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Overseas Shipping: The Rant

For the past several years, I've been doing what I could never do as a kid—namely collecting BIONICLE sets, collectibles, pieces and merchandise online.

 

I recently came to a very grim realization that had somehow been eluding me since mid 2011. Shipping overseas (in my case from the US to Bulgaria) without tracking is absolutely unreliable. I went ahead and made an extensive revision of every online purchase I've made from the US since mid 2011 and arrived at the following numbers:

  • 5 US eBay purchases (without tracking) – 5 arrived (4 BIONICLE-related)
  • 6 US BrickLink purchases (without tracking) – 1 arrived (6 BIONICLE-related)
  • 3 US BZP trades/purchases (without tracking) – 2 arrived (3 BIONICLE-related)
  • 1 other US purchase (without tracking) – 1 arrived (0 BIONICLE-related)

Which means that out of 15 shipped packages (that I paid for; obviously) only 9 (60%) have arrived. That is absolutely maddening. For every 3 purchases that have arrived to me, 2 have gone missing. Those numbers are insane. I mean look at BrickLink, for goodness' sake—1 out of 6 arrived. Are you kidding me???

 

I've had packages go missing from other countries as well, but nowhere near as often as from the US. Packages from Germany have occasionally arrived damaged, but almost always arrive without the need for tracking. That goes for almost all of Europe.

 

Now I was almost certain the problem was with Bulgarian Post (a government-owned establishment) and their sloppy service; I'm willing to bet the majority of the packages that never arrived to me are in fact in my own country; although the numbers make me consider whether USPS is doing a good job too or is partly responsible for this gross unreliability.

 

I hate to rant, but this simply isn't fair. Literally the cheapest delivery service in the civilized world should, by default, guarantee that your package will in fact arrive. It doesn't matter how long it takes. Arrival should be a given, not a privilege. When we pay for merchandise and pay to have it shipped, we pay for it to arrive, not just to depart. If I were paying for the latter, I could just as easily have the seller toss it out their window and then keep my fingers crossed it arrives somehow.

 

Not to mention the obvious loss of time, money and valuable merchandise. I don't know about you guys, but even in the very rare cases where I'd gotten a refund, I've still felt extremely cheated, because the items I've (apparently gambled on and) lost have usually been the only ones for sale at the time. For a lost package to hypothetically be compensated, you would need a full refund and the easy opportunity to buy the same item for the same amount from elsewhere. If those circumstances are present, you can get over the time you've lost, but it's never really just the time you lose. You usually lose the time, the money and the ability to obtain the item again. That is literally criminal.

 

Bottom line is, whenever I want to buy something from overseas, I have to choose between either paying a reasonable amount of money for shipping or being guaranteed that my package will in fact arrive. Having both is apparently too much to ask for in the 21st century.

 

To wrap my rant up, I'll just go ahead and post a list of all the items I've lost in the aforementioned purchases (all of which are coincidentally LEGO-related items):

  • 1 Toa Mata US promotional mini CD
  • 1 Interactive Demo CD
  • 1 Throwbots 2000 Fusion poster
  • 7 different marbled silver Rhotuka spinners
  • 1 glow-in-the-dark opaque Rhotuka spinner
  • 1 dark bluish gray Rhotuka spinner
  • 1 pearl light gray Toa Mata head
  • 9 Kanohi polybags in 3 different colors
  • 1 Kanohi & Krana polybag

RIP in the huge magical pile of "lost" packages I guess.

 

BCJ out.

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But just think!  In post offices around the world there could be an untold treasure trove of lost Bionicle parts that are just waiting to be found!

 

If that doesn't make you want to become a mailman... then probably nothing will.  I imagine it's a pretty dull job, to be honest.

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Update, turns out the final package I was waiting on arrived after all, so the Kanohi and Krana polybags are off the list. They were "inspected" at customs, so some of the polybags are bent. Obviously.

 

*sigh*

 

I guess that makes the odds slightly better. But anything less than a 90% success rate is a complete cheat, to be honest.

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I will say that, from personal experience, USPS is not on my good list either. I've had at least one package physically handed to me ripped open and empty, which likely means it was lost or stolen by someone working at one of the distribution centers.

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Update, turns out the final package I was waiting on arrived after all, so the Kanohi and Krana polybags are off the list. They were "inspected" at customs, so some of the polybags are bent. Obviously.

 

*sigh*

 

I guess that makes the odds slightly better. But anything less than a 90% success rate is a complete cheat, to be honest.

"Hey Frank, they're all just made outta plastic!"

 

"Aw gee, for a second there I thought someone was actually shipping magical artefacts of untold power. Better wreck the package anyway just to be safe."

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