Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

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Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby jodi » Sun May 01, 2016 5:20 pm

Hey guys,

Have you ever tried to ship or fly (via bush planes) something to AK and they returned it/you couldn't receive it? I'm wondering about weird items, or rather, items that you wouldn't normally think there would be a problem with. For instance, when flying internationally, I thought it was weird that you couldn't pack batteries in checked baggage and you couldn't take knitting needles on board (although, yes, I do understand why). I'm trying to order everything online and knowing if something might be sent back in advance would be helpful. I think I read that light bulbs and palmolive dishwashing liquid can't be shipped (to bush AK), and neither has any notification that it can't be shipped there prior to purchasing.

On a related note, where do you guys shop for food online? I've heard about Amazon, Walmart, Fred Meyer, spanalaskasales.com, Full Circle... Any others that I should know about?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jodi
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby Johncn » Mon May 02, 2016 7:43 pm

You mentioned most of the ones we have personally used. The only real issues with shipping restricted items we have faced was with cleaning products. Bleach, for example, is a Hazmat shipping only item. We would just buy that at the marked up price at the AC store in the village.

Most of the things you order from Amazon will be bundled and packed without small plane travel in mind. Although some of those items may technically be restricted, frequently you will get them anyway. It depends who is selling them, and how tuned in they are to Alaska shipping. In-state vendors, such as Fred Meyer, will know what is allowed and what is not. They will not sell it to you if you're not supposed to be able to receive it.

Don't try to ship alcohol, at least not if you live in a dry or damp Village. That could be career-ending. There are multi-agency task forces which look for alcohol in baggage and packages.

Amazon Prime is a wonderful thing!

Othersm certainly have other stories to tell about restricted items, but we have not run into very many issues with it.
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby Bushteachers » Tue May 03, 2016 7:26 am

jodi wrote:Hey guys,

Have you ever tried to ship or fly (via bush planes) something to AK and they returned it/you couldn't receive it? I'm wondering about weird items, or rather, items that you wouldn't normally think there would be a problem with. For instance, when flying internationally, I thought it was weird that you couldn't pack batteries in checked baggage and you couldn't take knitting needles on board (although, yes, I do understand why). I'm trying to order everything online and knowing if something might be sent back in advance would be helpful. I think I read that light bulbs and palmolive dishwashing liquid can't be shipped (to bush AK), and neither has any notification that it can't be shipped there prior to purchasing.

On a related note, where do you guys shop for food online? I've heard about Amazon, Walmart, Fred Meyer, spanalaskasales.com, Full Circle... Any others that I should know about?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jodi


Jodi what we discovered is that if something doesn't ship, you will find out about it during the check out process. When we first moved up here, we did a lot of shopping with Walmart.com (until they stopped the free shipping perk, which I hear is offered again) and while checking out, I'd have to go back and remove all the unshippable items. It was kind of a pain, and I really wished online vendors would let it be known much earlier in the shopping process.

We use baking soda and vinegar for most of our cleaning needs. We use some soap called 7th generation soap that we can get mailed to us.
As far as light bulbs, we brought a lot up with us. energy efficient ones and are still using some from our initial move 4 years ago.

As far as food online, I have found that the best place to order from is anywhere with free shipping. We started utilizing Fred Meyer's bush orders last year for many items and we saved quite a bit of money. It also reduced our stress load, since we were charged 10% and I admit, I'll gladly pay 10% to keep from doing the major shopping runs.

We bring our meat out with us when we go to town. We mail all our clothes except the ones on our back and bring nothing but meat out. If you are in a hub, then freight costs aren't that much. We use ACE air cargo and are charged about 1/2 dollar per pound on freeze.

I have never done full circle. I think it is a rip off, especially if you live outside a hub.
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby jamieburgess » Fri May 06, 2016 8:53 pm

I brought my light bulbs up in a tote when I came out to my village. I have had the same issues the other posters have mentioned with Amazon - some of the things that won't ship are very strange - I could NOT buy an electric skillet from Amazon no matter which seller I tried! When I first came up, I spent two days in Anchorage - I bought a bunch of totes and a rolling cooler and filled up the totes with non-perishable items from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club and mailed them - they came within a week. I would not do the rolling cooler again because it's so heavy I couldn't fill it before I hit the airline weight limit (50 pounds). Get yourself some insulated boxes in Anchorage - hotels/motels will let you freeze items overnight - throw them in your boxes first thing and they are usually still cold by the time you get to your final destination. I got myself an insulated bag (kind of like a cooler shoulder bag) - I throw it empty into my suitcase when I travel, and then I can put frozen/cold items in it and stick in a tote.

I have found the best bet is to try ordering things from different places until you find what works best for your pocketbook, your location, and your food preferences. I ended up buying a small amount from my local village store - while many things are much, much higher than I pay back home, some things are actually reasonable and can be fresh and convenient. Every village/town has its own pros/cons when it comes to local food supplies.
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby Michael Robbins » Wed Jun 01, 2016 3:56 pm

I have also had issues with Amazon Prime even here in Fairbanks where I currently live. I wrote them several emails when I tried to order items that would not ship. The message I received upon trying to checkout was something like this: we cannot ship this item to a location that is outside of the US. For some reason different vendors with Amazon do not ship to Alaska. The items I had issues with were electronics and camera equipment. I tried to buy from different vendors but for the items I wanted they would not allow with the exception of the batteries for my camera.
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby michellemedlin » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:01 am

Johncn wrote:You mentioned most of the ones we have personally used. The only real issues with shipping restricted items we have faced was with cleaning products. Bleach, for example, is a Hazmat shipping only item. We would just buy that at the marked up price at the AC store in the village.

Most of the things you order from Amazon will be bundled and packed without small plane travel in mind. Although some of those items may technically be restricted, frequently you will get them anyway. It depends who is selling them, and how tuned in they are to Alaska shipping. In-state vendors, such as Fred Meyer, will know what is allowed and what is not. They will not sell it to you if you're not supposed to be able to receive it.

Don't try to ship alcohol, at least not if you live in a dry or damp Village. That could be career-ending. There are multi-agency task forces which look for alcohol in baggage and packages.

Amazon Prime is a wonderful thing!

Others certainly have other stories to tell about restricted items, but we have not run into very many issues with it.


For cleaning supplies, I ordered from Wal-Mart Cleaning Vinegar and a spray bottle! It ships and I've been using vinegar for cleaning for years since I used to have parrots and couldn't use regular cleaners. For $2.78: Heinz All Natural Cleaning Vinegar, 64 fl oz - this might be a great alternative to anyone needing cleaning supplies and having problems with shipping.
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Re: Buying Online: Restricted Items for Shipping/Flying

Postby kazachka » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:42 pm

Lithium rechargable batteries!!!!! Buy your headlamp at REI while in Anchorage or they cannot ship it to you! I know you can't take those buggers a carry on either so you will have to check to see if you can check them when flying to the village. I had a defective lamp last year and found out of course after I was already in Homer. REI told me to keep the battery and just send back the headlamp and they sent me a new one minus the lithium battery since they could not ship it with the battery in it. I can't imagine having to feed that sucker actual batteries all winter! There are no street lights at all,so it's a must for running in the dark season and for getting from the house to the car, scanning the yard for large animals before stepping off the porch........
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