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Open Letter to Online Retailers

To whomever it does concern:

I think I am speaking on behalf of the many (potential) customers who live in the United States. We don't live in some place accessible only by dogsled or courier dolphins. We live in areas that receive mail via the U.S. Postal service on each and every delivery day. I'm talking about residents of Alaska and Hawaii.

I question why I (and others) must pay the most outrageous shipping and handling costs whenever we order things from your sites. What's your reason for this? Does it cost more for packaging that must endure the alien airspace over Alaska and Hawaii? Do the folks "handling" those products bound for our areas have to wear special clothes during the shipping and handling process?

If you think I am just complaining to complain, I promise you that I am not. For examples of what I face in shipping costs when ordering from your site (and others), I have examples.

Amazon's Standard shipping to L48 compared to same for Alaska & Hawaii:

Ex: $3.99 for L48
and $7.99 for U2

And good old just blows their whole "free shipping" lure when it comes to Alaska & Hawaii... (That may be a good thing, because, otherwise, I'd shop them out of business!)


Is it just me, or do they seem almost gleeful about it?

I've already had my rant about Miss Jessie's shipping charges. Miss Trudy is like Amy Winehouse on this: "I say no, no, no..."


I understand that we are not "connected" to the Lower 48 states. What I don't understand is why when I mail a letter to someone in those lower states, who are not connected to us, I pay the same amount of postage in the form of a stamp. Wonder why the Postal Service doesn't add another dollar or two to stamps sold to us?

Maybe I am being unfair. Perhaps it is more expensive for you guys to ship things to those of us living in the Upper 2. Perhaps, but I doubt that it's as expensive as what we must assume from your shipping charges.

I was taught by my parents not to complain about something unless I had at least an idea for a possible solution. Here is my proposal to you guys:

When shipping to Alaska - and let's use the bottle of face cream I once ordered from you - how about you calculate what the cheap little bubble-wrap mailer cost you. (I'm pretty sure you get a discount on those since you must order them in bulk. I can get about 25 of them at Costco - way up here in Alaska-land - for around  $28 - and that's without a business account.) After you figure in the cost of the mailer, maybe you could use a postage-meter to weight the package to come up with a price for postage. Go ahead an tack on a your 'handling' charge (the same as you charge for 'handling' mail to the Lower 48 folk), then mail the dang thing to me. I don't think that would come to the prices I have been expected to pay in this instance, or another. What rule says that you guys just have to use the most expensive shipping service? You can't find ways to be more accommodating to the people who really do want to buy your products?

I bet if I get my hands on your product without having to take out a small loan, my satisfaction (or lack of) will be based solely on that product. Who knows, I might even try out your other products. I might even tell my friends why they should try them out. Just imagine.

What if you don't want to alter your shipping methods to accomodate your potential customers in the other 2 states (722,718 in Alaska; 1.4 million in Hawaii), which I will call the "Upper 2"!

Hmm... I have another idea:

I don't know if you realize it or not, but we actually have stores here - Target and Walmart and Walgreen - just like in the L-48. We even have roads and houses with actual doors and windows. (I know, it's hard to take it all in, huh?)

I've seen (some of ) your products in these stores (I'm really talking to you, Miss Jessie's), so I think you have a relationship with them already. If you don't want to ship to individuals like me (who could generate a lot of word-of-mouth business for you), you might consider supplying your retail connections with samples and trial sizes.

Think of the possibilities. You could reach a whole other market of people by extending just a little bit of consideration to the 700,00 + people living in Alaska. Most of us have the same needs and shopping impulses of humans from 'round where you might live. We like eating and bathing and doing cool things to our hair - like putting puddings and creams in it. We love to eat, drink and be merry. I bet you we can out-merry the rest of the nation when we start celebrating the end of winter when we come out of hibernation.

I'm not the only person who wonders about the seeming unfairness of shipping and handling charges when it comes to customers with Alaskan address. There was talk a long while back on ebay here. Like those in that discussion and ones on (ugh!) Facebook, I just don't get why you guys don't use USPS over the other (higher-priced) shipping services.

These are just some of my thoughts. I know you don't care about me as a person, but I bet you a Sea Galley's certificate that you care about the money you could make off my fellow residents. I can almost hear the calculators working as I finish typing this.

#theupper2 of the U.S.

P.S.: While chatting today with another Alaskan, she informed me of what she was told regarding Walmart's not doing a ship-to-store service here: apparently the reason is that the store doesn't have a warehouse here. She was told by someone that one is being built and that it will service the entire region of Alaska. Hopefully, then we will be able to use Walmart online and request items there for store pick-up.


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