Happy 4th of July to my American readers, happy Monday to all my other readers. Here in the US, every holiday has its big sales. Thus, of course there are sales also Independence Day. You find these promo codes for 25% off on everything every site wide. For instance, at Karina Dresses, where I often buy my dresses, the 25% off Karina promo code is USAMADE.
Rain is good for online shopping
It rained all weekend. I barely succeeded in mowing the 24/7 growing lawn that loves the water. We already have tons of mushrooms. Normally, they start growing at the end of July here in the Interior. That’s about the time the rain season sets in.
Given the rain I went shopping online and came across a thing that is also very typical for Alaska, but many non-Alaskans don’t know about, unless they had lived for a while in Alaska. I thought that you may find this interesting, weird, and may be even funny, ridiculous or hilarious.
Free shipping only for the Lower 48s
Many stores only ship for free in the Lower 48s. Tweet this. While Karina Dresses actually has free shipping in the USA for purchases over $150, many stores only offer free shipping in the contiguous USA.
Many Alaskans consider such exceptions in shipping policies as discrimination with respect to the place they have chosen to live at. Well, in the case of military and National Guard, they even haven’t chosen the place, they got assigned.
Sellers often charge Alaskans and Hawaiians higher shipping rates….
Shipping policies can become even more upsetting. Some online vendors charge Alaskans and Hawaiians First Class Mail rates! They don’t offer the cheap, but slow Standard Mail that buyers in the Lower 48s can choose.
…. or sellers don’t ship to the Last Frontier at all
But that is not the end of it. It becomes even more absurd when Alaskans or Hawaiians want to buy on eBay. On eBay, some sellers ship worldwide, but not to Alaska and Hawaii! Tweet this. Isn’t that odd? That makes me wonder, where the heck the 49th and 50th state of the US are located. On the Moon? 😉
Shipping home when Alaskans buy on vacation
You probably have been in the situation that you saw something awesome when on vacation. And yes, you bought that item as they offered you to ship it to your home address (at your cost, of course, which you were ok with).
My real Alaska shipping story
I once was in a store in Boulder, Colorado to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research known as NCAR. I was interested in buying something heavy and way too big to take in the cabin as carry-on baggage. I asked whether they would ship it to my home address. “Of course, we do that. Where do you want it to be shipped?” the salesperson responded and pulled a notebook to write down the address. “Fairbanks, Alaska” I said while putting the credit card on the counter so she could write down my name and I wouldn’t have to spell it. I was about to continue with my zip code and street when I saw her face changing from friendly to serious and determined. “No, we only ship within the US” the salesperson answered. “Alaska is the 49th state” I replied. “No, we don’t ship to Alaska and Hawaii!” she insisted. “But I can pack it for you for shipping, and you can ship it yourself. The post office is just two blogs. I can explain you how to get there.” “Thank you for offering me to pack it and to explain the way to the post office, but I know where the post office is. I lived here in 2001.” I replied friendly with a smile, took my credit card, and put it back into my wallet. She looked at me as if she had seen a ghost or hit by a bus. “Thanks, for saving me money. You just convinced me that I don’t want to buy it. It’s not about you, but your boss who set that policy. Have a nice day.” I said with a smile and left.
Alaska is not a funny-shaped island close to Hawaii
When you look at the weather maps in major US newspapers, Alaska is always that frigid, funny-shaped small island off to Hawaii. I wonder whether this odd print inlay is the cause that many people can’t put Alaska on a map.
Alaskans spend a lot of money on shipping
There is only one department store in Fairbanks.The only men’s clothes easy to find are outdoor clothes. Thus, I buy nearly all clothes for my husband at Orvis, i.e. he picks them out of their catalog and I order the items of his choice online. They offer free shipping when the purchase is over $150. When it is less, I can choose standard shipping, which I always do. When tracking the package, the package seemingly gets stuck at the border. It leaves a facility in Washington state, and you won’t see an updated location for about 3-5 days. That’s when the package crossed the border to Canada and is shipped up the Alcan. Then it shows up as arrived in Anchorage or Fairbanks. A day later, it arrives.
Alaskans know that shipping takes time
Alaskans know that it takes time to get up to the Top of the World. However, even when we order something online, there are situations where we don’t mind waiting. We take the time into consideration when we buy that wedding dress, summer dress, or whatever online.
There is not much going on anyhow except for the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, the Iron Dog Race, the midnight sun run, the Equinox Marathon, the Summer Arts Festival, the Golden Days, Shakespeare theater, cabaret, International Friendship Day, Fiddler Festival, Eskimo Olympics, Tanana Valley Fair, Chinese New Year, Diwali, symphony concerts, chamber orchestra concerts, countless outdoor concerts in summer, bands playing at roadhouses and bars in winter, skiing, cross-country skiing, ski joring, ice hockey, dog mushing, baseball games, lawns growing 24/7 in June, July and August, berry picking, fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, camping in the great outdoors, boating, canoeing, wild-water kayaking, gold-washing, playing soccer, ballroom dancing, belly-dancing, Hawaiian and Polynesian dancing, contra-dancing, swing dancing, ice-climbing, mountain climbing, swimming, gyms, quilting, martial arts, … We won’t get bored while waiting. 😉
The USPS rates are the same nationwide
The USPS rates are the same nationwide. So why do we have to pay more to have the merchandise delivered? We don’t expect the items to arrive in 1 or 2 days anyhow! Why do so many vendors want us Alaskans to have the items in that same fast time as the items get to their customers in the Lower 48s? Why can’t we choose to pay less and just wait?
Shipping gets even worse with health insurance companies
Many health insurance companies charge you less co-pay when you do mail-ordering of your medication and refills. They do permit you to order a refill a week in advance. Sounds great, right? It’s not!
It takes the mail-order pharmacy some time to pack and send the order. The order then is sent the cheapest way per request of the insurance. That means to get your refill in time you would have to be allowed to order 14 days ahead so you won’t run out.
However, even when there weren’t this time problem, there is also another issue. In Alaska, people live somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The USPS puts the mail, i.e. your incoming medicine, in the mail box at the major road, which can be several miles away from your house or dry cabin. No, it will not get stolen! Don’t worry about that! The medicine will just freeze in at least seven months of the year. Many medicine, however, should not be in temperatures below 40F (5oC) or above 70F (21.1oC). Do you see a problem here?
Thus, Alaskans not only have to pay more for shipping when buying online, but also have a high co-charge on medication as they can’t use mail-order. Tweet about this.
Do they believe Alaska is on the Moon?
In the first NASA Moon landing mission, it took the astronauts about four days to the Moon after launching from the Earth surface. That’s about the average time, a ground shipped package spends on the Alcan when travelling from the Lower 48s to Alaska. Travel to the Moon (and Alaska) take time, and yes, shipping to the Moon is very expensive. The Apollo 11 mission costed the US tax payers $355 million. 😉
Tweet about shipping to Alaska and the Moon.
What do you think about these shipping policies? Is it fair not to offer the choice? Would you stop buying from those vendors? Let me know by email, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved