Excessive shipping costs

Today I’ve been hunting for unusual shaped LEDs – square, cylindrical, tiny, those kind of LEDs. And the one thing I’ve learned is that EU shipping costs are ridiculous! Here in the Netherlands I haven’t found a single source. Ok there’s Farnell and Mouser but they require a minimum order of 50 or 70 euro respectively. Which is unrealistic unless I want hundreds of LEDs (well with Farnell’s pricing policy it’s more like a handful…).

Next I looked at neighboring countries. In Germany it seems DHL has taken over and they charge almost 10 euro (what ever happened to DPD?). Ok I’ve found German stores that ship for less, but they sell LEDs for insane prices. 10 LEDs for 6 euro including shipping. Gets expensive real fast if you’re looking for small amounts of different colours and sizes.

After Germany the UK got my attention. Found a store that sells all kinds of sizes, shapes, colours and good prices. Perfect for what I have in mind. So I tick 10 different LEDs, ¬†one of each. Go to checkout and calculate shipping… 27 pounds… for 10 LEDs… WTF?!!? Nice one TNT. There’s nothing wrong with a nice padded envelope you know.

Depressed by this reality I did a search for my regular online stores in China, Thailand and the US. And guess what? Normal to no shipping costs all over the place and low component prices. So once again I can ship stuff from the other side of the world to my house at a fraction of the cost it would take to ship it from ‘around the corner’.

Just begs the question wtf is wrong with Europe?! This is not the first time and certainly not the last. And in case anyone is doubting whether or not it’s worth to shop around – yes it is! Granted sometimes the shipping costs/time outweigh the benefits. But other times you win big time. The most extreme example I’ve ever come across was when I ordered my Losmandy equatorial mount. It took a couple of evenings to get things in order, but I saved 1100 euro (all in and yes that’s a 4 figure number!), simply by ordering outside the EU.

Just do a little initial research ;)

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