Shopping for the Best Online Shipping

Seniors with family and friends on the mainland know what high shipping costs can do to a budget. Hawai‘i small business owners hurt even more. They pay to ship in supplies and inventory, and high shipping costs prevent them from competing with big box stores and online retailers.
Supporting our local economy keeps our neighborhood stores open. But families and seniors on fixed incomes are forced to look for the lowest prices, so here are some tips when looking for the best shipping costs.

If you can’t find what you need locally, visit webstores that will ship via the United States Postal Service. USPS is our fairest, lowest cost shipper. Retailers who really want our Hawai‘i business may also offer UPS standard air, which runs a bit higher and takes at least as long to get here. However,  UPS also offers retailers an economy service that only ships to “48 contiguous states.” So, search for shipping options before your browse a site to avoid disappointment at checkout.

■ Rule No.1: “Free shipping” never applies to Hawai‘i. Even Prime charges a membership fee and then still adds a shipping premium to many “free shipping” items.
■ Avoid “UPS Ground” shipping to Hawai‘i. This means your goods will come via an expediter on a container ship that may take six weeks to arrive!
■ Don’t buy from online sites that require “special quotes for International shipping” after you have input your payment information. If you got there from an ad, send feedback to Google.
■ Don’t waste your time trying to buy pieces of furniture or other heavy items from mainland outlets. Shipping costs may run more than the item you want! By the way, most online furniture stores are owned by Wayfair, whose shipping policies are unfavorable for Hawai‘i. Buy new or used furniture locally. Buy locally when you can, be smart when buying online and when you get the chance, ask our state legislators and members of Congress to support the Post Office and prevent us from getting cut off from family, friends and business on the mainland.

Freelance Writing Services
Katherine Kama‘ema‘e Smith


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