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We Need to Stop Asking People to Bring Us Things from Abroad

It's Christmas time, the time of joy, laughter, and happiness. The time of reuniting friends and families with those who live abroad—and the time where people ask those abroad to bring us "just this one small thing" because it's cheaper there than back home. Well, like $10 cheaper.

Photo by Ahmed Carter on Unsplash

I'm lucky to have friends who rarely ask me to bring them stuff from abroad. Actually, I often ask them if there is anything that I could bring them from the States to make them happy. And the only thing they want is for me to come back and meet them. (I know, sweet and beautiful.)

But it's usually those people who are not so close to us who reach out after forever and ask us to bring them "a thing or two." I'm not the only one who thinks this, and believe me, it's not that we are not unhelpful, but try to see it from our perspective.

Imagine that you are one of us who live abroad. Excited to come back home for Christmas, and like everybody else, you hustle to find the best last minutes gifts for your dearest. You hustle to finish all the work, pack your stuff (to fit in the always-not-big-enough luggage), and say all your goodbyes to everybody before you depart back to your homeland.

And now, a week or two before your departure, you start getting messages from your friends and acquaintances, asking you to bring them some stuff back home. And so, during this already crazy time, you end up running around the city and chasing all the post companies because the package is delayed or sent to a different location. Well obvi... it's the Christmas time! Then you visit several stores of the same company because they don't have the right size of the leggings from Lululemon your friend's sister wanted. And you end up crying because half of your luggage is already full of those items and you have no space for your own stuff. Not even mentioning all the struggles with transport.

I understand that sometimes there are situations where you would need things that are not available in your country. Like medical stuff, bandage, and goods that are sold only locally. I do understand that. If you explain this to the person you're asking for the favor, they'll be happy to help you out.

But I also see that, most of the time, it is all about things that can be easily found in the requestor's country—only a few dollars cheaper. I cannot count how many times I saw gigantic packages delivered to my friends here that their friends requested to bring home. And believe me. It was rarely necessary.

So how I see this it is this. If it happens that you desire something in a foreign country, then make an effort. Pay for extra luggage, order an extra suitcase for your goods, or offer to pay for an Uber or Lyft to the airport. As a courtesy. It's only fair. The person you are asking for a favor is doing probably much more than you can imagine.

Imagine those hours they have to spend looking for your package (if you order it with a home delivery, because believe me, it almost always has issues). And even worse, if you send them to look for your desired item to stores. Imagine the stress you're putting them through, hoping that it'll arrive on time. Imagine all the weight that their luggage will increase. Imagine the space in their suitcase that was meant for their clothes. Imagine the money he has to spend taking Uber or Lyft to the airport, simply due to the amount of stuff.

So please, next time you ask your family or friend to bring your stuff from abroad, try to imagine what position you're putting them in. Imagine what they have to go through so you can save your precious $10. Really? If you had to go through this yourself, would that $10 really be worth it? I doubt that.

I hope I didn't offend anybody. And if I did, I didn't mean to. I was trying to give a voice to those who are too good friends/relatives to say no.

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