I’ve bought quite a lot of metal stock from Online Metals. Nothing big but over the years I’ve spent quite a lot of money with them on a variety of boat projects.
Which is why yesterday, when I saw that I needed a couple of feet of 2″ aluminum angle for a mast project. I got online, opened my account, and with credit card at the ready proceeded to buy the needful. They had what I wanted (two 12-inch pieces of said aluminum angle) that cost $23.54 which was a little bit high in my opinion. That said, the cost was not all that bad so I stuck it in the cart and prepared to close the deal.
The next thing I see is that they’re charging me $163.00 to ship a pound of aluminum to me down here in America’s paradise.
So, I called them and pointed out that in the past they’d sent small packages via USPS for a reasonable cost. I also mentioned that the two 12″ pieces of aluminum would fit quite nicely in a flat rate box or envelope.
Nope they said, metal is heavy and we no longer ship anything via USPS and $165 was what I had to pay.
Which is wrong on a lot of levels but what bothers me the most is the lady on the phone assumed I was stupid enough to pay $163 to get something worth $23.50 which would be insane.
The really scary part is that I commonly see cruisers with blogs bitching that they had to pay silly money to get stuff shipped to them. The worst example was a guy complaining that he’d paid over $100 for two O-rings that would have cost a buck from a hardware store but since he bought them from a marine supplier for $21, he wound up with the most expensive O-rings the world has ever seen. So, yeah, I guess there are enough people out there willing to be fleeced that it is now SOP for companies to do this sort of fuckery.
I then spent five minutes online to find a metal company willing to send via USPS and came across Speedy Metals which sold me the same metal for $16 which was cheaper than their online price (I’ve made a note to call them in the future rather than buy online) and more importantly $7.50 less than Online Metals. The real savings, of course, is not having to pay that $163 UPS shipping charge.
I’ll just mention that FedEx and UPS are not only stupid expensive for getting stuff down here but they are, more often than not, slower than the USPS as well.
Mr Zip rocks!
Anyway, since I’m not insane and can do basic math I won’t ever use Online Metals ever again.
Need I say more?