Missing The Product You Found On Holiday? You May Not Need To Anymore



The world wide web has changed our lives in so many ways that it's odd to think back to a time when it wasn't so widespread. Twenty years ago it existed, and some people had it but most didn't. Ten years ago we had it, and most of us had broadband, but it was mostly in the home. Now, we have it whenever and wherever we want due to the advances in smart phones. It's good, but we can become dependent.

One way in which the broad sweep of technological advance has changed our world is that shopping has become easier. This is the case for every type of shopping. Looked in the fridge and realized that you need groceries? Order them for delivery tomorrow. Seen an outfit you must have? Grab your credit card and you'll be trying it on before you know it. Want a new kitchen? Design it online, and order it right away.

The internet has given shoppers a level of convenience we couldn't have imagined just a couple of decades ago. This is often trumpeted as its greatest advantage. However for many of us it's not just about how quickly and easily we can buy things. What the internet has done in a way nothing else before it could is bring new things within our reach.

Remember when friends and family used to go on holiday and come back with things that you couldn't get at home? Now there is pretty much nothing that that applies to. Those chocolates that you could only get in Paris? Buy them online. The lipstick you found in London, that you've used to exhaustion? Online. That eyeshadow that you found in one little store in Seoul and never saw again? To the laptop!


Image from Wikipedia

Of course, it wouldn't be real life if you didn't encounter a few tricky steps along the way. Just as a non-shopping example, almost every nation now has a live streaming TV service that allows you to watch TV on your computer. However, licensing reasons often mean that if you're in the US and want to watch Italian soaps, you can't. Not without using a virtual private network, and that's not ideal.

Similarly, you can get home from a holiday and immediately hit up the website of that store you spent a lot of time in while away. Gleefully, you fill your basket with all of the things you're now craving. You get to the checkout and realise with horror that they won't ship abroad. You can't face up to life without that item. You consider booking another quick trip back or moving to that city. Who doesn't? Shopping is important.

It happens, quite frequently. The bigger the business, the better the chances that they will ship internationally. But there is no guarantee - shipping isn't cheap and if you don't have an international department it can be inconvenient. Numerous eBay sellers have to turn down overseas business for this reason. Once you've accounted for fees and customs it may not be worth your while to sell.

Of course, while it is understandable, it doesn't help you in your current situation. Do you have to accept that there's no option on the table for getting the product shipped to you? No, although it may require some creative thinking. It'll be worth it, after all. It would be inhuman to expect you to live without that lipstick, that coffee, those shoes.

Make A Friend Who'll Do It For You


As long as it is legal and affordable to send the item you want through the post or courier mail, you can work out an arrangement with someone. If you've moved to another country and are missing a product you loved, then you should still have family and friends there. Some items they can send to you and others they can bring when they visit. Just don't expect them to foot shipping costs. That's unfair.


Image from Wikipedia

Yes, this method is dependent on having a friend on the ground in the country where your product is available. If it's somewhere you've holidayed, you may have made friends there or you may not. It's not advisable to trawl expat forums for people who you can ask to send you stuff. That's asking to be ripped off. But you can cultivate friendships online - unless they're playing a very long con you should be safe.

Offer To Cover Costs Yourself

While some businesses do not ship abroad as a rule, independent businesses do have the freedom to make their own rules. As long as what you are asking them to send is within the law, there's no harm in asking. One major reason that businesses do not ship abroad is the cost. Customs fees, freight cost for heavier items and various other reasons can make it prohibitive.


Wikipedia

If there is an item you really want and it is practical to ship it, but expensive, then there may be a way. You can consult with the retailer to see if they'll ship the product with you covering the cost. The worst they can do is say "No". Who knows, if everyone where you live likes what you've bought, demand may encourage the retailer to ship abroad as a rule. It's probably unlikely, but who knows with independent retailers?

Use A Reshipping Or Concierge Service


Because so many people want to shop abroad, it was inevitable that services would arise to facilitate this. It used to be the case that the only people who could afford to holiday abroad were the very rich. These were also the only people who could afford to import the things they absolutely had to have. The internet has created solutions for people who aren't that rich to do likewise.

The internet has made it possible for us to keep in touch with friends abroad or to follow a sports team in a land we've never visited. And if there is a way to make a business from something, somone will find that way. Shopping concierge services are a smart way to get the product you've been craving but have not been able to get shipped.

Say for example you've been missing the herbal tea that you drank every day while in the UK. You also remember fondly the little cosmetics store where you found some unknown gems at a price that made you scream. While you're thinking about it, there was a great wine that you tried in a little bistro and you miss that, too.




A concierge service will give you a street address; in the UK, see Skypax for details of how this works. They will then place your orders to be delivered to this address, consolidate them and send them on to you wherever you are. Of course, the cost will be dictated by where the items are being sent, but we have all known the pain of not being able to get something. You'll happily pay a little more for the luxuries.

In a way, the internet has made us spoiled. Let's face it, we used to have to wait so long for anything good and now it's all readily available. So when we find a challenge, naturally we will look for ways around it. The rise of globalization has made it possible for us to fall in love with a product, a show, a newspaper that we first found on holiday. And anyone who has had that experience knows how sense memory of those products can evoke a feeling.

There will probably always be products that won't be available to us unless we go to the source. Much of what you buy on holiday may be from a market stall, and those are hard to make fully multimedia. Having said that, it's good to know that options exist for those of us who feel lost without that favorite little store we discovered abroad. In the absence of the opportunity to visit it every so often, there is an outlet.

Some products may remain beyond your reach, it's fair to warn. Products that are prone to spoil in extremes of temperature can be difficult to ship; it is worth asking whoever is taking care of the shipping. Chances are if you really loved a certain cheese you found in France, you may have to go back to France to taste it at its best. And if you're asking a friend to send things on, it may be best to ensure they really know how to safely package an item for long shipping.

Travel is one of the finest gifts we have as a species. It allows us to go to far flung corners of the earth and fall in love with a new place, a new taste. It's just important to realise that sometimes, you'll have to be patient and deal with the separation. In that way it's like a holiday romance, but with one key difference. Your lipstick will never forget to reply to your emails.

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