I often hear locals wish for three things that are, for the most part, unavailable in Alaska: Olive Garden, Victoria's Secret and free shipping.
The latter option is one that I wish for the most after unpleasant experiences with shipping and returns.
For instance, I once ordered a pair of jeans from an online clothing business that offers free shipping within the United States. When prompted to pay shipping for my purchase, I contacted customer service. Like many, I found out that free shipping is available within the contiguous United States, which snubs Alaska and Hawaii. Regrettably, I paid for second day delivery and a hefty amount to return the jeans that didn't fit. The shipping cost nearly half as much as the item itself.
How many Alaskans made an online purchase totaling $20 but spent more on the shipping costs alone? Or who added more items to their online shopping cart to reach a minimum amount (often above $100) to receive free shipping?
How many locals received the cold shoulder from businesses in the Lower 48 who claim that shipping to Alaska is simply not an option?
I recall another shipping experience over the phone, in which a customer service representative claimed that Alaska is not part of the United States. She didn't argue over the term contiguous or continental. Instead, she believed that Alaska was a separate country and deserved separate shipping costs. Feeling baffled, I thanked her and promised myself that I wouldn't shop from the company ever again.
Now, some businesses aim to increase sales during the holiday season by offering free online shipping. To no surprise, Alaska does not always apply to these deals.
Here are a few sites that offer friendly shipping deals in Alaska that don't require you to search for coupon codes or have a minimum purchase:
Blush Boutique, located in downtown Anchorage, is a favorite among fashionistas craving designer denim or drool-worthy handbags. Blush ships for free to anywhere in Alaska.
Zappos is no longer a web site to check out just for the newest shoes and boots. Zappos carries a large selection of men's and women's footwear, clothing, jewelry and housewares.
Similar to Zappos, Piperlime offers a wide selection of men's, women's, and children's footwear. The site features Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe's top fashion picks that are available on Piperlime.
Leave us a comment and let us hear your experiences with shipping to Alaska.
Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing