Tag Archives: shop local

My $20 Trip Halfway Around the World

OK, so it wasn’t me that traveled from India to Canada, just my two canvas prints. If you have any doubts as to how interconnected our world is, and how critical global shipping, and thus the supply chain for almost every company, this trip is a great indicator.

Two weeks ago I talked about having to order two canvas prints online because I couldn’t get close in price attempting to shop local. Just scroll back a bit to find the story. Fast forward to last week when Fedex delivered the prints. I had purchased from CanvasChamp (Scarlet Prints LLP) previously, so I was familiar with their pricing, hit and miss customer service, the need to look online for coupons and discounts not found on their home page, and that their production is done in India with websites in the US, Canada, Australia and pretty much most countries making you think you are, in fact, buying sort-of local.

Since Fedex was late in their delivery, it was purely by chance that I tracked my order with them. That was worth it – and quite the eye opener!

Yes. You’re seeing seven stops covering half the world for my 4 kg (9 lb) 77x77x5 cm (31x31x2 inch) package: From their plant in Ahmedabad, GJ, India to Mumbai, India 524 km. Then 1934 km to the Fedex hub in Dubai, Arab Emirates and on to their main Europe hub (Somma Lombardo) in Italy – another 6083 km stop-over. From Italy, my well-traveled order went to their US Hub in Memphis 7894 km and then onto Richmond, BC, Canada (2508 km) for the last customs clearance before the 7th flight of 1156 km to Edmonton International Airport, and an old Dodge Caravan from there to my house.

A trip of more than 20,000 km (almost 12,500 miles) for an order that cost me just over $70 including shipping! The world really is a very small place and incredibly inter-connected and inter-dependent. In the case of this order, and the vast majority of what we purchased from Walmart, Amazon or any Dollar Store, it is necessary to get the prices we pay. The map for towels from Walmart or wrapping paper and food containers from the Dollar Store would be the same – it would just be containers, shipping routes and a lot of ocean maps!

When politicians and economists talk about doing away with this globalization, are they just telling us what they think we want to hear or are they serious? Because I haven’t heard anyone give us the heads up that it would mean a double or tripling of prices, and a Dollar Store that’ll have to be called the Five Dollar And-Up Store…

What to Do When “Shop Local” Doesn’t Work?

I am a big proponent of buying local – always have been. However, this past week it’s been nearly impossible. Yet, I still feel bad, in spite of the fact that there really wasn’t a choice.

For the past two weeks I’ve been waiting for any of the seven glass places to email me a quote for a custom-cut piece of glass shelving for my discontinued closet shelving colour (thanks for nothing, Ikea) None of them chose to respond, so I didn’t have a choice but to go back to Ikea.

Tuesday I had more luck…sort of: Needed a 16×20 inch mat with cut insert to re-frame a picture. Michaels (I believe) still outsources these to Toronto. But I found a local picture shop where the owner told me he’d have it done in an hour. It wasn’t a rush, and I was OK with paying $25. Quite an over-payment, but that was fine with me…sort of…

Last on my list was to replace a 30×30 inch canvas. I purchased the picture from Shutterstock (if you ever want to upgrade any pictures in your place, check them out!). Now needed the print on canvas and stretched onto the wooden frame. Seemed easy enough – besides, there’s a local company where the owner had done two large ones for me in the past. Well…not so much now: Three weeks today and no response to my e-mails. Pretty clear he’s not interested in the business. The downside is that I could only find one other place that’s local and has a canvas printer! No worries – I know the man and I’m sure that plan B will work.

The price quote was WHAT? Yes, they quoted an inch and a half larger for some unknown reason, but that amount didn’t seem right. Thus, I was forced to now go online to one of the two big canvas print suppliers. The one I’ve dealt with before has a dot ca website, making you think they’re in Canada. However, it’s an Australian company and the canvas prints are done in India (the sticker is on the back of each product). With a coupon for “buy one get 2nd free” I was able to order another custom canvas and the total amount was $78 total for both! That same order for two items would have been about $600 local vs. $78 offshore.

I don’t want to live in a world – or a city – where retailers don’t exist and we’re forced to deal with Walmart or Amazon – ever! But when nobody gets back to me, or the price is so off, is there a choice but to shop online or at a US (or Swedish) owned big box store? If so, I’d love to know….Sad but true…