I used flower seeds once. The postman could"t see the seeds after a while because of the darn flowers blocking the view.
Last edited by Peter de Groot; 06-23-2012 at 04:59 PM. Click to view previous post history.
John, that is a very elegant solution! I mostly buy from overseas (why is all the good stuff in the US?) and apart from the very high postage costs the service is fast and efficient mostly. The exchange rate is good at the moment too, unlike a couple of years ago when the Aussie dollar was only buying around 80c US.
Like it or loathe it, the world is a marketplace more and more, and I buy most of my stuff online these days. Australia is relatively isolated for photo supplies so the online option is a life saver.
I'm in Australia, and have sold stuff here and on ebay. Around 80% of all gear I've sold goes outside of Australia.
It's no big deal, because I do the following
- have a few customs forms on hand, so they are filled in when I get to the post office
- ship everything WITH TRACKING, be it priority/EMS shipping or standard airmail
- if it's a expensive item add insurance - if this means I have to pay an extra $12 out of my pocket it's worth it for the peace of mind..
- communicate with the buyers, tell them when something is shipped, track it on line yourself and let the buyer know when it leaves the country, and above all - give the buyer realistic delivery times. If the post office says it taked 8-14 days I tell the buyer 14-20 days. If it turns up in under 20 days they are happy, and if its a couple of days late they don't worry as it's still near the "average" delivery time
- if it's an expensive item and they've paid for tracked airmail I'll often pay the extra and shi via EMS - this is trackable everywhere, adn gets delivered quicker too..
When I said I ship everywhere world wide it;s not quite the case. I don't ship to Italy unless it's EMS as otherwise it can take 2 months to get there, and I'd have to think twice about shipping to anywhere in Africa outside of South Africa, where I've shipped to without a problem..
I've not lost a item in over 200 shipments over 10 years. Lucky? Maybe?
I really dislike it when people won't ship OS because they "can't be bothered/it's too hard".
We're a global community, on the world wide web, so I figure we should deal with people world wide...
I forgot to mention that I also accept payment by paypal. Yes, hey charge a percentage of the sale in fees, but so do local banks in converting curreny from one countries to Australian dollars.. If it's going to cost too much then I'll add the cost to the sale price in my add/listing..
That long in Canada? Not that long, please. Anyway, it has never happened to me to have a parcel waiting 6 weeks in customs.
The package gets out of the country fast enough - but then it can sit in customs in Portugal (or Canada, for that matter) for 6 weeks.
Every parcel I have to get shipped, I have to go to the Post Office (Canada) and fill out a form.
I think it seems odd to us in England as we have to go to the Post Office regardless of where the parcel is going whereas I think in the US, domestic parcels are picked up from the sender's house.
Whenever I see a "post to US only" comment, it makes me want to sell something and add "I will ship to anywhere in the world except the US".
Also, I don't get the point with "CONUS", other than the shipping cost must be higher for foreign country (or remote US States) but this cost is afforded by the buyers...
Last edited by Photo-gear; 06-24-2012 at 07:19 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Whether waiting in a Post Office line is an issue in the US depends largely on where you live and when you're free to go to the Post Office. Most New Yorkers don't have cars, so if they don't happen to live or work near a quiet Post Office, it's not worth the time to find one in another neighborhood.
It is possible to handle USPS international shipping with customs forms and all via usps.com, but you still have to be available for the pickup, and you need to be able to weigh the package accurately, which not everyone can do. Anything over 13 oz. must be handed directly to a postal employee in person. I used to use online shipping until USPS regulations got much more complex and the cost depended on a combination of weight and the dimensions of the package, so you had to go to a post office to figure out the cost. If something fits in a flat-rate box, that's not a problem, but flat-rate shipping is usually more expensive than calculated shipping, unless you happen to be sending a small heavy object a great distance. What I do now is usually specify the flat-rate price, so I can use an automated postal machine, but those usually only handle domestic parcels, so international parcels have to go to the window anyway.
I generally won't buy anything I'd have to pay for with a money order, because I'd rather not wait in a NYC post office or bank line, if I can avoid it. Take my PayPal, check, or credit card, or no sale.
I once sold something to a purchaser in South America who paid by Western Union. Fortunately, I work near a 24-hour Western Union office and could go after work when the line was short, but in general, it's something I'd rather not deal with.
There are also international sellers/buyers who prefer to use wire transfers, which are not widely used for small transactions in the US, and bank fees are regulated by state, so the fee to receive or send an international wire transfer can be prohibitive for an otherwise inexpensive item (more if it isn't in USD), depending on the state.
On balance, considering the factors of cost, risk, and convenience, I come out in favor of international buying and selling, but I wouldn't deny that the factors are real.
Last edited by David A. Goldfarb; 06-24-2012 at 09:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Ultimately, it's a personal decision of the seller to whether assume the varying risk, convenience factor, and potential headache.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
If someone decides they don't want to ship internationally due to time waiting at post offices and other inconveniences, that's fair enough. I take issue with the people who state that because they once had a problem with an international sale they will not do it again. This seems to imply that that they think everyone from their own country is honest but the rest of the world is not.
I suspect that people who worry about the perceived risk of selling internationally believe that if something goes wrong domestically, they have some recourse, and if something goes wrong with an international sale, they have no way of recovering.
As I see it, if I'm selling and I have cash in hand, and the buyer accepts those terms, then I'm covered.
Likewise, if I'm buying an expensive item from abroad, I'm willing to pay extra for a higher standard of shipping to insure that the item arrives quickly and is traceable.
Maybe it's because my parents were in the jewelery business, so I know that things way more expensive than most photo items are shipped daily using the conventional postal system (Registered Mail usually) and carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc., and most everything arrives safely and is insured for when it doesn't. Diamonds, gemstones, rare watches, etc.--they go Registered Mail in little brown boxes sealed in paper tape (plastic is not acceptable) stamped across all the seams to provide evidence in the event of tampering, and they are recorded every step of the way, and the concept of registered mail dates to the 16th century, so it can be used pretty much any place in the world, even if they have handwritten ledgers. Good enough for the Hope Diamond, good enough for my Linhof widgets, I say.
If you are in Canada, accept PayPal, have a scale for shipping weights, and use Canada Post, there are some additional advantages that some are not aware of.
Originally Posted by Photo-gear
1st, it is really advantageous to send a PayPal invoice to the buyer. You will need to calculate the shipping (and handling, if any) cost ahead of time, and include it in the invoice.
2nd, when the buyer pays the Paypal invoice, Paypal will send an email that includes a link to Canada Post that gives you access to slightly (generally 10%) reduced shipping costs, and automates the process of paying the postage (from Paypal funds) and preparing the mailing label, which one prints on their own printer - I use adhesive labels.
You have a choice of shipping methods - some allow for post office pickup from you, while others permit dropping the package into a mail box - or you can take the parcel to any post office (including retail outlets).
It works quite well.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2