Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Free shipping...

with an order over $200 is our way of thanking you for placing a large order with us. I know that sounds like we're patting ourselves on the back but the idea of free shipping is a new concept for us. It's not that it doesn't cost us more to ship orders over $200. (In fact, we can't figure out how companies can offer free shipping on smaller amounts, especially when they're shipping boxes the size of our kites as opposed to books or CD's.) It's our guess that they just aren't tracking their shipping charges because if they were they'd realize that the cost of shipping a parcel has changed dramatically over the last ten years. We ship most of our packages UPS but seriously considered switching to the U.S. Postal Service or FedEx this year. However, it didn't take long to realize that the UPS rates were competitive if not identical to the USPS and FedEx charges. So there was no way around it, we had to change all of our shipping rates for the first time since 2001 to reflect this across-the-board increase. It's not our intention to make a profit on shipping charges; we just want to break even. Unfortunately, we've been paying more for shipping than we've been taking in...especially in 2008. The charges for air shipments get REALLY crazy but that's the reality. (Think of it as a plane ticket for your kite.) And while there is a variable fuel surcharge that changes weekly and gets added to the base rate for every package, the other UPS charges are fixed; for residential deliveries (+$2.05 for most of our orders), delivery area surcharge (+$2.40 for many of our packages), oversized or dimensional box sizes (around $10 now and then), and additional handling (+$8 a few of our shipments). When you read all that, it sounds like we're getting "nickel and dimed" by the shipping charges but I think it's closer to "dollar and quartered." In any case, we tried to soften the harsh shipping blow by passing on free shipping with orders over $200. Take that UPS.

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