If you watch television news for too long, you would come to the conclusion that we live in a marvellous new global economy. Full of wondrous and simply magnificent borderless trade and opportunities for all. The internet also gives us this feeling of borderless communication, and above all. Shopping!
Don’t you just love wandering the virtual aisles of online stores and finding treasures beyond belief. Sports memorabilia from Tibet. Ice picks at a very cheap price from Morocco. Purified air in a sealed glass jar from Mexico City. Real kangaroo leather wallets from Mumbai. Spices and cooking utensils from Sydney. And of course there are book, books, books and CDs, and DVDs and of course Viagra. Couldn’t miss that in the list.
So, click, click, click and your order has been validated and you receive a friendly email with a reference number and a thank you for shopping at Charlie Wong’s Online Super-Mega Store. Great! Now just a short wait for my genuine imitation ivory multi-use toe nail clipper with free instructions. Maybe a little longer for my Famous Footballers of Tibet limited edition and autographed teak framed print. But I can wait.
Or then there is the mundane. Ordering my own books from my publisher.
For some crazy reason, the news bulletins didn’t really tell the whole story. Oh yes. You can send stuff all over the world and participate in the marvellous new shiny global economy. But no one has told the postman!
Every single damn time I participate in this free trade borderless global economy, the postman puts a stopper on my shopping fun.
It starts with a small notice in my letterbox. Either: 1) We need further information. 2) We need a copy of your original invoice. 3) These goods are subject to import duties. Please pay one squillion bucks to get your goods. 4) Goods from certain countries are subject to quarantine. This may cause a delay in deliver. 5) We were unable to deliver due to incomplete documentation. Please call at the Post Office between 7:55 and 8.00 tomorrow.
Now I could get upset with the postman, but it’s not his fault. It’s TAX!! Every country in the world still controls their little red lines on the map to ensure you pay the appropriate rate of sales tax, value added tax or just plain ugly tax. And the poor postman is the one who gets to do their dirty work.
Well, I’m off to the Post Office tomorrow between 7:55 and 8.00 to collect and PAY for my own books. Can’t wait to hear what hoops I’l have to go through for delivery of my Famous Footballers of Tibet limited edition and autographed teak framed print.