Over the weekend, I tried to buy a book from a Brazilian vendor on a Brazilian website and despite my credit card, debit card and Paypal account, I ran up against a wall. The problem didn’t even have to do with international shipping as I was hoping to surprise a friend by shipping the book within Brazil, even within the same city as the vendor.
When the site didn’t let me proceed with my purchase because I didn’t have a Brazilian credit card or bank account, I attempted to go around them by dealing directly with the vendor (via his email address). When he replied a few days later, his response was that he wasn’t familiar with Paypal, which actually operates in Brazil. In fact, the Paypal logo is surprisingly absent from many major Brazilian retail sites like Ponto Frio, Submarino, etc.
In this day and age, I just find it a bit strange that such barriers exist. I wanted to give my money to someone in a major city in exchange for a simple product but I couldn’t. Something needs to change…and while I’m at it, I’ve got qualms with the postal service, too. When the book thing didn’t pan out, I thought about quickly sending one lil’ card through the mail to Brazil. The price? US$30+! I mean, really? Surely, the USPS had a bag of letters already going to a major distribution point in the US, and from there, to Brazil. What’s one more letter? (Btw, the non-priority price? US$1.50)