I want to talk about something that very few citizens of Dubai are unfamiliar with: overpriced items.
I recently finished setting up my glassworking studio at home. Part of the “fun” in that process was acquiring the raw materials to work with. In the case of glassworking, these raw materials are glass rods. They come in lengths of around 2 meters. When working with them, you’d cut them down to a more manageable size.
As glass is relatively heavy, I decided to try and find a local distributor for the glass. In the borosilicate industry, there are two companies that are known for their high-quality glass: Schott and Simax. I checked online and there was no local Simax distributor but there was a Schott distributor not too far from where I live. So, I sent them an email, asking for a quotation for the glass rods.
This is the quotation I got back from them:
Additionally, I was told that I could not pay via credit card. I had to do a bank transfer, wait for 3 days for the payment to be verified, then wait for another week for the glass to be shipped out. They also charge a flat rate of 200 Euros for freight, which I will have to pick up at their warehouse or at the airport. On top of all that, I would have to pay customs duty on this (5%). This purchase was taking place before the implementation of VAT, so there was no VAT at this time. Also note here that they’re using the stupid decimal system I hate.
Now, let me compare this quotation with a US store. I found a store in the US, that shipped two cases (as above) of glass to the continental US for a flat rate of $50. From there, it was my responsibility to ship it to Dubai. The price of each case of glass was $70. For the weight of glass that I shipped, MyUS charged me $200. Additionally, since I was ordering just two cases, less than the $250 requirement for customs duty, I didn’t even have to pay that.
So, let’s do a comparison with Euros converted to USD:
|Local Distributor ($)||US Order ($)|
|Price of two cases||490||140|
|Freight||250||50 + 200|
|Delivery to Dubai||2 weeks||2 weeks|
|Credit Card Accepted||No||Yes|
|Delivery Location||Warehouse||At my doorstep|
See where I’m going with this? The local distributor offers a sub-par service at much more inconvenience. I was literally able to order something from the US, and ship it via Fedex for cheaper. So why would I support a local business?
Don’t get me wrong, I would very much like to support local businesses if they didn’t try to gouge customers. I’m aware that businesses have to make a profit, and I’m also okay with that. But at a 100% profit margin, they can go to hell. I’m not paying for overpriced items, with overpriced services (or lack thereof). I’d rather save my money and support good business practices.