purchasing from outside the USA on 09/20/2007 06:02:11 MDT Print View

Some of us non-Americans here have probably experienced the benefits of shopping in the USA. Better choice of manufacturers, product range, wider range of sizes, colours and options etc and when American companies have a sale, the discounting at times is huge !

And of course buying via the internet makes it so much easier when back in your motherland.

Except . . . when you come across a retailer who for whatever reason just cannot handle a customer from outside the USA. I've hit some 'virtual walls' when trying to purchase a product and either the software used by the retailer or their reluctance to deal with someone outside of the USA means they don't get the sale and I don't get the product.

Sometimes they have no price structure for international mail or when I fill in the 'Billing Address' section with a non-USA address the process stops there. Campsaver (or their software) took my money for a purchase, baulked at it for whatever reason and refunded the money. I've had to give up on trying to deal with them. One company (Botach I think) baulked but I was so determined to get the product (Suunto Vector on sale) that I had to make an international direct deposit into their bank account first.

I'm not wanting to pick on companies but it would be great if they can get their act together and set up to deal with us non Americans. Some companies do of course but I've had enough bad experiences that when I go to the 'shopping cart' the fear of failure sets in !

On company I want to PRAISE HIGHLY is Bucks County Outfitters whose software for making purchases is for whatever reason the BEST I've ever had the pleasure to use. I wouldn't know if it is the best or why, but I loved it, actually it was so quick and easy that they had my money quicker then I felt comfortable about ! ! ! Wonderful.

Maybe they don't sell everything BPLers need or want but if they do have what you want and there's a sale on, I highly recommend them.

Edited by ianwright on 09/20/2007 06:05:07 MDT.

Miguel Marcos
(miguelmarcos) - F

Locale: Middle Iberia
Few exceptions on 09/20/2007 07:44:16 MDT Print View

I live in Spain. I agree with some of what you say, but I think the majority of places are willing to work something out.

I think many of the smaller outfits or those that don't sell much direct (as opposed to selling through other retailers) have no standard procedure for foreign orders since it probably doesn't happen often. They may think it's just too complex. Who knows?

Harald Loeffel
(hikingharry) - F

Locale: Tyrol - Austria
Few exceptions on 09/20/2007 08:28:37 MDT Print View

I live in Austria, and until recently I had no problem to place an order via the internet. But mostly I bought gear from the small 'cottage' gear makers, or DVDs.

But now I wanted to order a PCT-DVD from campmor.com, and was very astonished not being able to order from overseas, so yes, a kind of virtual wall. Maybe these companies do not want to deal with international mail, complicate warranties and so on.

I hope this will change eventually.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Thoughts on 09/20/2007 09:16:30 MDT Print View

Sometimes there are restrictions on what can be shipped out of the States, but for the most part it is either a fear of stolen credit cards being used or laziness (the not wanting to have to go mail the package directly).

International shipping can be a small pain (at my previous job I was the "lucky" one who did all the foreign orders...and I would save them up for once a week.)

With my small business, I have never turned a foreign order down, and often eat some of the S&H. I understand how it blows to not be able to have access to items you'd like! I also know it is a big whoop-e-doo to fill out a customs form and take it to the post office.

But, I can imagine that for a big company like Campsaver, etc....the amount of foreign orders that would come in would probably entail one employee just doing those orders-and they'd have to be hand filled and handled. Depending on shipping systems, they might not use the post office often (since most places use FedEx and UPS) and they just might not have a postal shipping system in place. I know with my old job, we originally had to take all foreign orders to the post office, we had no way of shipping them from the warehouse!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Some More Thoughts on 09/20/2007 09:49:15 MDT Print View

The rest of the world has a GDP three times bigger than US GDP -- and the gap widens every year!

I can understand a few cottage gear makers choosing not to export -- because they hardly have enough production/servicing capacity to satisfy the home market -- and they wish to remain small and "manageable". That's fine.

But it boggles my mind why so many larger companies refuse to export. I think the reasons are twofold -- and they both reinforce each other:

1. Social - Many Americans just don't think beyond their own borders. A big majority never travel outside, and consequently, don't know much about the outside, don't think they can handle it, and don't want to bother. What little they know (or think they know) are from the media, which slants hard to the negative. You can see this even on Ebay. Most American Ebayers won't ship overseas -- for fear of scams.

2. Structural - As Sarah points out, it takes more effort. Considering that most capital cities are just one plane ride away, there's no reason why international shipping should be so much more expensive than domestic! But alas, all we've got are the PO and a few big players (DHL, FedEx, UPS). Not exactly competitive. In the past, for small players, you've also got the issue with different currencies -- although this is mitigated (although expensively) by PayPal and the like.

World trade is a key to economic growth. And yet, in our country, it seems like only big corporations are involved in exporting -- and the thousands and thousands of small and medium size businesses can't be bothered. That's too bad because trade doesn't stand still. Companies that don't export are unlikely to be competitive in the world markets -- and yet, battle-hardened foreign companies are continually eating away at our domestic market!

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Some More Thoughts on 09/20/2007 11:12:07 MDT Print View

>Many Americans just don't think beyond their own borders.

In Canada, at least, we have a series of regulatory bodies that certify products. Getting your product certified takes salaries, time, and you are charged a fee. For those retailers who are even aware of us, we're a wee country of 30 million so maybe it's just not worth the investment for some companies. (This is why we don't have and can't get Jetboils, for instance.)

Regarding Americans who think that the world begins and ends in the USA, we experience this living in Canada. You can *see* the US border from Vancouver, and yet in many cases I might as well be in istanbul.

I hate to bring up the subject of the 11% of 18-24-year-old Americans who can't find America on a map, but it my experience Americentrism runs rampant down there. 29% can't find the Pacific Ocean, and 15% *can* find Iraq despite having allowed their gov't to spend 0.5 trillion dollars on it. Given those numbers, do you think the average retailer can even imagine what would be involved in exporting a product to a foreign country? There is certification, customs brokerage, international payment methods, and of course the threat of scams. If you still haven't tapped your home market of 300 million relatively moneyed people who speak your language, why bother messing around with what you call "foreigners?" I guess.

I rode a bus from Seattle to Vancouver once, sitting next to a pretty American girl who was *moving* to Manitoba. Imagine her surprise when I explained to her that we have different money in Canada! She then started a string of other questions: do we have Christmas, do we have a President, and is it colder in Manitoba than in Northern California where she was coming from.

!!!

Secretly, though, many Canadians don't mind this situation. If more people down south looked outside of their borders, they'd realize that we have all the same hiking, fishing, and hunting -- except that it's more remote, more pristine and unspoiled, with 1%-10% of the usage in many cases. And without the fees/regulation/park rangers/having to poo in a bag and carry it with you.

Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone please :-)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
So... on 09/20/2007 11:14:37 MDT Print View

who is Canada's head of state?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
State on 09/20/2007 11:19:57 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/04/2013 12:21:11 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Question on 09/20/2007 11:22:19 MDT Print View

still stands. Who is the head of state of Canada?

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Canada's head of state on 09/20/2007 11:37:43 MDT Print View

The Governor General. She's the Queen's "vice regal", appointed to "rule" Canada. She's also purely ceremonial, and can only be appointed with the consent of all of the provincial legislatures, or something like that.

Just like in England, our actual head of state is our Prime Minister. He (or she) is elected in a complicated fashion and serves an unlimited number of terms of up to 4 years each.

And yes, I know that most Canadians would have to think pretty hard to remember this -- despite the fact that we all learned it in school.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Canadian Politics on 09/20/2007 11:58:38 MDT Print View

My understanding is that Canada is a monarchy, and its "head of state" is Queen Elizabeth -- as queen of Canada. Her representative to Canada is the Governer General. As with the UK, the executive -- from the Queen down to her governors -- have all shrivelled to nothing more than ceremonious.

Again, like the UK, Canada's "head of government" is the prime minister -- which is really "just" the head of the legislature (House of Commons). But with the executive shrivelled to basically nothing, it is the legislature that both legislates and executes.

Interesting that here in the States, which rebelled not so much against the shrivelled crown but against the "tyranny of the British parliament" (it was parliament that kept trying to raise our taxes) -- we ended up with a powerful executive that is checked -- but never overwhelmed -- by the legislature.

Edited by ben2world on 09/20/2007 12:08:15 MDT.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Canadian Politics on 09/20/2007 12:17:23 MDT Print View

>we ended up with a powerful executive that is checked -- but never overwhelmed -- by the legislature

"Checked?" Umm, not for the last couple of years. Unless that's a ceremonial thing too? ;-)

/end political discussion

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
..back to the topic... on 09/20/2007 12:29:47 MDT Print View

I live in Canada and have routinely ordered from the states with no problems. I've never dealt with Campmor, so I can't comment, but I have dealt with SMD/Nunatak/BPL/Backcountry/Northern Lites/tarptent...and many others. There wasn't even a mention of a problem with my location...The main problem I find is that shipping within the continental US is usually free/dirt cheap....and as soon as you put Canada as a destination, the shipping price skyrockets.
ie. I just ordered a few things from BPL and shipping was $26 US...when I got my 9oz bag from Nunatak, shipping was $35 US...then I pay the fees when it gets to the border.
Now, I tend to pay a bit more to get things faster, but I get a little bothered when I get the package and actual shipping costs were half that (e-bay sellers get me all the time!)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Strong Executive on 09/20/2007 12:31:59 MDT Print View

Brian, I think main reason why the executive is so strong under Bush is because he successfully used "fear" and "patriotism" to line up the American people behind him (70% supported the war). When most folks are ignorant about the outside world -- except for what they see on CNN and their president telling them that "it's a dangerous world" -- we end up with this "circle the wagons" mentality and an almost grostesque whooping up of patriotism.

Legislators, being the politicians that they are, read the tea leaves and few dared to stand up to Bush. Even the judicial was uncommonly deferential. In a democracy, the people deserve the government they have.

Still, the other two branches still served to moderate the executive, even in the heat of passion. I dare say that laws like the "Patriot Act" -- and travesties like Guantanamo and secret CIA "shuttling servuces" -- would have been even more pervasive and dangerous if the Executive was truly unchecked.

Edited by ben2world on 09/20/2007 12:59:18 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Purchasing from outside the USA on 09/20/2007 12:52:15 MDT Print View

To make this post somewhat useful (other than my droning's about trade and politics) -- if any of you 'foreigners' want to buy gear from the US but can't get your retailer to ship -- I'll be happy to buy and ship for you.

I prefer Paypal payments. I'll charge you for actual cost and shipping -- plus 4% on top to defray Paypal's fees. Shipping will depend on your preferred method. My understanding is that you have a better chance escaping your country's customs tax if items are shipped by US post office -- versus DHL or FedEx. On the other hand, I cannot -- and will not -- be responsible for the safe arrival (or non-arrival) of anything once they are out of my hands. I have done this for a few members on this forum without problems.

Please limit your items to reasonable size, weight and quantity -- for your or your family's use only (i.e. a small tent, a sleeping bag, a jacket or two, or some socks are OK, but I am not shipping a bike or a canoe).

Hope this helps.

Edited by ben2world on 10/31/2007 10:15:16 MDT.

Harald Loeffel
(hikingharry) - F

Locale: Tyrol - Austria
Big smile on 09/20/2007 13:55:46 MDT Print View

Ben,

thank you for your offer, *big smile*
PM sent.

Harald

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Big smile on 09/20/2007 15:17:51 MDT Print View

PM response sent. You are welcome. :)

ian wright
(ianwright) - F

Locale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
overseas purchasing on 09/20/2007 16:08:12 MDT Print View

www. = world wide web
that's WORLD wide web !

Any company with a website needs to accept that the whole world is looking at them.

I have managed to get everything I've wanted but when just one company has a certain product on sale at a bargain price, that's when it's a pain not to be able to deal with them.

I have spent enough time in the USA to realise what a wonderful country it is and I can easily understand why some Americans either cannot or don't bother with th eoutside world. America pretty much has it all. Some of us non-Americans want in on it !

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Was thinking of my map on 09/20/2007 16:51:10 MDT Print View

I keep track of every country I have shipped to :-) Dorky fun! I have shipped to Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, England, Norway, Mexico and a whole bunch more :-)
I see no reason to make a profit off of shipping either. I charge what it costs me, or as I said, many times I just eat it. (Australia/NZ is about the priciest places to ship to!)

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
American Computer Programmers/ Web Designers on 09/20/2007 19:00:13 MDT Print View

In order to have a website deal effectively with foreign customers, one needs to find a programmer or web site designer who can work with international currencies and understands how to access international shipping rates.

Oh, an American programmer / web designer who understands foreign stuff...... what an absurdity!!

Presumably, if one can buy canned software that accomplishes the task without requiring the programmer / web designer to lean the details, then you have a better chance to get this done.

These technical types limit what business can do by themselves not wanting to gain the knowledge needed to do it.

Oh, then there are American businessmen to contend with.

I used to associate with a lot of computer programming types, and while they are often intelligent, they often are unworldly.