Category Archives: Mail Service and Shipping in Mexico

Shopping Online In Mexico

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Since today is Prime Day at Amazon, I thought I’d talk a little about ordering things online from Mexico. I haven’t been very adventurous ordering from many sites online because well, I’m concerned that my Capital One 360 account will be suspended for fraud. It’s happened. In fact, while I was traveling last month, I tried to pay for my son’s exam fee through UVEG online and that 56 pesos transaction triggered a total account shut down. I spent hours on the phone explaining that I was traveling and verifying who I was. Ironically, not one of my transactions in Philadelphia, Chicago or Mexico City airport was denied. 

Anyway, I use both Amazon and Amazon Mexico to order products. I find that Amazon has more selection than their Mexican counterpart and as long as I make sure that the item is eligible to be shipped to Mexico, I have few problems. Amazon calculates the import fees for me. If the import fees turn out to be less than what Amazon estimated, I get a refund on the difference. 

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I get free shipping options when I order from Amazon Mexico. Most orders more than $499 pesos have a free shipping option without needing to enroll in Amazon Prime. I really appreciate that option. It may take me a little longer to receive things, but I’m patient. 

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If you like to sign up for a 30-day Prime Trial membership–you can do that here and take advantage of the Prime Day offers. 

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I also like to shop at Zulily. I have the option to pay via Paypal there instead of my debit card, so I like that added security. Zulily has closeout items at great prices and ships to Mexico for $120 per order no matter how many packages the order is. And there is free shipping for orders more than $1500 pesos. I like to buy puzzles through Zulily. Again, I have to wait a bit because Zulily doesn’t ship items until the box is full, but I’m good with that.

Both Amazon and Zulily have been great when orders have been lost or items have been wrong. Amazon Mexico hasn’t been as helpful overall which is a shame really. 

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My most recent foray into the online market is EyeBuyDirect, a prescription glasses wholesaler. While we were in the U.S. we managed to get eye appointments. It turns out that my son needs his first pair of glasses and I need to make the transition to bifocals. I’ve never ordered glasses online before, but it was considerably cheaper than buying glasses at the eye doctor’s and they ship to Mexico albeit UPS so we could be waiting awhile. Paypal is a payment option at EyeBuyDirect as well. We are still waiting on our glasses, so I’ll let you know how they are once they arrive.

Do you shop online from Mexico? What sites do you recommend?

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The Internet Saga Part 3

That comment the satellite installation guy made about an antenna for the BlueComm modem put a bee in my bonnet. I checked the modem we had and most models came with those rabbit ear antennas–ours didn’t. They weren’t expensive, less than $20, so I thought I’d order some from Amazon.

Well, the company that sold them didn’t ship to Mexico. Ok, I’d have them shipped to my friend in the US and she could send them to us. It would be a small package, no big deal. Boy was I wrong!

She tried Fedex. She had added a few things to my care package, including makeup and a cloth quiver for my son’s arrows. She was told that anything manufactured in China cannot be sent to Mexico. Both the quiver and the antenna were manufactured in China. Then that personal items like makeup also could not be sent. She said she felt like I was in jail and unable to receive items. Sure enough, cosmetics are prohibited items along with Garbage Pail Kids Cards, you know those awful cards from the 80s with ugly drawings of children like Pikey Nose Marge. I was unable to find anything specific about imports from China being restricted although technically the antennas would fall under the electronic equipment category I expect.

My friend then tried the DHL office. This time she tried to send just the quiver and antenna, no other “personal effects.” Sure, they’d send it but it would cost $140 USD. Holy crap! (See DHL import guidelines)

The offical USPS site doesn’t list cosmetics or things made in China as prohibited, so that was her next attempt.  Success! The package with the antennas and quiver would cost $22 USD and be here in 4-6 weeks.  Well, of course, that doesn’t figure the gas shortage in large portions of Mexico. So I expect it will take longer. 

In the meantime, I’ve had to cancel my online classes. The unseasonable rains have affected both internet modems. I’m trying not to dwell on that lost income.

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Puzzled

Today I’d like to share a secret with you.  It’s nothing too dramatic, like where I buried the bodies or anything.  Yet it’s a surreptitious activity just the same.

My secret is I like doing jigsaw puzzles….something that I imagined only old ladies did. I like the piecing together of random bits.  I like the knowledge that every piece has its place, I just need to find it.  I like to watch the picture all come together.  It’s soul-satisfying.

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There have been some studies on the whole jigsaw puzzle phenomenon.  According to researchers at the University of Bath, there are two main types of puzzlers, the hoarders, and the opportunists.  Fortunately for me, I’m more of an opportunist, searching for a variety of ways to complete the puzzle.  It also helps to not be a hoarder when my husband and son sit down for an hour or so and try to “help” me.  Their plan of attack is often not the same as mine.  All those blue sky pieces I had piled to one side are scattered over the table before you can say Jack Robinson. When that happens, I consider it yet another opportunity to work on my zen.  Eventually, the men in the house become bored and move along.  Then I am free to pile the sky pieces in the corner once again.

Apparently doing jigsaw puzzles are good for you.  Most specifically, puzzles have been shown to be good for the development of problem-solving strategies, project management skills, self-management skills, visual skills, cognitive skills, character development skills, tactile skills, social skills and collaborative skills. (See 42 Thinking Skills You Can Learn From Doing Jigsaw Puzzles)  Additionally, because jigsaw puzzle completion requires the use of both sides of your brain, there is some evidence that this little hobby can lead to a longer and better quality of life, and reduce the chance of developing memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s in later years. (See Health Benefits Of Jigsaw Puzzles)

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Puzzling is a sort of meditation for me.  It reminds me that it takes time to see the big picture and that sometimes pieces I believe should fit, don’t.  It fosters patience and perseverance.  It also teaches me that I have limitations.  While I can do a 500 piece puzzle in short order, a 1500 piece puzzle takes some doing.  I recently saw a puzzle of the Sistine Chapel–5000 pieces.  I know enough to leave that one to the masters!

I suppose I should be proud of my hobby.  I mean, it has a long and noble past.  Invented in the 1760s as an educational device, puzzling for adults came into its own around 1900 gaining peak popularity during the Great Depression as an inexpensive alternative entertainment. (See History of Puzzles)  It remains an incredible off-grid pastime in our household at least.

I recently watched a lovely Argentinean movie called Rompecabezas (Puzzle). A 40-year-old housewife discovers her passion in assembling jigsaw puzzles.  After receiving negative feedback from her family, she decides to keep her hobby and subsequent puzzle championship a secret.  

Unlike the woman in the movie, my husband and son know when I am working on a puzzle.  I literally take over the back table.  My husband has been supportive in that he frames the completed puzzle for me. His thought was something that took so much time should be displayed, not dismantled again. My son also enjoys our new wall art.

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So how do I feed my vice?  Zulily and Amazon Mexico of course!  Zulily ships to Mexico for $120 pesos per order and Amazon Mexico, provided it comes from the Amazon warehouse, often has free shipping.  Now with my own shipping address (See A room of her own) obtaining puzzles is not so challenging as it once was. Life is good.

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Piano shopping

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My son has been after me for awhile about getting a piano.  As a piano is a major investment, I’d been putting him off.  Then, all of a sudden, my mom is getting rid of MY piano.  It’s an Opera piano made in 1893. It’s a gorgeous upright with a rich, melodious sound. Of course, it is in Pennsylvania and I haven’t played it in more than 20 years, but still.  According to The Antique Piano Shop, pianos made during the last decade of the 19th century (as my piano was) are “some of the finest craftsmanship and quality ever to be put into piano manufacturing.”  So it’s a pretty good piano.

Then, the very next day, there was an ad in the local paper about a piano for sale.  As we determined it would cost more to go and get MY piano than to purchase another one, we decided to go and check this one out.

 

The man who was selling the piano was obviously a music teacher.  The piano in question was a Kimball studio piano and he wanted 17,000 pesos for it.  I sat and played around on it for a bit.  It was ok.  It had been refinished.  The owner went on and on about the quality of the piano, that it came from a New York company and that it should be kept out of the light to protect the finish and sound.  Hmm–Kimball was never more than a mediocre piano, manufactured in Chicago, and I had NEVER heard anything about sound being affected by sunlight.  I said I would think about it and we left.

A few days later,  I sent my husband to ask if he would consider lowering the price.  I felt that maybe 14,000 pesos was a fair price.  My husband arrived and spoke with the owner who said he’d lower the price $500 pesos but then he wouldn’t tune the piano once it had been moved.  As my husband was leaving, he ran into another person who had come to see the piano.  This person said that he had purchased the piano but had returned it since it would not stay in tune.  This indicated to me that there was something wrong with the piano and I crossed it off the potential list.piano logo

So then I tried a google search.  Morelia is about an hour away and is a city with a bit of culture.  Certainly, there must be pianos for sale there.  I found a lovely website with pianos in my price range, however, messages and phone calls went unanswered.  So I went to the second in the list, Su Majestad El Piano (Your Majesty the Piano) a bit of a pretentious name, but I received an immediate response to my message.  They even have a page on Facebook.  I set up an appointment for that Friday and printed out driving directions.

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It was a straight shot to the local.  We arrived a little early and had time to enjoy some tacos de canasta (basket tacos) while we waited for the place to open.  We talked with Lulu the owner who suggested we go to the warehouse to see the options.  As we weren’t familiar with Morelia and it was raining cats and dogs, we all went in her mini-van.  

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It was an amazing experience.  First, we looked at the upright pianos much like MY piano in PA.  There was a whole room of them in various conditions.  Some were pristine, others looked like they needed some work.  We decided that an upright would just be too big for the little house in Sunflower Valley, so we headed out into the main warehouse.

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It was a veritable feast for the senses. We must have spent about an hour walking up and down and looking over these pieces of history.  Lulu saw we were appreciative and had the workers uncover her masterpieces.  

There was a Bradbury square piano from the 1850s, a leather wrapped Wurlitzer piano, The Sting Player Piano, a piano Lulu called a Scorpion Tail Grand Piano, but actually was a concert grand piano, French pianos, German pianos, pianos so old that I could imagine Mozart playing on them, player pianos, more uprights, more grand pianos, more spinets and studio pianos, even a pink piano. What an experience!

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I was drawn to an unpretentious Winter spinet that according to the Piano Blue book was built around 1910.  The inside had slight damage, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. The finish was scratched a bit, but nothing major.  My son approved.  My husband thought it would look good with my brown chairs (See Furnishings).  So a deal was struck.  I paid half down and the other half to be paid upon delivery.  Delivery charges would be $500 pesos.  The piano would be completely refinished and repaired.  I could order a bench for an additional $1000 pesos, however as I had already overspent my budget, that wasn’t gonna happen.  The piano would be tuned once it arrived, by one of Lulu’s sons, and I would receive a written copy of the 5-year guarantee.  

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We could hardly wait until Friday.  I told my son that he could stay home from school to receive the piano.  He was ecstatic.  Only the piano didn’t arrive.  After a few messages, I confirmed a delivery date for Saturday morning.  Then, before I knew it, we had a piano.  My son plopped his butt in a chair and off he went into the musical world.  Yes, it was out of my budget.  Yes, it’s a luxury item.  Yes, it cost more than my moto.  But, oh the sound of a piano!

Note:  All pianos pictured (except for MY piano and the Winter piano) are available from Su Majestad El Piano.

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