I had a rather interesting and disconcerting experience today, as a small business owner. I make natural bath & body products and I wholesale and retail them on the internet. I’ve been in business for nearly 13 years and occasionally I get international orders from shop owners and individuals in various locations around the globe. I have in the past primarily shipped to my overseas clients via the USPS. But today I learned that I may not be able to ship all of my products through the USPS any more for international orders.
Which leads me to ask… Why does the Bush administration not want small businesses to export? We can import all manner of crap from China and elsewhere, but a small business owner can’t ship a gallon of body lotion to Singapore? There is something so wrong with this picture.
Yesterday, I shipped a package to a new client in Singapore. The most economical way to ship to the client was via USPS International Priority Mail. Today the package was returned to me with a hand written notation on the box that the package exceeded the allowed volume of liquid to be shipped internationally.
Why??? Something to do with terrorism and national security was the best answer I could get from USPS’s Consumer Affairs Dept. I had to fight with them to refund my money ($62.50) and they wanted to keep my merchandise if they refunded the shipping. No dice I told the postal clerk.
It’s no small wonder small businesses are struggling to stay afloat these days. Arcane rules like not allowing a business to ship products to international clients in a economical manner, and thus creating a good business relationship with clients, are hurting small businesses.
I guarantee however that businesses in China, who contact me constantly to buy their chemical laden products, would have no problems shipping me a gallon of lotion.
It is cost prohibitive for small businesses to ship internationally via the major carriers (USP, FEDEX & DHL). With rules prohibiting shipping liquids like lotions overseas via USPS, I have no doubt that others in my industry will be forced to make the decision to stop shipping overseas.
The cost to ship the same 10 lb. package via DHL is nearly triple the cost via USPS and 3 times the value of product. It just isn’t viable for some businesses to do business internationally. Sad but true. Thank the Bush administration.