A package arrives

Categories Commerce and products, Culture

Residents of Uruguay can bring in some things duty-free. I think currently it’s three times per year, has to be by courier or Uruguayan Post’s program, and value limited to USD 200, including shipping costs. I used it recently to ship down a refurbished Macintosh keyboard. The day after it arrived my wife’s Macintosh keyboard started to fail as well. So I ordered another for around USD 50, again with some clothing items my wife wanted, keeping under $200 and under 2 kg (courier service charges by the kilo).

The same keyboard new in the US is USD 163 new, which is quite ridiculous. I don’t want a wireless keyboard – not long ago I wired our two computers with ethernet and turned off wifi – but even if I did, what Apple offers, USD 99 in the US, is ridiculous here:

ad, Uruguay

And Apple is “different” enough that anything else I can buy locally will only work with Windows. I tried. Keys all jumbled, regardless of computer language settings.

To get here, the goods had to be shipped to Florida, consolidated, cleared through Customs here, and delivered. Today we discovered the sodden delivery notice in our mailbox:

delivery slip, Uruguay

There is no date. Apparently it was from yesterday, telling me that since nobody was home, we won’t do that UPS/Fedex thing and try again. You have to come to our office (oval: what?) hour on the seventh of January two-thousand-backwards-nine-nineteen.

I went to the DAC office, less than two kilometers away, and was told by a lady with a broom there that I would have to go to Montevideo. I pointed out that we were standing at the intersection of Artigas and Circunvolación, as indicated on the slip. She then went inside and asked the girl, who recognized the name and directed her to a top corner shelf, which she could barely get to through stacks of boxes.

As she did that, I scanned the shelves, immediately spotted the USPS Priority Mail box and retrieved it.

delivered package, Uruguay

So, another “something actually accomplished” in Uruguay, something that those living in lands of consumer convenience probably can’t even begin to appreciate. And on a further ‘Murkan note, I got a kick out of the receipt: when was the last time you got a receipt with “God bless” handwritten on it?


No doubt the last time you ordered from Saved Computers.

10 thoughts on “A package arrives

  1. The 200 dollars do not include the shipping fee. If the price at ebay, amazon, etc. is 200 dollars or less, you can buy it tax free. Check tiendamia.com.uy, they have a nice simulator and you can coordinate the delivery time and date. I bought a Stanton T62 turntable in USA through their site and everything was OK.

    1. Thanks for that clarification – I always thought it ridiculous that they’d include US delivery costs. I don’t see the “simulator” page you mention. Strange that it should be harder to find than a page advertising dildos.

      1. I thought it was strange too but then when I thought about what their goal is it made more sense. I understand that the limit was $300 but was reduced to $200 which up until just a few months ago did include the shipping cost.

        The reality is that they don’t want you shipping anything in that you haven’t paid tax on and the hoops they make you jump through kind of confirm that theory. There are a lot of people on the dole here and they need lots and lots of our money to keep them all under control. They want us all to buy locally so that the wealth distributors can collect their 22% IVA. It’s pretty simple and shouldn’t surprise anyone.

      2. Well, you may simulate your order without log on. After you select an item, click on “comprar” (buy) and then on the right of the screen you will see a detail of your order:
        .Envío a Miami (free)
        .Factura en USA (USA invoice) $$$ X
        .USA internal tax $$$ XY
        .Empaque y manejo (packing and handling) $5
        .Envio a Uruguay (shipping to Uruguay) $ XYZ
        . subtotal $ X+XY+5+XYZ

        Music CD, DVD movies and series, vinyl records and books do not count to the 3 times per year limit.

        1. Thanks! I think I will consider this service in the future rather than Gripper. I like they charge for fractions of kilos. However, right now I’m planning a 2-week trip to the Untied Snakes this (northern) spring. It will be carry-on only to New York, Washington, Alabama, and Denver until the last destination, Portland, OR, where we’ll do our sales-taxless shopping and throw everything into a USD 20 duffel bag from Walmart (which would cost at least USD 50 here) for the return trip. Biggest single issue for me – beyond friends and family – is reasonably-priced shoes that fit (size 46).

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever received a receipt with “God Bless” written on it. How nice! I need all the blessings I can get! 🙂

  3. We just double checked with la aduana online and this is how we interpret it. If the item you purchase includes freight and insurance, then it is included in your $200 limit (franquici). If you contract the freight separately, then it does not count towards the $200 limit.

    One other thing to keep in mind. They want to see the credit card that you made the purchase with and the name on the card has to match the person invoiced for the purchase. I guess that is to make sure your 3 year-old doesn’t qualify as a receiver of the DUTY FREE THREE. Unless of course your 3-year old has a credit card in his/her name.

    1. One gripe with Gripper was when Aduanas over one weekend changed the rules after 0ur package arrived. Our cédulas have numbers that made us look like 7-year-olds, as you describe. Gripper, in typically Uruguayan obliviousness to customer service, simply told us we had to go to the old airport to retrieve the package they had already contracted to deliver. No thought of “Oh, this is a pain the ass for our customer, maybe we can help.”

      I have heard or seen nothing about the credit card, but worthwhile info, thanks.

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