International shipping BS

I’ve never eaten a Twinkie.
I don’t know what a “Ho Ho” is.

And Dong Dong is a hardware dealer I met in Batangas who offers a Buy Four, Get One Free deal on factory second (slight imperfections) Bulgarian AKs.

I was just about to chime in with some commentary about this unfortunate fact. It’s my sworn duty to eventually expose you to the beauteous wonder of Hostess Snack Cakes. Frozen Twinkies are simply the best thing ever.

Frozen Twinkies hit the spot on a hot summer day, but when the weather is cool, it’s best to go Scottish style, deep fried in batter. I guess it’s understandable that the raccoon isn’t familiar with the fine line of Hostess snacks…stuff this good never makes it into the dumpster.

I thought that was colloquially known as Obese Redneck State Fair Style.

Holy shit, I have seen but couldn’t bring myself to eat the deep-fried fucker. I think I appreciate where they’re going with it though. However, I have to say, the seasonal affectation of dietary preference has always boggled my mind. I eat ice cream in December. I drink hot coffee in July. If someone offers me an egg nog, it doesn’t have to be Xmas.

Anyway, I’m sure someone has deep-fried a fuckin’ Ho-Ho or two. Man, I could go for a Crumb Cake or 12 right now. Don’t get me started on the fuckin’ Diabetic Speedball of a blueberry Fruit Pie.

The thing that sucks is that while ebay implemented this BS global shipping program, Amazon USA just flat out refuses to ship almost 99% of their catalog to Taiwan or to international points in general. It is almost unusable outside of the USA

Ebay used to be great as many sellers were willing to ship internationally, but ebay sold them on the GSP program with simplicity and low risk, all you need to do as a seller is ship your shit to their USA location and Pitney Bowes takes all the risk if the shipping goes missing. So now as far as the sellers are concerned, there is no upside to selling directly to the customer. They dont care that you need to pay extra charges.

Then there are the ebay sellers that allow you to buy the item, then they come home and see someone in Taiwan has bought it and they cancel the order immediately and refund the money without even an apology. Ebay is a shitshow.


There are still some ebay sellers out there willing to ship directly to us folks in Taiwan.

Recently I asked if one of them could simply use air mail as that would minimize the chances of the package getting caught up in customs. I was told air mail is fine, but it’s got to be registered, because if the seller doesn’t do that, and then the buyer claims that the package didn’t arrive, the seller is caught out, with no payment or the original goods. This seems fair enough, even though for me registered service is useless when packages cross international boundaries.

And yes, as others have noted, ebay’s GSP program sucks.


Shipping from the US using USPS became really expensive a few years ago. Coupled with the ease of buyers ripping off sellers who don’t use online tracking and it’s easy to see where the global shipping program has a market.

I’ll say this for eBay’s GSP: while it’s awful for cheap hobby items, it’s pretty good for expensive stuff. Two examples:

  1. Asus laptop computer. With shipping, insurance, customs and duties (and this is an item that would indeed be charged import fees) it was still more than $7000 NT cheaper than buying it in Taiwan. And the shipment was entirely worry free as my second example shows…

  2. Set of Star Wars CCG cards ($220 plus about $50 shipping). Arrived partially damaged (this was the fault of Pitney Bowes adding a pack of BOLTS - yes, the metal things that hold other metal things together to the package). The GSP immediately ponied up all $270 for me, the buyer kept the money, and I kept the partial set (so a win for me in the end).

I am following up on this because I teach at a school here and there is a US nonprofit that gives us a “book prize” for our students. Basically they send 30 copies of a book and I give them to one of my classes. In the past, the book usually came from within Taiwan but they also did send a huge box from the US several years ago.

For the first time I’ve gotten the power of attorney/ID forms from DHL. Is there any way to know/guess what the tax rate is? Does anybody have an idea of whether there are any exceptions for non-profits and schools and what I would need to do to have that work? Can you guestimate the cost for $350 of books? Is it possible to deny delivery and what are the repercussions?

You can check this thread for some more info

I think many of us concluded that if it’s not delivered by DHL or UPS, you’ll get lucky and dont’ have to pay the tax.

There doesn’t seem to be an import duty on books, as far as I can tell. You will still need to pay 5% VAT based on the declared value including shipping costs. Thus it should be around $17.50 plus 5% of whatever they wrote for shipping costs.