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Re: amano bashing (not really, but related...)

Dwight, thanks for the laugh!

Ayh! Indeed!

"Ok, PRICES! THat has a LOT to do w/ currency exchange!  The same reason
Americans go broke on vacation in Japan.  This has'nt changed despite the
Asian economic-downturn.  Who knows, next time Amano may well open a
manufacturing outfit in a Mexican free trade zone and ship the stuff over
the same way the auto makers do it."

Actually, that is one of the things that I suggested (at least I think that
I suggested something along those lines - give an American a license to
produce the stuff in North America using locally sourced materials...)

Turning around 180 degrees (only geographically), I recently started buying
Dupla products for my own use from Dupla UK (they _won't_ sell to anyone
with a U.S. address, but a Canadian one is fine). At first, the prices I was
being quoted seemed _wonderful_, much cheaper than I had previously been
able to buy the stuff for at retail here in Toronto, when it was available
years ago.

The initial flush faded a little when I was quoted a cost for shipping -
transatlantic airmail is expensive when the item is dirt (laterite). The
stuff cost as much to ship as it did to buy.

And then there is the cost of converting Canadian dollars into British
Pounds Sterling and having my bank (a diddly little Credit Union) wire the
money to Dupla's bank in England. That took them a couple of tries to get
right, and a $25.00 charge to me for the service.

Delivery took forever, because Dupla Germany supplies Dupla UK when and as
they see fit, and half of my initial order was out of stock for over a
month. There was nothing I could do - they already had my money! And to be
fair to Dupla UK, they were at the mercy of Dupla Germany.

When the products finally _did_ arrive, all was well and I secretly patted
myself on the back for thwarting the pesky supply issue. And at relatively
cheap prices as well, exchange rates and shipping costs be damned!

Then, the other day, out of the blue, a little envelope arrived with the
morning's mail - it was from a Customs Clearance house. Have to pay HMIROC
(Her Majesty in Right of Canada) 20% Import Duty, 7% GST (Goods & Services
Tax) and 8% PST (Provincial Sales Tax). I think that they could probably
hear me cursing in Buckingham Palace! And, having worked for HMIROC for
years, I know that this is one bill which _can't_ be ignored <g>. Oh yea,
the Customs Clearance house wants a "cut" for their services as well.

Any "saving" I might have _thought_ I had quickly evaporated. But I'll get
over the bite to my wallet, eventually - and I've got enough Duplarit G
tucked away in the back of my closet to turn my whole apartment into a
planted tank! (Hey, that's a thought - a miniature Amazon, 22 floors in the
air...maybe I could sell the story to the Discovery Channel to cover some of
my costs....)

I have a whole new respect for little companies which import products for
sale in North America. It might get easier with experience, but its probably
never a piece of cake.

James Purchase