web analytics

Is this happening in the States, too?

I ordered something from Amazon — a knapsack, to be specific. My shoulderbag gets heavier by the day and it’s making me list to port. As usual from Amazon, my order was dispatched within a day.

Then I waited and waited and waited and it didn’t show. So I check the order, got the tracking number and…if you haven’t figured it out, SFC stands for “Send From China.”

Increasingly, our goods from Amazon and eBay are being sent directly from China. Sometimes they tell you up front, sometimes they don’t (I think eBay always says where the goods are located). The economics of this are interesting.

Sometimes my only clue is the product seems unusually inexpensive for what it is. Even the postage is often cheap or free!

I’m conflicted about this. I don’t really like cutting out the middleman when the middleman is my neighbor. On the other hand, I don’t feel like handing him money for being my neighbor. The goods are coming from China anyway…what exactly is the benefit…?

So far, I’ve been happy with everything I’ve gotten directly in this way. Good quality stuff, cheap. No customer service issues. And it takes longer, but rarely more than a week longer than locally warehoused goods.

Does this happen where you are? How do you feel about it? Oh, and — good weekend!


Comment from Nina
Time: April 24, 2015, 10:07 pm

In these parts it says on Amazon if something ships from abroad, and my Etsy account requires me to include the ship from location too. I think eBay does the same, but this is not to say that we always pay attention.

Comment from Cripes Suzette
Time: April 24, 2015, 10:23 pm

I’m a big fan of the Amazon’s straight-from-China Beautiful Stylish Lady Girl Super Long Chiffon Scarf Wrap Shawl for $3.00 each. My only issue when learning they shipped from China is that I would have to wait a little longer to become a beautiful stylish lady girl.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: April 24, 2015, 11:13 pm

I’ve had this happen several times with my Amazon orders. The downside is that it takes a bit longer to get to me, but I generally don’t order stuff that I need tomorrow on line. I order stuff I think is neat, I think I can use, stuff I want….not stuff I NEED.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: April 24, 2015, 11:39 pm

International trade being what it is,
your neighbor who sells retail should have some of those things on his shelf. Your neighbor, who has some of those things to sell should have a deal with amazon for same day delivery. Your neighbor who has things to sell sitting on his shelf gathering dust needs to advertise more. You would pay a couple of dollars more for same day delivery. At least, I would, might, maybe, perhaps consider it, depending on how well I knew my neighbor.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: April 24, 2015, 11:55 pm

I tinker with electronics as a hobby and I’m always buying electronic widgets on eBay from China…shipping from China is always free…shipping from the US is always $15 to $20, oftentimes more expensive than the widget itself, so I avoid buying from the US (US Postal Service can finance their 8 billion dollar pension shortfall some other way).

Stuff takes 2 weeks to a month to get here from China though…it depends if they have a boat coming…sometimes it leaves from Hong Kong and is routed through Switzerland (??!)…it takes longer when that happens.

They had a crackdown recently where the Chinese gov’t was opening *everything* to check for pirated iPhones…stuff took a long time to get here that time.

Don’t order from China in October or during Chinese New Year…they are definitely off their game during those two times :+)

I bought a digital multimeter for a dollar once (free shipping too!)…it works great :+)

Comment from RushBabe
Time: April 25, 2015, 12:23 am

Re Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ game is to undercut everyone on everything Amazon sells until there is no more competition. Then, look out.

Comment from mojo
Time: April 25, 2015, 12:46 am

Yeah, I order electronic parts/cables/etc from Amazon, and they all come from China. They keep a local cache, though, I think, since most of it gets here pretty quickly. Other things take forever.

But cheap. Cheap is good, and I can wait.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 25, 2015, 2:21 am

I’ve used deal extreme before. They just ship & hope customs doesn’t inspect it. I mean, I guess that’s what they do. But a $25 RS232 adapter for $3 with free shipping seemed like a good deal. Dang thing even worked.

Comment from gromulin
Time: April 25, 2015, 3:49 am

Nope, I live off of Amazon Prime. I can order a case of SF Bay Keurig cups at 11PM on a Saturday, and have it on the porch by Monday. I’m almost to the point of buying anything that isn’t refrigerated or frozen from Amazon. We have very few choices here without going over the hill..a 2 hour round trip minimum.

Did you know that the SJW’s have it out for Amazon now? I casually mentioned my happiness with Prime to a receptionist in our Student Life office and got an earful of how the make their employees work in 110 degree warehouses, and make them wait in line AFTER they clock out to go through security.

She was talking about a new warehouse in the the Tracy area of the SF East bay that recently opened, and created a couple thousand steady jobs for folks more accustomed to supporting themselves from WIC and bathtub meth production. There are NO other large employers in that area. I’m quite sure they installed an HVAC system in that multi-million dollar distribution center.

Since I’m just an IT guy trying to improve the cell service for the Vice Provost in her area…I just had to smile, nod, and back away slowly…

I tell ya, Universities are like a distillery for ignorant arrogance in some strata of the environment. Student Life being one of those.

Comment from mojo
Time: April 25, 2015, 4:14 am

The robots require AC, so nice try, guys. Maybe they don’t have an approved brand of soda in the break rooms, huh?

Comment from Anonymous
Time: April 25, 2015, 7:05 am

I would only note that I bought an item through e-bay on 4 April. The seller shipped it from New Jersey by First Class Package on 7 April. It finally arrived in Florida on 20 April.

I previously had ordered another item through e-bay on 24 February. The seller shipped it from New York by First Class Package on 2 March. It finally arrived in Florida on 10 March. How does THAT compare to shipments from overseas???

There are many good people working for USPS. Unfortunately, there are also some “special” people employed there. If those “special” people get near your shipment, you are well and truly screwed. Unfortunately, there is NOTHING the good people in USPS can do about it. Unlike the fine people in “Law Enforcement”, who look the other way screaming “I SEE NOTHINK!!!” in their best imitation of Sergeant Schultz as their Brothers in Blue murder, rape, and rob Mere Citizens…

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 25, 2015, 10:28 am

Even before Amazon Prime came to these shores, a computer store here launched an ‘order by 11pm – get it the next day’ service. Obviously, that only works in small countries but work it does. A week or so back, I ordered an urgently needed hard drive caddy late on Sunday evening and had it in my furry paws the following morning.

I have mixed feelings about the ‘direct from China’ model. On the one hand, I hate to see jobs lost from the UK. Then again, I hate being ripped-off.

Before ‘China’ as we know it now became The Big Thing, the UK’s largest clothing chain, Marks & SPencer, had already begun having its men’s shirts made in places like Macao. Prior to that M&S had been quite strident in in its ‘made in Britain’ policy.

From my perspective, the quality went down but the price stayed about the same and that phenomenon seems to have been a harbinger of what was to follow. As product after product began to be made for pennies in China, we were still being expected to pay a ‘made in the West’ price.

Perhaps some of that money was filtered back to the company’s owners as dividend (as it should have been) but most, I suspect, fuelled the rocketing salaries of ludicrously overpaid corporate heads and the multiplying bullshit divisions (HR, marketing and the like) which have done so much to make our large companies even more useless and inefficient than they already were.

So, on the whole, providing the Chinese make good, safe, cheap products, I’m not convinced I should be paying a massive premium just so they can have HP, Sony or Levi on the label.

My biggest quibble is shared with QuasiModo – postal charges. As The Weasel has remarked here before, time was when I could send her a great big pile of books from the UK to the USA for a (fairly) reasonable price. That stopped years ago, so instead I had to pay to have her crated-up and shipped over here. Do you know what the charges for importing weasels are like?!

For a while, post from the US to here remained far cheaper than vice versa but now that has changed. You avoid anything on eBay shipped from the States as the postal charge will be outrageous.

The Chinese, being smarter than we are, don’t allow their post office to cripple the country’s export trade. Both the UK and USA should learn from that. I bet we don’t.

Comment from Stark Dickflüßig
Time: April 25, 2015, 12:10 pm

Do you know what the charges for importing weasels are like?!

Grilled? On a bun? With fried onions? I can’t imagine.

Comment from Bob
Time: April 25, 2015, 3:31 pm

Yes. I ordered a small part on Amazon from a company in California.
The part shipped from China and took two weeks to arrive.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: April 26, 2015, 2:34 am

USPS wasn’t always a rip-off, it just started happening all of a sudden. There was this awesome rechargeable battery place in California I used to buy from and it was only $5 to get it here, then it skyrocketed and it was $15 to $20. After that, I started buying my rechargables from China…the batteries weren’t as good but you could get a bunch just for the price of the shipping via USPS.

Canada Post is actually doing a pretty good job keeping up with the times…they got rid of the home delivery and we have to go out to banks of mailboxes at the end of our streets now, but there are oversized parcel compartments that they leave the key for in your mailbox when you get a parcel. Sometimes the Canada Post lady even brings it to our door!…we usually give her a tip at Christmas :+)

Comment from mojo
Time: April 26, 2015, 3:03 am

Pogues: The Band Played Waltzing Matilda


Comment from bds
Time: April 26, 2015, 4:39 am

I’ve never been surprised by a shipment from China. There’s usually a delivery estimate so if it’s a month out you know it’s not local.

I was surprised by an overseas shipment recently, though, when buying book for my wife (a big, expensive architecture book — a coffee table book that just needs legs to be the coffee table.). It was for her birthday, & I ordered it 3 weeks early, so I chose an option with free shipping.

When it still hadn’t arrived with just a few days left, I checked and found out it was actually coming from Ireland (I’m in the central US). That was a new one for me.

And it arrived the day after her birthday. Of course.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: April 26, 2015, 2:12 pm

I am an Amazon Prime member, and I am an addict.

There: I said it. Here in Dallas, Amazon is simply amazing. Everything Prime is two day delivery of course, but we can even get same day delivery, if we choose, for many items and we often get Sunday deliveries. For some Sunday deliveries, Amazon is using USPS vehicles and workers – which is startling- at least to me.

Amazon has also started grocery deliveries although I have not tried them yet.


Frankly, I find it much easier to buy things from Amazon and have them show up on the porch than to get in the car and slog around to the stores to see if they have what I want in stock, and at a good price. Returns are painless – even on the $250 coffee maker which seemed like a good idea but made terrible coffee very complexly.

As for Chinese direct shipment – yeah. I do that too for some things. I have have had pretty good luck on the small items I order. Cheaper than Chinese Chips, but delivery is …..slow. Still, postage is absurdly cheap or free, and the very same bits I’m buying would have been three times the price locally,if I’d slogged through enough shops to find them.

Finally, Amazon ain’t evil. Those warehouses? Think the ones for any other retailer are different? Ha! I know, as I was part of the management team at a 1.8 million square foot facility for a major retailer which employed 1200 people ….years ago.
Depending on local climate and the goods stores, facilities may or may not be climate controlled. 110 degrees? We would never work employees or subject merchandise to those temps. Still, the presumption that “no air conditioning is torture” is very 21st century young girl thinking. Ask her if she thinks the people working outdoors in the heat of the sun should have air conditioning. Another point that annoys me is the idea that mom and pop retailers were somehow better employers. Mom and Pop never paid very well, didn’t offer any benefits, and sure didn’t offer any advancement unless you married into the management chain. Finally, you can bet that if Pop could have gotten a good price on some Chinese crap he could turn a good profit on, the shelves would have been covered with it.

Now…more Sunday coffee.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 26, 2015, 3:28 pm

Yes, I’d be completely lost without Amazon. Most everything I buy comes from there. Haven’t talked myself into Prime yet, though I’ve tried.

Comment from OldFert
Time: April 26, 2015, 6:35 pm

Prime is worth it, at least for me (even though it went up to 99 bucks a year). With our son being Army and daughter being AF, we use it a lot for sending gifts direct worldwide including overseas through the APO system (if we don’t wimp out and send a gift card electronically via e-mail). We’ve used Prime Pantry a couple of times, but they don’t always have the brands we use (like household paper products). Those same products are still available in regular Amazon, though, and they still show up within two business days. Prime Pantry uses some nice, sturdy boxes. This last order was pretty heavy and (surprise to me) was delivered USPS. I knew USPS sometimes does “last mile” delivery for UPS and Fedex, so I checked the mailing label and it was 100 percent USPS, all the way. Considering how much it cost me to send stuff via US Postal Service, Amazon must get some pretty good shipping rates. Son and daughter-in-law “subscribed” for diapers when our grandson arrived a couple of years ago. The convenience is tremendous.
And no, I don’t get paid by Amazon.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 26, 2015, 7:43 pm

Agreed about Prime – it’s tempting. The downside (at least here in the UK) is that quite a lot of the things we seem to buy from them aren’t actually sold by Amazon, so don’t qualify.

The cloud storage alone could tempt me (Many, many gigs of pics that I’d feel much happier storing off-site).

Comment from Nina
Time: April 27, 2015, 12:29 am

I use Prime until it squeaks, and so do my kids and sister. It’s worth every penny of the $99 it costs, at least for me. Even my son in Norway uses it, who ships to me on my Prime, things which he either cannot get in Norway at all, or are more expensive there, even when including postage from the U.S. to Oslo.

I even use UK Prime to ship things to my daughter’s new husband, who lives in Yorkshire.

Comment from .
Time: April 27, 2015, 3:19 pm

A knapsack does posture good.
My neighbor lady who is in her mid-80s is a member of an informal all-fimmel clique of horse riders. They share vet bills plan, buy from the same hay monger, etc. The name of the club: Saddlebags.

No clue why I am posting this becaue sure as shootin’ they are not from China. Ancient Scots-Irish who knows. Flinty and mean but they have not trespassed yet.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: May 9, 2015, 11:29 pm

Y’all should get Prime. Heck, I’ll chip in 20 bucks. It is worth it just to be able to ignore absurd postage charges. The free music, videos,and storage is just gravy.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny