Sunday, December 21, 2014

The 50th State

A few weeks ago, BuzzFeed posted a "story" about how employees in their London office were given maps of the US and were asked to fill in the 50 states.  The results were shared, and they are quite funny.  These are just a few.  
I can't say I'm surprised.  Most from this country can't name all 50 of them either...especially those rectangles and squares in the middle.  The map they were given was a bit confusing too as both Alaska and Hawaii were moved from their actual location to where Mexico would be.  A few of the Londoners still located the 49th and 50th state, some mixed them up, and others left them alone altogether.  

While Hawaii and Alaska are not attached to the rest of the country, they ARE still part of the US.  While I'm not sure what the rest of the world is taught about our geography, how specific they go beyond locating the country, I am almost certain that the high powered executives that run companies like Staples, Amazon, Costco, and Home Depot DO know that Hawaii and Alaska are part of the United States.  So why is it that they either refuse to ship there or charge more to do so?

With the holidays right around the corner, I've been making my shopping list and checking it twice.  Since I'll be spending Christmas in Hawaii this year, it is much easier to order gifts (what I can) and just have them sent right to Hawaii than buy them here and try to lug them over in my luggage.  Plus, the tax in Hawaii is only like 4% compared to our 10%.  That's the beauty of online shopping, right?  Well, wrong, a lot of the time when shipping to Hawaii (and Alaska).  

After shopping around for the electronics on my list, I found that Staples had the best deal on the price and free shipping.  However, after entering all of my shipping information the order stopped with a "We don't ship to Hawaii" message.  Most everything else I needed I was able to order on Amazon.  I had just recently signed up for a free month of Amazon Prime, which offers free 2-day shipping and is amazing when I'm having things delivered here  - sometimes it only takes a day and it's even been delivered on SUNDAY!  Anyhow, after having all my items in the cart, ready to pay, I got to the shipping screen....a few of the items were not available 2 day, but were guaranteed 5 day, a few more were not guaranteed any time, and they wanted to charge me $5 to send a gift card for Kindle books to Hawaii - the exact same gift card that came in an envelope through the regular mail was going to be free sent to my house but $5 to send to Hawaii.  When I send mail to Hawaii it still costs me $0.49 to mail an envelope so where in the world did they come up with $5?!?!?

That's the thing about all of these weird shipping practices.  When using the US Postal Service, the costs don't change because it's Hawaii.  Their priority shipping is based on weight and zip code.  Shipping to Boston will cost the same as shipping to Kona - it's the same distance.  And envelopes are sent with the cost of a stamp - regardless of where it's going.  And Hawaii IS part of the United States.  Of course UPS and FedEx are going to be different, but still.

After all was said and done, Apple shipped the electronics I needed on Thursday, and the package arrived yesterday...for free!  I ended up shipping the gift card to my house for free as that is easy to pack and had the remaining items sent to my mom's place, still taking advantage of the free (albeit slower) shipping.  Fingers crossed everything arrives by the 25th!


  1. Now you know what's like for me buying anything on the net. I even signed up for the free month of Prime membership but it doesn't provide a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. No films no books no quick delivery/free delivery.

    Anywoo's, off to Hawaii for Christmas. Bon voyage. When are you off. Must be today or tomorrow since the 25th is Thursday.

    1. Had a decko at Kona on the goomap.

      There's something sorta odd about it. And there are some really see-ee-ree-ous houses on Keolani SBD. And you just have to laugh at a fish market called Bite Me up at Honokohua.
      Is the only way to the Observatory on Mauna Loa up the Mamalahoa (how the holy do they keep that country club fairways green). Or can you get up directly ?.

      Oh, London wouldn't be representative. The education wouldn't be noted for it's excellence. And for certain the general UK student would do far better than that on average.
      I would say like the average Irish student, or even European student, as well as the UK ones would get most of the States. And certainly with a map. The ones that'd miss would be RI and Delaware, maybe Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming.

    2. Yes! You've mentioned the shipping issue before. It's just an odd thing to have issues with it when we're the SAME country!!! :). I noticed it's a problem for a lot of people. They even have their own facebook page about companies that do and don't ship to Hawaii. It is so silly for it to be that way anywhere...the big companies make enough profit to just make it happen.
      Yes, only one way to the observatory. It's quite a trek too. They make you stop at various points up in order to get you acclimated to the elevation. And this time of year they even get snow! The Big Island has something like 4 out of the 5 major climate zones in the world. I've not been to the fish market you mention but Honokohau, that's where all the boats come in and out and we'll go there to see the honu (sea turtles). It's like most of the other islands where you've got the locals who live in shacks to mid-level housing. And then the Haoles who've brought their money over and built up the island much to the locals' chagrin.

  2. You are in on Hawaii ?.


    1. Yes! I'm here! Went whale watching yesterday and you'll never believe it...while on the way I pulled my camera out to get it ready and it DIDN'T WORK!!!! Yep my new freaking camera is broken. It turns off when the lens attaches. It will only turn back on after removing the lens and pulling the battery out and putting it back in. It spent the day at the local camera store to no avail. :(. Im gonna have to send it in to canon. At least it's still under warranty, but I'm disappointed.

    2. Ah dammit.
      I assume he switched out the battery to one he had in the shop.
      It sounds like the battery is saying it's charged but is dying under the pull from the Image stabilization (ir)motor and the focus motor in the lense. On the cameras without a motor, you are more or less plugging in the lense to the camera battery. You remember the old battery memory thing.
      It probably won't make a darn difference if you switch off the AF and the IS Image stabilization on the lense.
      Beyond that I've nothing. And camera shops are idiots usually. Google a camera club there's on in Kona. Those guys usually are far better connected. I don't know though, your Mom might have issues with some of them in the club, she will if she's anything like mine.

  3. Check that the battery is LP-E8. It might be something real stupid like they shipped the wrong one.

    1. Yah they tried everything we could think of. So frustrating!

  4. Yeah, the shipping issue makes NO sense and it's pretty wrong if you ask me.