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Thread: Won't ship to Alaska!

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    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Won't ship to Alaska!

    Just tried to make an order for about $475 from "thegunandgearstore.com" on the phone 320-253-4868[not the internet] and was told they don't ship to Alaska!
    POed to say the least! Please don't use this outfit.
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    Don't know whether this will help or not, but I had the same problem with Cabela's some years back with an order for canoe outriggers . . Cabela's would not ship to Alaska.

    I used Google to find the manufacturer, and dealt directly with them . . they had no problem shipping to Alaska.

    More than one way to skin a cat . .



  3. #3
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Good idea Marcus, but I don't think a company as big as Bushmaster would care one way or the other.
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

  4. #4

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    Every dollar spent is a vote, so sometimes searching for the lowest price is false economy. I've run into this several times, always a way to work around it, but we're all better off not doing business with such companies. Really, it's their loss rather than yours.

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    You do know that you can order any non-FFL required product directly from Bushmaster?
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  6. #6

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    It might be a problem with shipping some flammable/explosive product (gunpowder/ammo? camp stove fuel?) by air. I tried ordering some bug-collecting supplies that included a flammable chemical to sedate insects, and couldn't get it... even "UPS ground" goes by air and the company got in trouble some years ago for trying to send it that way, so they won't ship it to AK anymore. You might try contacting them and figuring out if some particular product is the problem.
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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Because shipping has been one aspect of my job for years, I do NOT understand why companies don't get with the times. USPS is super easy to use these days- and cheap. UPS and FedEx both come to Alaska's metro areas, albeit for more money than down south. Still, if we're willing to pay the difference, they should be willing to ship it.

    I use Amazon for many things because with the exception of very heavy items they ship to Alaska, and often for free if you use the Super Saver option.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    My 3rd career was as a purchasing agent... and I run into all sorts of problems getting the items we wanted/needed shipped to AK.. Many vendors don't ship to a PO Box... which I've never totally understood... other vendors will only ship FedEx or UPS to a physical address... and the primary reason for this is because they have CONTRACTS with UPS or FedEx and maybe DHL, for all their shipping... (This was Cabela's problem for a few years) FedEx or UPS comes into a company like ... Sears... draws up a contract, "We can save you big $$$ by taking care of all your shipping... (yah sure)... What a lot of the companies don't understand is how much money (business) they loose because they don't ship USPS to places like Alaska... and then you run into the totally ignorant vendors... their customer service people don't realize Alaska is actually a State of the same Union that they belong to... (I sometimes wonder if statehood was really a smart move on our part)... Often times I buy something from a vendor in the L48, have it sent to one of my kids home address (in the L48) and then pay them to forward it to me via USPS....

  9. #9
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I ordered some fishing jig paint a few years ago and found out that one of my usual places to buy tackle making supplies would not send the paint part of my order to me. Found another company online and they said my order would take a few extra weeks because they could not send it by air and it would take awhile by boat to get it here if I still wanted that part of my order. Same price for the product I just had to wait a few extra weeks. I had ordered in winter to make some summer jigs so had plenty of time to wait. It sometimes really pays to shop around. And it was nice that they took the time to notify me and ask if I would still like the ordered placed.
    The other company just didn't want to go the extra mile and now I shop less with them and more with the other company.

    Another incident I had was ordering from a company that had advertised on their website free shipping to the "Continental" US.
    I called to confirm this before placing my order and found out they wanted to charge me more because I lived in AK.
    I told the gal she must have failed 6th grade geography class. She said "what was that" I told her either her or her boss must have failed 6th grade geography because last I checked AK was still part of this continent and still attached to North America.
    I then asked her if they intended to mean "Contiguous" US and if so she must have failed 6th grade geography because she or her boss had mixed up continental with contigous. Either that or they failed english and didn't know the difference between those two words. Anyway she eventually got mad at me and I hung up and looked elsewhere to place my order. I ended up paying for the shipping with another company.Apparently some companies don't like their flaws pointed out over the phone.
    I like it when companies are very clear about their AK shipping policy. Even if I don't like the policy at least I haven't had to go through the entire order process just to find out what the deal is. Spell it out plain as day for us please.
    I placed an order yesterday from a MN company and it was spelled out clearly that AK was an extra five dollars added for shipping. I knew that right off the bat as it was clearly stated on their website.
    I often wonder though how Amazon can send pounds of books and such to me for free yet other companies have Alaska Surcharges or high shipping to begin with even on small items. Amazon might ship to me from their Kentucky shipping center for free but Cabelas wants extra money to ship from Nebraska.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I often wonder though how Amazon can send pounds of books and such to me for free yet other companies have Alaska Surcharges or high shipping to begin with even on small items. Amazon might ship to me from their Kentucky shipping center for free but Cabelas wants extra money to ship from Nebraska.
    Basically, the reason is that Amazon uses a different business model than other retailers. Cabela's and most other retailers focus on profitability, so they need to cover their shipping costs. Although Amazon is now profitable, it still focuses on operating cash flows. In other words, it cares more about growing the business than about whether any particular transaction is profitable. In a throwback to the late 90's dot-com boom, it's still maximizing volume at the expense of margins.

  11. #11
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    Basically, the reason is that Amazon uses a different business model than other retailers. Cabela's and most other retailers focus on profitability, so they need to cover their shipping costs. Although Amazon is now profitable, it still focuses on operating cash flows. In other words, it cares more about growing the business than about whether any particular transaction is profitable. In a throwback to the late 90's dot-com boom, it's still maximizing volume at the expense of margins.
    That is interesting and thanks for posting that. I still think compannies like Cabelas are ripping us off on the shipping and handling charges.
    Here is a good example. A few years ago I decided to buy a halibut boat. After purchasing a 23' boat and fishing with it for a year I realized I needed some new rods for this boat.
    My dad had a Penn rod that I really liked.It was unavailable anywhere in South Central Alaska as I called around.
    I looked for this rod on Cabelas website having recieved good service from them in the past. They wanted $200 each for the rods then wanted to charge me extra on top of the normal shipping charges because these rods were considered oversize due to their 5 and 1/2' length. For a total shipping charge of $50 per rod.
    I looked around online based on links from Penns website and started caling around to find the shipping rates.
    Found a company in Ohio http://www.castawaylakes.com/who stated on their website free shipping on orders over $200. I called them up and Actually talked to the owner of the company. He stated that they would indeed ship to Alaska for free on all orders over $200 and that he had added $25 to the regular cost of each rod to cover his shipping Guarantee. Plus his price was only $180 each for the rods.
    He told me to think about the cabelas purchase in regards to shipping the $50 they were charging plus the $25 added to his price to help cover shipping that they also charged as part of their regular price. And Cabelas was $20 more each rod to boot.
    I ended up ordering a rod and some other little stuff to make it $200. Well all was good and it was indeed shipped for free.
    The next year I ordered 5 more rods from him. Other sites were $5-$10 per rod cheaper but wanted more money to ship them so cost more in the end anyway. I got a call a couple of days later from the company that my items would be arriving a few days later than expected due to a damaged package from the USPS. I asked him what the deal was and he had already packaged up another 5 rods and was sending them out right away.He would inspect the rods from the damaged packaging and deal with it later.
    I got my rods in great shape and the shipping was free as promised.
    So I still believe many companies are making a lot of money on their shipping and handling charges especially to Alaska. Regardless of their business model.
    As conumers we should not have to put up with this. By letting people know who is good and who is bad to deal with we can help each other figure out the best places to buy items unavailable instate.
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    I have to agree. REsearch what you are looking for. I tried to order a part for a dishwasher. Samae thing, once the company found out it was to Alaska the shipping charge was more than the price of the part. I surfed the net and found a company that charged the same price for thepart but shipping was only $6.00. I have asked a number of companies if they realize a flat rate priority box from USPS was the same price to Alaska as it was to ship within their own city. They always seem surprised at that.
    I've never had Cabela's tack on extra shipping, I must not order enough from them.

  13. #13
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I've never had Cabela's tack on extra shipping, I must not order enough from them.
    The extra shipping is for oversized items. The rods in question are 5 1/2' one piece rods so they are considered long items and that means oversize.
    You know when Cabelas likes you when they send you the hardcover magazine.
    I quit ordering from Cabelas because they use UPS and the UPS gal refuses to deliver to my dads house in Kasilof. Fed-ex is not a problem though.
    Roust-A-Bout lure company
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    That is interesting and thanks for posting that. I still think compannies like Cabelas are ripping us off on the shipping and handling charges.
    I wrote you a long detailed analysis of shipping costs this morning but sadly the computer ate it and I really don't feel up to retyping it now. Briefly, here's the results, without the proof:

    Even if Cabela's and Cast Away Lakes are both outdoor retailers, comparing such a big public company with such a small private company is like comparing apples and oranges. Obviously you'll shop wherever you get the best deal, but as for "ripping us off" (which implies "excess profits" in an economic analysis), remember that big companies carry enormous overhead for the benefit of their customers. That overhead allows them to do things such as: carry a huge amount of inventory in stock, provide round the clock services, always have someone available to help you, etc. Those overhead costs affect pricing, even in a competitive market. In contrast, very small companies run out of one store have very little overhead but can't provide the same range of products and services.

    The way the owner of Cast Away Lakes told you "to think about the cabelas purchase in regards to shipping" was clearly incorrect. If he gave you a good price and good service then you made a wise shopping choice, but that doesn't really tell you much about the economic fundamentals "regardless of their business model" or about whether or not they "are ripping us off on the shipping and handling charges." In the end, what matters is what you value, because every dollar is a vote. Some value local products, some value low price, some value convenience, and some value service. There's no single right answer, but one thing that seems clear is that few companies "are making a lot of money on their shipping and handling charges" because if they did that it would be easy for other companies to out-compete them, driving them out of business.

    In fact, the situation turns out to be somewhat the opposite, since shipping to Alaska really is more expensive and many companies don't charge us a surcharge, meaning that across the broad economy, the outside is effectively subsidizing a portion of our shipping. I know that probably seems counterintuitive and annoying to hear, but it's still largely true. Competitive market forces are imperfect but they do tend to limit excessive profits in the retail sector. I hope that made sense even without the analysis, perhaps reading this post might also help: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...l=1#post989057

  15. #15
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I kind of get what you are saying Seraphina. I didn't go to school for business just a piece of oilfield trash from the Slope here.
    But $50 is a lot of money especially since I have purchased 6 of these rods. That makes $300 in shipping charges on these rods alone. Not counting the extra $20 each in price.
    Clearly with the volume of rods Cabelas sells you would think they could offer a better deal on shipping vs a small company or at a minimum the same price.
    If Cabelas sells 1,000 of these rods or similiar one piece rods this length witch they probably do each year that equals $50,000. Thats just in shipping charges on one product. $30,000 of witch is the extra they want to charge for being an oversize item.
    If I order a part from a company in Seattle and live in Bangor Maine does that part not travel just as far if not farther than if it was shipped to Anchorage? So I Googled it and it is 3,260 road miles from seattle to Bangor Maine. But only 2,382 road miles to Anchorage from Seattle. Or roughly 878 miles closer.
    Yet many companies would ship at a much reduced fee to Maine vs Alaska from Seattle.
    Of course there may be some canadian fees or whatever but still. If the Truck got a generous 10mpg (just a guess) at $5 a gallon for diesel they saved $439 shipping my widget to Anchorage over Bangor in fuel alone.
    I am still trying to grasp this concept of Alaskans paying in some cases a lot more in shipping charges.
    Many places charge a flat fee for anywhere in the US or at least the Continental US. Yet others say it cost more and charge us for it.
    Maybe I should have gone into the shipping business.LOL
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  16. #16

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    I usually try to avoid doing this but it's easiest to reply within your quote this time.
    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I kind of get what you are saying Seraphina. I didn't go to school for business just a piece of oilfield trash from the Slope here.

    Don't worry about it, although I can get along with either one, I'd take oilfield trash over business school jerks any day!

    But $50 is a lot of money especially since I have purchased 6 of these rods. That makes $300 in shipping charges on these rods alone. Not counting the extra $20 each in price.

    True, which is why I said a couple of times that I'm talking about the economics of shipping, not about your personal purchase decision, which sounded wise.

    Clearly with the volume of rods Cabelas sells you would think they could offer a better deal on shipping vs a small company or at a minimum the same price.

    Most likely they operate by contract with one shipper, which gives them an overall discount, but which also locks them into restrictions that sometimes keeps them from choosing the best option. The small company doesn't face those restrictions and can more easily customize shipping options.

    If Cabelas sells 1,000 of these rods or similiar one piece rods this length witch they probably do each year that equals $50,000. Thats just in shipping charges on one product. $30,000 of witch is the extra they want to charge for being an oversize item.

    That may seem perfectly logical but that's not how most large companies calculate costs, because each shipment has a different actual cost but they charge one shipping rate (plus an oversize surcharge) regardless of destination. So in effect, some destinations subsidize other destinations. That's true whether it's calculated by Cabela's or by their shipping contractor, depending on the terms of their contract.

    If I order a part from a company in Seattle and live in Bangor Maine does that part not travel just as far if not farther than if it was shipped to Anchorage? So I Googled it and it is 3,260 road miles from seattle to Bangor Maine. But only 2,382 road miles to Anchorage from Seattle. Or roughly 878 miles closer.
    Yet many companies would ship at a much reduced fee to Maine vs Alaska from Seattle.
    Of course there may be some canadian fees or whatever but still. If the Truck got a generous 10mpg (just a guess) at $5 a gallon for diesel they saved $439 shipping my widget to Anchorage over Bangor in fuel alone.

    Again, that's most likely because of their shipping company rules, rather than because of those logistics. Each shipping company has a series of hubs that they route through, and they usually calculate costs by hubs traveled, rather than according to mileage. The tractors probably only get 2-3 mpg along most of the long route, pulling triples packed full. (Each trailer is probably also pulled by multiple drivers, switching tractors at the hubs.)

    As far as I know there are terminals in Alaska but no hubs north of Seattle (or Vancouver), raising the costs significantly above your mileage calculation. Even if you ordered an entire truckload of supplies, there are also higher costs for long-haul drivers going north, since the drivers going east each make shorter runs between hubs and then return home to sleep.

    Also, your fuel calculation does not consider hedging strategies, in which the shippers use options and futures contracts to lock in lower fuel prices than the retail prices. Many larger hubs have their own fueling stations stocked with inexpensive bulk purchases at well below the usual wholesale cost. It's a different world for sure!


    I am still trying to grasp this concept of Alaskans paying in some cases a lot more in shipping charges.

    No problem, we can discuss it until it makes more sense. (It may never make full sense, since corporate thinking is insane by definition!)

    Many places charge a flat fee for anywhere in the US or at least the Continental US. Yet others say it cost more and charge us for it.

    Avoid confusing your cost as a retail customer with the retailer's costs as the shipper's customer. Each business not only has its own shipping policies (order fulfillment department) but also has its own contracts with shippers. Not all businesses manage to negotiate the same terms, even with the same shipper.

    Maybe I should have gone into the shipping business.LOL

  17. #17
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    At times I have checked various shipping methods on the internet. For instance, once I checked the cost of shipping via USPS from the East Coast to Seattle and from the East Coast to Anchorage - cost was the same. I called the company I was interested in purchasing from, explained that to them. They gave me the same shipping price. Since I was in no hurry to get the item, a few extra days to get in via the mail instead of second day UPS or FED-ex was worth the decrease in shipping cost.
    Some companies are willing to negotiate the charges - some are not.

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    Wow. A lot of really good analysis of business models and shipping costs, but I think you guys overlooked a very simple part of the equation, at least with regards to Amazon shipping "pounds of books" for free. (Post number 9.) They're shipping Media Rate. Media Rate (USPS) is DIRT CHEAP. I shipped my entire personal library (just over 100 books) up here from FL this summer for a grand total of about $60. I shipped 5 24 cubic inches boxes, each box weighing between 40-50 lbs, and no box cost me more than about $15, most were closer to $10.

    You can ship any printed materials and any audio or video material via media rate.

    But you guys are right, the shipping up here should be considered criminal.

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    PS, check out Graf and Sons for loaded ammo shipped to AK. I couldn't get any non steel, non toxic shot for my antique guns here locally, and no one would ship loaded ammo to me.(for all of the reasons already mentioned-I love the whole "failed 6th grade thing-awesome) Graf and sons shipped me a few boxes of shotshells, and it wasn't even that expensive. (Worked out to about $5 a shell-cheap at twice the price, right? lol)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Wow. A lot of really good analysis of business models and shipping costs, but I think you guys overlooked a very simple part of the equation, at least with regards to Amazon shipping "pounds of books" for free. (Post number 9.) They're shipping Media Rate. Media Rate (USPS) is DIRT CHEAP.
    This is probably correct in some instances, but in every instance that Amazon has shipped to me they have used either priority mail or UPS 2nd day air- and I always choose the Super Saver freight option (free freight). They usually take 1 week + to ship it, but from the point it ships it's 2-4 days for me to receive it. What Amazon has done is negotiate very good rates with the shipping companies, and I'm surprised no one has brought that up. UPS and FedEx don't have just one set of rates- they have tiered pricing that rewards major shippers with rock bottom pricing. What might cost you or me $20 to ship will cost Amazon about $6 to ship. I don't know how USPS does it but would not surprise me if they don't have a similar system.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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