Herewith, my mail forwarding experience with YouShop, New Zealand Post’s US-based mail forwarding service. As an online shopper, I was interested to see what this was like – especially when packaging I had no control over impacted my shipping costs. And maybe you will be, too.
What Is YouShop, Again? New Zealand Post, in response to Kiwis’ desire for unlimited online shopping, has set up a mail forwarding service based in Portland, Oregon. You send a USA-acquired purchase that doesn’t ship overseas to the YouShop location in Oregon. The NZ Post employee there then weighs it, and tells you how much to pay for forwarding. Once you’ve paid online, NZ Post sends it to you in New Zealand, for a price. Note that NZ Post never opens the package, and does not consolidate multiple packages, most likely to reduce their liability.
The Test: In the post-Christmas online sales, I ordered two pairs of jeans from new-to-me brands, from two different online retailers. They were separately forwarded by YouShop. I had amazingly different experiences for the two different packages.
Item 1: A pair of NYDJ jeans from Amazon.com. On sale, $34 US; free Super Saver shipping from Amazon.com.
- Packaging: Slim minimum-weight plastic bag, shown above.
- YouShop forwarding charge: $22.
- Experience: From ordering jeans to admiring my butt in the mirror – 14 days exactly, over the holiday period, no less. I received *four* status emails: one saying that YouShop had received my package, one saying the package had been sent to New Zealand, one saying it had arrived in New Zealand, and one saying it had been delivered.
- Comparable jeans purchase in New Zealand: $235 minimum. Definitely one of those NZ markup items. “Aren’t those jeans expensive??” a co-worker asked. US site prices are $140 US to $77 US, depending.
- Overall: WIN. Even with the YouShop forwarding cost, I anticipate an excellent return on investment for this garment – transeasonal, well-made, and flexible. Also, garment fits perfectly – deliciously, even – and is strikingly attractive. And unique. And…well, this is what mail forwarding is for.
Item 2: A pair of raspberry-hued jeans from Ann Taylor Loft. On sale, $17.99 US, with $7.95 shipping. I’ve always loved wearing burgundy/berry tones, so for me the color trend is a chance to stock up on a shade.
- Packaging: A modest shoebox-sized box, shown above.
- YouShop Forwarding Charge: $36.00. WHAAAA?
- Experience: Frankly, I was so thrown by the different shipping fee, it took me a week to click “Complete Order.” I did have the package in five days – they left it on my home doorstep. Again, I received progress emails – which was good because it let me know to look for the package.
- Comparable jeans purchase in New Zealand: Depends on quality. Cheapies available from $49.00 at Glassons, $59.00 at JeansWest or Just Jeans. I’d have to alter the length, though.
- Overall: I feel… punished by this one. How am I supposed to know if my items will be in featherweight ecopackaging, or if they’ll be mummified in a box? Why do I have to pay $14 more for the privilege of a cardboard box and a piece of paper packaging? I would have been OK with $5 – $7 more. Adding to my grousing, the jeans had fit issues (too large, when does that happen??). After washing them in ultra-hot water and running them through the dryer, they’re at the tailor.
Final YouShop Verdict
Recommended, with “caveat emptor” in place. The timing is reliable, but variability in packaging makes using YouShop shipping cost roulette. In future I will use YouShop for otherwise elusive must-have items – wardrobe foundation pieces, in petite sizing, items with which I fall sickeningly in love, shoes and boots. Or for small light parcels such as makeup, electronics components, specialist hardware, or lingerie.
You Shop ties into the psychology of online shopping by extending the shopping experience. The status emails each provide a little positive mental ping, echoing the mild endorphin rush of shopping itself. But not enough to overcome the anxiety of finding out if a package is light or heavy by their standards.
Bear in mind that, if the option is at all available, direct international shipping may work out to be about the same or cheaper.