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  • By Blake Watson

The horrors of online shopping

online sopping

Ordering items online is like rolling the dice; you’re never sure if you’ll get the exact product you ordered. Combine that with the frustration of being notified that ‘Guam does not exist.’

Living on Guam definitely has its perks — too many to mention in fact. The pristine beaches, the second to none diving spots, the food! The list goes on and on. However, even paradise has some downfalls. The most glaring to me, isn’t the fact that NFL games start at 4 a.m., or that sometimes brown tree snakes can wander into a transmitter and send the island into a lengthy ‘brown-out!’ No! It’s the crap chute that is ordering online.

Few things are more exhilarating than coming across something online that catches your eye. For some maybe it’s an exact replica of the dress Rihanna was wearing on the red carpet, for others it’s that air fryer you convinced yourself was worth splurging on.

No matter the item, or sometimes the price, the impulsive buy just doesn’t seem to have any downside — until it comes to shipping. You know, getting the actual item to its destination. A tiny island in the south Pacific that, according to some online distribution centers “doesn’t exist.” Doesn’t exist?! There are exceptions, and can sometimes be even more infuriating than not receiving the order at all.

“I was so stoked!” says Jason Mendoza, about his new purchase from Amazon. “I ordered a dual chin-up and tricep dip rack. It’s just the problem was, when it came in the mail there were no bolts to put it together!”

Jason isn’t the only online buyer from Guam to experience disappointment. Jennika Terlaje waited several months to finally save for enough to purchase her family’s patio furniture. A great deal on eBay no less, a whole set for $12.99. Check out. E-mail confirmation. Yellow slip in the mail box. Delivered.




“I thought something was off when they handed me one small box at the post office. I opened it as I walked out and it was patio furniture. Patio furniture that would go great … in my daughter’s doll playhouse!” she said. “I couldn’t believe it! No wonder it was $12.99!”

Now, whether she could tell it was small or not from the picture is still unknown, but too true are both of these stories. I myself have tried to navigate through the rough waters of online purchasing living on Guam.

A child of the late 80s early 90s, I’ve been an on-again-off-again collector of anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new line of toys is great and all but it just doesn’t seem to hold the nostalgia the original Playmates line does for me. I’ve said all of this to say that the best place to find vintage toys online, in my opinion of course, is eBay.

Cruising through eBay for a vintage toy collector is much like walking through a virtual mall of your childhood. You can find almost any and every toy that existed in that splendid time. I was so overwhelmed just trying to find that one certain something.

Finally, I found the purchase worthy of the money I had slaved about a week and a half for. An original 1989, complete in parts and with the original box, Ninja Turtle Party Wagon. Buy it Now. Confirm and Pay. Await confirmation E-mail.

Everything was all good, and going seemingly well. Until about 2 days later, when I noticed that I had been refunded the exact amount I thought I had just spent into my PayPal account. No explanation. The seller, I guess, had decided to end the transaction, and really with no explanation. Weird.

OK, well if at first you don’t succeed, right?! Oh, look at this! What a chord my next find struck. It was an original 1989 Playmates Donatello figure (the first one of the series I got as a kid). I couldn’t click buy fast enough! Again, await confirmation e-mail. Again, a refund in the exact amount of what I thought I just spent. No explanation. I’ve since been told by other collectors that it’s nothing new. Some sellers just don’t trust that Guam exists or that anyone buying from here is going to pay them? I really don’t know seeing as myself nor anyone I’ve spoken to has ever gotten a logical explanation.

I do hold out hope, however, that one day ordering anything on the internet isn’t such a pain. I have faith that as technology advances, Guam will no longer show up on a seller’s list as too far to ship to or, at least more will be made aware of the fact Guam exists. It does. We do.

The residents of Guam like shopping and online ordering as much as — if not more than — anyone else due to the fact that the brick and mortar options are so limited. Ordering and receiving online have made strides in the past decade for sure.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Ten years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find any seller on Amazon that would ship to Guam, now it’s rare you find one that doesn’t, even if they do charge triple what the item you’re buying costs and it takes eight weeks longer than expected to arrive. Must have got caught up in Richmond.


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