Exorbitant shipping costs on Amazon

I love shopping on Amazon. It has most of the products and books that I have. My very traditional family would perhaps not approve but I do love the luxury of online shopping.

My issues are that:

  1. I am not eligible for an Amazon Gift card as am not based in the US or have a Social Security Number
  2. I am not eligible for Amazon Prime for the same reason.
  3. And again, not for the 2 day shipping option within the US.

On all accounts, my location is a big no-no. I have to pay a 23 $ shipping cost for an item that costs 5$. I am trying to purchase easy threading sewing needles for those visually challenged and this is what happened to me.

So I discovered the joys of ebay. Ebay has an option for Free International Shipping. For a time I used this option, till I discovered that the Free International Shipping reduces my choices. For example, I get a guaranteed product from the US or UK if I don’t click Free International Shipping but if I do click Free international shipping, then I get products from China and if I am lucky, Hong Kong. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not discriminating here but sometimes I just love the product advertised and want to have it but I am not willing to pay the very high International Shipping Costs.

The whole of last week, I was trying to get a book called the Step Diet : Counting Steps not calories. The book price at a book store in the US would be around $ 16 but with shipping and all I would have to pay $ 80 for this book. I ordered and cancelled this book at least 15 times over the past 6 days.

Till today, I searched for a a second hand online store for books and with free international shipping. Its called Better World Books. I have ordered 4 books. Three of them are Paddington Bear books. ( I love Paddington Bear). And all for $ 10. I now have a 21 day wait, which is ok, all considered.

Has anyone found the Amazon International Shipping costs high ?

The Help

On Thursday, our university had an International Writing Day celebration. Being the self-claimed writer that I want to be, I decided to go too.The free lunch was not an incentive, believe me.

Thursday morning was spent literally in pain, at my desk. My eyes were sore for some strange reason. Honestly the place I wanted to be was not here but in my bed.My body was yearning for some rest. The one hour event in the downstairs open air auditorium was a welcome relief.

The library had set up a temporary stall there with some books on “Writing” that they had picked out. I went to look too and found two books – one – Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark and the second, surprisingly, was not a book on writing but the old world type cover on the book was endearing, so I picked it up too. The book was titled ‘ The Help” and authored by Kathryn Stockett. The review at the back said, it starts where Margaret Mitchells’s Gone with the Wind” ended. That was temptation enough.

Sick and weary, I dragged myself home at 3 pm, an hour earlier than my official work time. And after my domestic chores, settled down to some book reading bliss. When I read, I am like Jo in Little Women. I hate disturbances and am so totally in the book that I find it difficult to come down to earth sometimes.

Friday and Saturday, saw me reading the book and finally I was done.

What can I say ?

After a long time,  I have read a book that really tells a story. A story where the story teller is not sick of the characters by the time the last few chapters of the book come through and he/she wants to end it all and the reader is left wondering what happened.

Well, this story is not like that. It is set in the 1960s, in semi-urban Jackson Mississippi. The story is narrated through the words of various housemaids and one housemaid sympathizer. I loved the pace of the story and the way the housemaids turned the tables on some of their mistresses. The sorrows, joys, prayers, trials, tribulations of the housemaids is portrayed so well, I could just have been there. There is a lot of reference to Ms. Hilly, in the book but if you ask me- is Ms. Hilly the heroine of the book ? I would say not- it would be Ms. Skeeter. And her assistants.

I would recommend this book and ask if you have recently read a book, which you really wanted to keep – in your library, so you could re-read ?

The Help would be my selection of one such book. What would you suggest ?