A Measure of Globalization

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed a steel 15cm ruler. This sort of ruler doesn’t have a margin at one end, and so is good for measuring distances away from walls and other obstructions. I found one on Amazon for 88p including delivery and, thinking that was excellent value, clicked “Buy now with 1-Click” and thought no more of it.

Today, after a slightly longer delay than I expected, it arrived. From Shenzhen.

I knew container transport by sea is cheap, but I am amazed that 88p can cover the cost of the ruler, the postage in China, the air freight, a payment to the delivery firm in the UK, and some profit. And, notwithstanding my copy of “Poorly Made in China” which arrived the same day and which I have not yet read, the quality seems fine…

4 thoughts on “A Measure of Globalization

    • Isn’t that Fortune article only about terminal dues, i.e. the price for transporting the package in the destination country? Getting it from China to the UK is not covered AFAICT.

  1. I thought the same thing when I got an Arduino mini clone shipped from China, with a miniUSB cable AND all the pins soldered on. All in cost about £4. I’d struggle to find the cable for that price on the high street.
    Granted the time delay can be a pain (I fried a £1.60 accelerometer wiring it up wrong and had to wait several weeks for a new one)