I think something might be amiss with the current idea of globalization

Posted on 08.10.2013


It involves sitting in a country that is not my own and trying to order something online. To be shipped to the current country. This happens often, as you might imagine, as half the time, the thing I want/need/require can’t be found for some reason wherever I am. This can be chalked up to a lack of demand, or often, just simple ‘I don’t know where to look and everywhere I HAVE looked doesn’t have it, or has cheap/crap versions of the thing’.

This has happened many times, but I want to talk about what happens most often, as that falls into one fo two categories.

Category 1: Billing address vs Shipping addressScreen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.33.10
This one is REALLY annoying, as it tends to happen AFTER I’ve typed in my billing address (USA) , payment card info (USA bank accounts) and the shipping address (rest of the world).

After ALL of that typing and tabbing, I get an error message stating that the gift I’d like to buy for so-and-so that should be shipped to so-and-so in X country can’t happen, since X country isn’t a match to my billing address country. Which means I get to go back and type everything again.

This is even MORE annoying when I could have just clicked the ‘pay with paypal’ button but didn’t because that would have meant it got shipped to my ‘home address’ (billing address), since now I know they won’t ship anywhere that is the USA, even though the damn company DOES ship internationally. Even with the use of paypal, this is not an issue I EVER have to deal with on Amazon .com, .co.uk, or .de, since you can choose wherever in the world to ship as long as the address is good.

If you ever want to send something to a friend in another country from Threadless, keep this in mind: it will only ship to the country your billing address is in, so go ahead and try to get yourself a bank account in every country now.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 10.33.59Category 2: Just not available where you are!
This is SUCH a ridiculous thing, but this is exactly how I learned. These hair clips/barrettes are the ONLY ones that hold my thick hair well. I know this because when I ran OUT of them/lost them all, I bought every other version under the sun while trying to find more and failing. These are really hard to find and I have no idea why, and their one-pronged bottom cousins are no match for my hair.

So I eventually went online in Germany to try to find them. I used every keyword I could think of, both in English and in German to search for them, right down to even learning the typical German words for them… and they just couldn’t be found. Well, that’s a correction: they most certainly could be found, just on a website in the USA. That’s awesome, except that site didn’t ship internationally. So for me to get them, I had to once again order them, and have them shipped to my ‘home address’ (my dad) and then have my dad mail them to me.

So my dad, the ex-mailman, is back to being MY mailman. And no offense to my dad, but the USPS is already obnoxiously slow (and overpriced) when it comes to overseas shipping. I might not get the thing I ordered for a few months by the time it gets to him and he gets to a post office.

For all of this talk about ‘globalization’ and international markets, it seems that very few countries (or businesses in countries) can grasp the idea of shipping something overseas. People on Etsy and Amazon understand, smaller European businesses and Black Milk in Australia seem to get it, but even border control can’t seem to grasp that an American and someone from another country are ‘together’, because how could that have happened? How in the hell did YOU TWO meet?

It’s really frustrating to have to buy my hair clips from America and have my dad ship them to me. It’s also frustrating for companies to not grasp that the internet means people all over the world can see their shop… so why don’t they work on learning how to mail their shit to us? I love that some of my friends will buy things or ship things to me, but I don’t want to be a burden and would gladly pay the international shipping fees. I can’t believe this is even an issue.