Because borders are a hindrance unless they're keeping out the Westboro Baptist Church.

Tell me the story of "The Beautiful Thing You Saw on American Website And Then Proceeded to Order and It Made it Not Worth It Because of Surprise Duties and Crap Shipping Charges"!

It's such a heartbreak. Do they ship to Canada? If so, how exorbitant are the fees? And then, are we going to get dinged by duties? Who knows! I have yet to decipher the will-they-or-won't-they code!

What is this nonsense?? I thought we had NAFTA*!


I have a few:

1) Really cute hair straightener from one of those deal sites - wagjag or dealfind or whatnot. The asshole company put the original value of the straightener on the packing slip, so when it came I had to pay duty on that price not the price I paid. The duty was more than I paid for the damn thing in the first place.


2) ThinkGeek. Everything from ThinkGeek. First, free shipping when you spend over a certain amount? DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH. I saw it once, right before Christmas. I had to spend something like 150 or 200 clams to get it. And I still had to pay duty. And they won't even ship me my lightsaber candle holders. I'll have to get an intermediary for that one.

3) Modcloth/eShakti. I'm afraid to order. First, shipping. Cross-border shipping is SUCH A BITCH. I get free shipping from Hong Kong when I buy from eBay, but major American retailers can't figure it out? Plus, duties. Always duties. Sister ordered a dress from eShakti. She had coupons and everything. Cost her a ridiculous amount. She's now sworn off them because it's not worth it.


4) Amazon. Fuck Amazon. All the gloriously cheap things Americans can get with their Amazon Prime? We see a tenth of the shit on (and we still don't have the Prime streaming services either. Screw you, Amazon). And if I feel lucky and order from If they ship to Canada, which they probably don't, DUTIES.

Not all of them are bad. Sephora and other companies use "borderfree" which calculate the duties ahead of time so they are not a surprise at the doorstep. I still don't want to pay them, though.

What are your cross-border horror stories?

*I don't actually know what NAFTA entails