Cross-border buying/packing/shipping service?
June 15, 2013 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I live in the Bay Area and often find myself wanting things, especially delicious location-specific foods, from stores in other cities that don't offer e-commerce and/or won't ship to me. (Example, example, example.) I want to pay someone --companies, individuals, I don't care-- to buy the things, pack them up, and ship them to me. This seems like it'd be a fairly common need/want, so someone must have set up a business offering it, right..?
posted by Susan PG to Shopping (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you use Task Rabbit?
posted by metahawk at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2013

I wonder if the issue is packaging them for shipping and for safe consumption once they get to you. Seems like chocolates could melt, bagels could get stale, and pot pies could just get very messy. I would guess that in order to have a delicious delivery, you would need to specify the packaging very carefully and probably use overnight delivery.
posted by elmay at 4:19 PM on June 15, 2013

I think the problem with such a business would be that it would very expensive on a per unit of product basis to process such orders. You would need to pick up the item from the vendor and take it to another location such as this company's own warehouse for packaging. So the pickup cost especially could be high if it's for a low value item in small quantity. Furthermore you need to make a profit on it, and if the number of products processed in a given day is small, then the profit on each one has to be high in order to cover fixed costs of running the business. If the volume were high that would be less of a factor but this kind of business doesn't seem that it would lend itself to high volume.
posted by Dansaman at 6:52 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah elmay and Dansaman, I think you're right. If it were easy and there was a high demand, the stores in question would already be offering it. And so what I'm talking about is a high-quality, highly-customized luxury service. For people who really really want those bagels :-)

That said, Taskrabbit I think *would* do it. The trouble is that Taskrabbit isn't yet international. Maybe I am out of luck until/unless they expand.
posted by Susan PG at 1:09 PM on June 16, 2013

Just put an ad on craigslist in the given city?
posted by paultopia at 10:00 PM on June 16, 2013

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