Shipping Blues

Since I am likely heading out of Japan in the next several months (unless I find an awesome job involving rocket ships, nail polish or shiny things) I’ve started packing up things I don’t need, and have found out a few facts that have bummed me out:

1) Shipping companies treat nail polish like it’s nuclear waste;

2) I think people who handle sea mail figure out they can pretty much steal with total impunity;

3) The minimum that can be sent by sea is 1 cubic meter and it has to be picked up at the international port in person and hauled away; and

4) I own waaaay too much nail polish.

Yikes. The nail polish had to come from somewhere and imported into the US, right? I’m sure some of it is made domestically but there’s a lot which is not. So there must be a band of well-organized polish smugglers sneaking it in, because all the shipping companies I contacted want nothing to do with it. It can’t be sent by air (flammable, OK, I can see this), and it can’t be sent by sea with shipping companies since it’s hazardous cargo.  If there’s any “hazardous cargo” in there, the entire shipment is treated as hazardous. It’s prohibitively expensive, even if I can find a company that will ship it. Boo!

I have sent things by sea-mail using the Postal Service before, but I’m sad to say a substantial portion of my shipment was either damaged or stolen, including a men’s wool pea coat. Who would steal that? It’s not even valuable, plus it’s hard to hide and pretty bulky. Unfortunately, items coming up missing seems to be a pretty common experience. In my darker moments, I’ve wondered if the postal/inspection employees are even paid regular salaries, or if they’re just allowed to steal all they want as compensation. I know there’s some good folks out there helping to move mail around the world, but there’s also some crummy bad apples too, and they ruin it for everyone else.

If all else fails, I could make the mother of all frankens with all my polish- a giant bucket full of hundreds of bottles of polish. I’m guessing it’d be a murky brown.

I’m packing up some of my pigments and I’ll have a few to show you before they get all boxed up.  The Tokyo Nail Expo is on Nov. 20 and 21, and I’ll be attending that for sure and probably picking up more nail goodies. I know I shouldn’t, but when the glitter beckons, it’s hard to say no!

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About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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15 Responses to Shipping Blues

  1. MK says:

    My personal theory is that they kick packages off the plane while they’re over the ocean because they are bored. And we have had actual instances where Parcel and Postal Service workers have gotten in trouble for dumping, stealing or otherwise destroying mail.

  2. Lucy says:

    What a giant dilemma. I hope you can find somebody to ship out all your polish. It seems ridiculous that you can’t mail this. More glitter huh? I now you have a ton but darn there’s so much pretty glitters out there.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I’m going to cry if I have to dump all this polish! If all else fails, I’ll donate to my nail school so at least it won’t go to waste. But I’m going to try to sneak it in somehow. It’s really not hazardous, but that’s how it’s classified. Does it really need special handling with an explosion-proof forklift?

  3. Kathleen says:

    I wish you all the best! I hope you find a job before you have to come back.

  4. Kayleigh says:

    That’s a huge bummer!! I really hope you find a way to get all that nail polish out of there!

  5. D... says:

    Shipping can be such a hassle. But I think nail polish, poor little things, are always treated like hazardous waste. Even when you buy online you can only ship via ground. Whenever my friend sent things via sea I’ve received it safely. I wonder if there is some sort of packing trick. Maybe don’t tell them it’s nail polish? I know that’s awful to suggest, but they haven’t given you much option. Just seal it in an air tight bag in case they break so they won’t be hazardous to other things.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      The problem is, my stuff is subject to a very strict customs check (like they open each box and it needs to match the packing list). They are insanely strict about items coming back into the US by sea because Customs wants to collect their duty taxes. The nail polish was bought in the US mostly, so it’s not dutiable on returning to the country, but it does mean they will be checking carefully. Maybe I can cross out the “nail polish” on the bottle and write “Blueberry Jelly” or something. 😛

  6. YeeKee Lee says:

    hihi
    i’ve been following your blog for a while now..u have such pretty nails! plus you’re so creative with decorating them 🙂

    anyways, i’ve just recently moved back to my home country from overseas as well and i used this shipping company called Seven Seas. they are really good and very efficient. i also stuck in my lot of nailpolish into my shipping as well and they came back to me alrite 🙂

    the only thing is im not sure about the flammable bit..dont exactly remember what i wrote in my shipping form.

    well, just tot i would reply to your blogpost cos i tot it would be a real shame if u lost all ur nailpolish just cos you couldnt take it back 😦 im sure there is some way of bringing it all back home!!

  7. Rebecca says:

    That really sucks 😦 If you can’t take it with you, swatch all of them so you can try to replace them later and then donate your stash if you can. At least then someone else can love them. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that though!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Great minds think alike- I’ve been swatching my butt off and will donate my stash probably to my nail school so at least someone can get use out of it. I know it’s just nail polish, but the thought of it going to that great Polish Dump makes me sad. Each bottle sort of had a little story behind it.

      Good grief, I sound bonkers! 😛

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