You can sing “It’s a Small World After All” until you’re blue in the face and those around want to see you murdered if you so much as even hum one more chorus, but that isn’t going to get you anywhere when it comes to gift-giving to friends and family 4000 miles away. A small world indeed, but as global as Amazon, Apple and others are, it’s still a prickly traipse through the online marketplace when you need to send a present overseas.
(Rhetorical question alert) How successful is iTunes and the iTunes Music Store? Do you think I can order a gift card or certificate for someone in the US? The obvious answer is no. Not without using a US credit card. (I do still have one, but I refuse to use it because it’s balance is so bloated I think it’d burst with one more transaction!) So ‘plan B’ is in order. I haven’t figured it out yet, but it’s not going to involve iTunes, which is unfortunate because that person would have loved a chunk of spending moolah there.
I may have better luck with Amazon. Last spring I found out the hard way how tricky this international shopping can be when I received a gift certificate from a US friend. If a US resident purchases a gift certificate for a UK customer, it must be purchased on the Amazon.co.uk site rather than the US version of Amazon. International residents cannot redeem from Amazon.com. My clever solution to this predicament was to ship my purchase to my Mom in Wisconsin for the next time I visited. Lame. So I would guess that if I made a purchase on the Amazon.com site for a US resident, that it all should work out. I have a UK as well as US credit card listed on the account, so with any luck, I’ll be permitted to use the UK one. (Note: Apple requires that the billing and shipping address be within the same country. That’s where I got stuck on iTunes.)
I suppose the murky waters of international finance laws are to blame for the inconveniences, but something surely needs to be done about it. I’ll bet every blogger knows someone in another country by now. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could send gifts to our friends in far places as easily as we order for ourselves? Come on e-commerce sites- shape up! or I start singing that bloody awful song again…