Our lad reaches the heady heights of nine years old in April. He’s a LEGO nut too. Since we’re such fine parents, we’ve raised him with an understanding of money that a lot of grabby kids don’t have, so it was nice but not surprising when he began to open negotiations over getting the LEGO Millennium Falcon for his birthday with the opening ploy of us clubbing together with both sets of grandparents, and aunties and uncles to muster the cash to buy the set he’s lusted after for ages (well in it’s various versions, the set currently available, the Force Awakens one, set 75105, has only been available since the Autumn). At £130, it’s still a lot, even split but since I love LEGO anyway, I decided to acquiesce to his request. I’m good like that.
The problems started as soon as I said yes:
Nowhere, including the official LEGO site, had the bloody thing in stock. This was particularly irritating as Argos (out of stock) had it in the 3 for 2 promotion before Christmas. A quick look on Brickpicker showed that it was out of stock across Europe.
I had the difficult decision at this point to wait and hope that it comes back in to stock over the next couple of months (which I’m sure it will. Probably.) or not take the risk and order it from the US.
Never fear! I thought, I’ve got an Amazon.com account, I’ll simply buy it from there. I’ve actually had my Amazon.com account longer than my Amazon account but haven’t used it in ages. It turns out they’re savvy to cross border buying and refuse to ship a lot of stuff to different regions, so as soon as I popped in a UK postal address, that was the end of that.
I then turned to Gosend, one of these shipping agents that take delivery of your goods and forward them on, set up for situations just like this one. I’d set up a basic account but never used it so I thought I’d give that a go. Success! The forwarding address was accepted, so I placed the order. It came out at £97, so I figured that the shipping and import duties should put me around the £130 UK RRP.
Turns out I was wrong in that respect. The best price for shipping that a basic Gosend account offered was about $70 (I forget the exact amount but it was a LOT). It got better if you paid for membership, $50 for a year and the shipping dropped to $30, so I did that. At the bottom it kindly reminded me that I’d probably have to pay around $44 in import duty and VAT, which brings the whole thing to $254, or about £170 including the Gosend membership, or £137 excluding the membership. I could have bought it for £170 from an eBay scalper but I’m telling myself that at least I’ve got a years membership of Gosend. Given that I’ve had my eye on a Pebble Time, and they’re a direct £/$ conversion at 1:1, that might be a good saving, and there’s always other stuff that might pop up over the course of a year…
And yes, before you ask I am an indulgent parent. I’m sure that plenty of you would have said tough tits to your soon to be 9 year old. The problem is that it isn’t that simple when you’ve got a kid on “the spectrum”. Everything is black and white and dealing with a yes that has to become a no can often be extraordinarily difficult, not just for him but for the rest of us too. So for me, it’s irritating but at over 3,500 miles from the depot in Delaware, it sure gives the Kessel Run a run for it’s money…