I’m going to start of by saying two things:

  1. A HUGE thanks to the Runner’s Lounge and for my new pair of running shoes, and
  2. Wow can shopping from a US website ever be complicated!

Here’s the story. A few months ago, I was selected by the Runner’s Lounge to receive their Extraordinary Runner Award. I had submitted the story of the serious car accident that broke my back in 2005 and how I have struggled to get back into running post MVA. You can read about it here and on my blog here. I thought it was pretty cool to be selected and even cooler that the prize was a $100 gift certificate for! The timing was perfect because my poor old Mizunos were on their last kms.

I browsed online and found the new pair I wanted to order – Mizuno Wave Rider 12’s. I have pretty big feet for a chick and I find the Mizunos give me the best fit without hurting my feet. But, they were going to cost a little bit more than my gift certificate.

Issue #1:, like many US online retailers, only ships to US addresses. No problem – I live right near the border and there are many businesses across the line that will accept packages and then hold them until you come across the border and pick them up. So, I called my service of choice, Hagen’s of Blaine and voila, I solved the shipping dilemma.

Issue #2: uses the Visa Verisign process to validate credit card orders and therefore will only accept credit cards issued by US banks. Hmm, being Canadian, I don’t have a US issued card so I asked around to family and friends, but no luck. Upon visiting the website I see that they accept Paypal. Perfect! So, I transferred over some money to my Paypal account and 5 business days later I was ready to go.

Issue #3: Uh oh, unfortunately you can only combine gift certificates and credit cards – Paypal can’t be used in conjunction with a gift certificate. I called the Customer Service Line and they suggeted I buy a prepaid Visa card and use that. So, a couple weeks later and one trip to Rite Aid in Blaine, WA and I had my prepaid Visa card and was ready to go.

Issue #4: Hmm, prepaid Visa cards still must be registered to a US address in order to validate them. I hope Hagen’s of Blaine doesn’t mind that I registered my card to their address! Anyhow, a quick visit to the Visa online website and the card was registered and finally I was ready to order my shoes!

So, a mere 3 months after I received the gift certificate, I have just gotten off the phone with and my brand new shoes have been ordered and are on their way! Yahoo! New shoes! My feet are going to love me for this one!

The moral of my story is that being Canadian, online shopping from US retailers can be kind of tricky. But, here are a few things to keep in mind to get around the roadblocks:

1. Parcel acceptance companies are a fantastic, hassle-free way of having items shipped. They only cost about $1 per week, however, you need to live close enough to drive across the border to get your items once they are delivered (not a problem for me thankfully)

2. Canadian credit cards may not be accepted so a prepaid Visa card purchased in the US is the perfect way around that issue.

Now, all I gotta do is sit back and wait for a phonecall from Hagen’s and I can zip down and pick up my new shoes. Thanks again Runner’s Lounge and!!

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  1. Bethany    

    WOW! That’s a lot of work… But so glad you will have a fabulous, almost free, new pair of Mizuno’s!

  2. Jess    

    That’s a lot of work to buy from a US website! You’d think it’d be easier.

  3. JenZen    

    Wow! I had no idea it was that much of a pain. Whew. Congrats on the new shoes though!!!

  4. Molly    

    Great tips !! Its sometimes very difficult to do the business wtih the US. I sell on ebay and etsy down there and never had an issue, but when buying from there one must be really careful. I bought the baby bedding online for $99 plus shpping of $14 just to find out they ship only with UPS that charges $54 brokerage fee. Still good deal but not so good as in the beginning, bummer !!! Never thought of having it sent to a business in Blaine but i dont have anyone to go with down there right now, and i am little scared driving alone. But ill keep it mind !

  5. Lisa    

    I stumbled across your blog from someone’s blogroll and thought I’d leave a note to say hi. Your post caught my attention because I grew up in Ferndale, WA (right near Blaine). I had no idea it was so much work to order from a US-based online retailer. I hope you enjoy the new shoes!

  6. Run For Life    

    That credit card thing is a pain. I find usually, if they even care they’ll just charge a $0.20 “international fee.” I’m glad you figured out how to get your shoes!

  7. trainers shoes    

    woooooooo can I get a pair of trainers shoes

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