Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shopping, online and offfline

So, today we spent the most we've ever spent at Amazon UK in one day! Richard will be going to a conference in the UK in about three weeks, so we've ordered things to meet him there. Postage on orders over £19 is free within the UK, although it takes an extra five days. To Cyprus, it's extortionate :-( They don't even count it as part of Europe, although postal charges here from the UK are exactly the same as they are to Western Europe. Usually a friend with a BFPO box lets us use that if we order from Amazon, but she won't be there until September now.

We ordered a few DVDs in the sale, and the new Harry Potter book - at last - since it seems to be best value at Amazon. We also went ahead and ordered a Canon digital camera, as we'd been pondering in the past week or two. It wasn't quite the cheapest place online, but they were doing a free case with this particular camera, and we tend to trust Amazon on the whole. It was certainly better value than most of the other shops that we know of that have offline stores in the UK, and as far as we know it's not available here. We also ordered some extra memory to go with the camera.

Life is certainly much easier in Cyprus with online UK shops so readily available. Even eight years ago when we were first here, I was less inclined to use the Internet for ordering, and there were fewer options. My first port of call is always Play.com when looking at books or DVDs, since it's one site forward-thinking enough to offer free postage anywhere in Europe. We've had a lot of good things from there. But they didn't have the camera we wanted, and the book and DVDs we ordered were all more expensive from Play.com this time.

If it weren't for online ordering, we'd probably end up buying vast amounts of books and DVDs every time we were in England, and then having trouble with the weight of our luggage. Books are very expensive here, on the whole. There's an excellent bookshop in Larnaka, the Academic & General, which has a good selection of English books as well as Greek. But they always seem to charge the full UK price - in Cyprus pounds. So it's nearly 20% higher than list price, while Amazon UK and Play.com are typically 40% lower.

As it is, we tend to buy a year's worth of clothes when we're in the UK, although recently there have been better prices and more choice here. We're not into designer clothes at all, just ordinary casual reasonably well-made clothes. There are plenty of over-priced designer shops here, and a few old-fashioined factory outlets, but we've found quite a good selection of tee-shirts and shorts, of the type we like, in the middle floor of Orphanides - a supermarket which we don't use for groceries as the lighting is unpleasant, the aisles too narrow, and the stacks too high. However we do like their upstairs clothing and electrical departments.

1 comment:

Anvilcloud said...

In Canada we regard the UK (and pretty well most of Europe really) to be very pricey. Of course, in our case, the fact that it take more than two dollars to make one pound has a lot to do with it.