Review: Borderlinx vs MyUS

Posted by Mark

Borderlinx and MyUS are both companies that offer US forwarding mailboxes so you can shop online, mail stuff to your US address and then have them forward it to your home in Kuwait. I’ve been using Aramex Shop&Ship since 2001 for my regular day to day shopping but a few years ago I signed up to Borderlinx since sometimes I needed my shipments to get to Kuwait fast and Shop&Ship is just too slow. Everything was fine and dandy until I realized Borderlinx was taking an 8.5% customs clearance fee on top of the 5% customs fee which I thought was absurd. So, I decided to try an alternative and I signed up to MyUS last month. This review is strictly Borderlinx vs MyUS and doesn’t include Shop&Ship because Shop&Ship is a lot cheaper as well as a lot slower (apples vs oranges).

membership

MyUS has been around since 1997, I first heard about them back in 2001 but ended up going with the much more affordable Shop&Ship instead. The reason I never signed up to MyUS even years later was their expensive shipping prices and fees. MyUS have different membership fees, the standard involves paying just $10 to open an account and no annual fee, but you don’t get the best shipping rates and you can’t consolidate your packages. To get the best deal you would have to sign up to their “premium” package but that costs $20 to setup and either $7 a month or $60 a year in membership fees. Recently though I found out that MyUS had special rates for credit card holders (which I posted here) where they not only waved all the setup fees but also offered additional discounts on shipping. I ended up signing up with my AMEX card which entitled me to free membership for 2 years as well as 30% off all my shipments.

Since I’m heading to SoleDXB next weekend I decided to order a backpack for the trip. I couldn’t risk shipping it with Shop&Ship and have it arrive after my trip so I sent it to MyUS mailbox instead. It was a bit risky since I hadn’t used my MyUS account yet but figured this would be the best way to test them out.

shippingoptions

MyUS allows you to customize a lot of different account options if you want to, for example they deal with a variety of shipping companies but if you have a preference you can say always use DHL or always use FedEx but by default its set on “Least Expensive Option”. You can also setup your account to ship packages as soon as they arrive or hold them until you choose to ship them. For an extra fee you can have them photograph the item for you, ship same day, add fragile stickers, add extra packing, discard shoe boxes and a bunch of more options. The different settings can be a bit overwhelming but you can not bother with them at all if you don’t want to.

Once my package got delivered to MyUS it popped up in my account on the same day. I then logged into my account and told them to ship it for me and this is where things weren’t as pretty as Borderlinx. With Borderlinx before you give the shipping order you’ll know exactly how much the shipping fee would cost as well as the customs fee, with MyUS you won’t know until your package is already shipped. I found that a bit uncomfortable since I’m not used to saying ship without knowing exactly how much it’s going to cost me. In any case a few hours later I got an email saying my package was shipped with FedEx and my credit card was charged. So I logged into my account to check and see how much it cost me. Based on the size of the package and weight, the package cost $93.74 to ship with insurance. With my 30% AMEX discount the price went down to $67.42. I took the package dimensions and weight and plugged them into the Borderlinx shipping cost calculator and ended up with an $85 shipping fee without insurance. Not a bad amount of savings but I was now worried about the customs fee. Borderlinx quoted me $52 for customs while with MyUS I needed to wait until the package arrived to Kuwait to find out. Three days later my package arrived to Kuwait and the total customs fee was around $30, I was relieved.

I saved around $40 by using MyUS over Borderlinx and the package arrived just as fast. MyUS has now officially become my go to mailbox for when I need my packages ASAP. I still find it uncomfortable to have them charge my credit card without knowing how much it’s going to cost me first but I’m just going to have to get used to it I guess. If you’re interested in signing up, make sure you check my previous post on MyUS to know how much you can save using which credit card. [Link]


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The New AAB World

Posted by Mark

aab1

I passed by Bang & Olufsen in Symphony Mall the other the night to see when they were getting the new BeoPlay A2 when I spotted a new AAB World store on the lower level. It turns out the store has been open for two months now and it’s their largest store yet. AAB World are a photography store and I’ve dealt with them on a number of occasions either for product reviews on the blog or for personal purchases.

aab2

The branch I used to frequent often was in the basement of Shamiya Coop and that location is really tiny so having this large store in my neighborhood makes things a lot more convenient. This location is so big they practically have each one of their products on display for you to check out including all their studio lights and camera stabilizers (for the movie buffs).

aab3

So if you’re interested in checking it out, they’re open from 9AM to 1PM and then again from 4PM to 10PM.


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Moving from Borderlinx to MyUS

Posted by Mark

I don’t know how long Borderlinx have been doing this but I just found out the other day they’re charging a 8.5% customs clearance fee for the items you ship with them. Thats in addition to the 5% customs charge for the Kuwaiti authorities. I chatted with their help desk and explained how illogical it was to charge an 8.5% clearance fee when the actual customs fee is only 5% but they didn’t seem to think it was odd so I’ve decided to stop using Borderlinx and instead start using MyUS.com.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Borderlinx and MyUS are mail forwarding companies. You sign up with them and they provide you with a US mailing address so you can shop online and mail stuff to your US mailbox. They’ll then ship the stuff for you from the US mailbox to Kuwait.

myus

I always used to consider MyUS as a more expensive option but my friend sent me a link to their Visa Card offer page and with the savings they’re offering the prices actually become pretty reasonable. I don’t have a Visa card sadly so I replaced Visa with Mastercard in the URL and ended up with the Mastercard savings page which isn’t anywhere as good as the Visa offer but is still better than nothing.

Visa Card Holders
– Waived set-up fee ($20 Savings)
– Complimentary Premium Membership for two years (a $120 USD value)
– Save 25% on shipping for first month
– Save 20% with future shipments
Here is the [Link]

Mastercard Holders
– Waived set-up fee ($20 Savings)
– Complimentary Premium Membership for one year (a USD $60 savings)
– 20% off already discounted DHL & FedEx shipping rates for your first month
– 15% off shipping rates after your first month
– Dedicated Customer Service
Here is the [Link]

I’m still using the Shop & Ship for when I am not in a hurry and want to pay the cheapest rate but for my urgent packages I’m going to start using MyUS instead of Borderlinx. I’ll post a followup sometime down the line once I’ve started using it properly and let you guys know how it turns out.

Update: Found the American Express page and turns out it’s even a better deal:

American Express Card Holders
– Waived set-up fee ($20 Savings)
– Complimentary Premium Membership for two years (a $120 USD value)
– Save 30% with future shipments
[Link]


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Lillywhites is Opening in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

lillywhites

Lillywhites, UK’s oldest and the world’s largest sports store is going to be opening soon in Kuwait. They will be replacing all the current Go Sport locations in Kuwait including the huge Avenues location which is currently undergoing a major facelift in preparation for the opening sometime next month. If the brand sounds familiar it could be because you’ve seen their store in London which has been at Piccadilly Circus since 1863.

Full disclosure: I’m currently involved in this project but was only able to post about it now


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If you want to fly a kite

Posted by Mark

kites

I found a store the other day that sold a variety of different sized kites. Since the weather is still bearable I thought some of you might be interested in flying them on the weekends. The store had a variety of kites ranging from small cheap ones that cost just KD5 to more proper and expensive ones that start at KD26 and go all the way up to KD170. I took a few photos of the kites they had for sale which you can check out below.

The store is called Wind Rider and it’s located on the Mezzanine floor of Al Muthana Complex in the back near the praying area. They’re open from 10AM to 1PM and 5PM to 9:30PM except on Fridays when they’re open only in the evenings. Their phone number is 2474788 or 6707010.


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Don’t miss the Shakshooka Market tonight

Posted by Mark

Shakshooka, the nomadic farmers market is taking place tonight from 6PM to 8PM on the rooftop parking of 360 Mall. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Don’t forget to bring cash and a carrying bag if you will be buying stuff.

Photo above by @faisalthef


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Lanvin on Sale

Posted by Mark

Lanvin started a 60% sale yesterday on menswear and only on menswear. Turns out they’re closing down the mens section permanently so they’re getting rid of their stock. I picked up a wallet but they also had some good tshirts and you can’t go wrong with their sneakers (although 60% off on KD300+ shoes is still KD100+). Lanvin is located in Prestige section of Avenues between Ralph Lauren and Tod’s.


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Don’t miss the Shakshooka Market tonight

Posted by Mark

Shakshooka, the nomadic farmers market is taking place tonight from 6PM to 8PM at Al Kout Mall in Fahaheel near the fountain. Here is the location on [Google Maps]

Don’t forget to bring cash and a carrying bag if you will be buying stuff.

Photo above by @faisalthef


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Alshaya Staff Shop

Posted by Mark

Friday night I passed by with a friend to the Alshaya Staff Shop in Shuwaikh. The shop is located inside the Alshaya headquarters and its only for Alshaya employees, their family and friends. The store sells heavily discounted leftover stock from previous Alshaya sales, and my friend told me there were a ton of items left over from Harvey Nichols which is why I HAD to pass by.

For those of you who’ve been to the Villa Moda discount store when they were open, you’ll feel right at home at the Alshaya Staff Shop. The place is packed with luxury items but packed on top of each other and you basically need to flip through the items one by one to find anything. The first section I tackled was the shoes and for some reason it felt like Black Friday, so I started flipping through everything as if there was a crowd behind me fighting over the shoes. In reality though, the shop was empty except for me and my friends but I kept getting the feeling that if I didn’t go through the shoes fast enough they would quickly disappear. I panicked, I was all over the place and I was in heaven.

Once I was done with the shoes section I started flipping through the clothes. According to the employee there, the last time the mens section got restocked was three months ago and I was flipping through the leftover of the leftover. That didn’t make sense because I found a bunch of gorgeous Alexander McQueen shirts just sitting there, three of which I had my eyes on when they were still displayed at Harvey Nichols. How those shirts were still available at the Alshaya Staff Shop I have no clue but better for me. Not only were most of these items being sold at 70% at Harvey Nichols when they were on sale, but once they get moved to the Alshaya Staff Shop they get discounted even further and then on top of that discount there is an additional 30% off if you’re an Alshaya employee or you’re with an Alshaya employee.

I ended up leaving with a couple of sneakers and shirts. Just to give you an idea of how ridiculously cheap the prices were, I got the pair of hightop sneakers pictured above for just KD17.5 after discount. KD17.5 for really soft leather sneakers that are more comfortable and look better than my Loubs. Their original price at Harvey Nichols was KD220 and they’re still selling for nearly KD200 online. So if you have a friend that works at Alshaya, force them to take you to their shop. Women are supposedly getting a restock this week.


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Winter Bazaar at Beit Al Sadu

Posted by Mark

The Kuwait Textile Arts Association is hosting a ‘Winter Bazaar’ at the historic Beit Al Sadu where you’ll be able to find original designs, quilts, bags, table linens, silks, designer jewelry, shawls, crochet, hand embroidery and more. It’s taking place this weekend so if you’re interested here are the details:

Date: Saturday, December 7th 2013
Time: 10AM to 6PM
Location: Sadu House, Gulf Road [Map]


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