Mail Dominated Society

You've likely ordered something from Amazon or eBay.  I think the amount of people who have never received a package from the mail has dwindled enough to the point where I can safely say that.

The way we receive mail here is varied.  We can receive a sea freight shipment of cargo from the U.S. and it'll take 3 months.  From Australia and it'll take 2 months or so.

We can receive a package via USPS in about 15 days if it is FAST and good, but more often 30 days.
We can receive a DHL package within 30 days, usually.
We can receive airmail cargo from Australia within 30-45 days or so, sometimes more quickly depending on when flights are scheduled.
If someone gets hurt and is medivac'd sometimes much faster because the plane backloads with cargo.

And if we know someone coming from our home country who is willing to hand carry something, in that rare occasion, we can receive something within weeks!

We can drive into town and hope they have something affordable that will do. (3.5 hour drive one way).
Or we can go to our local volunteer run stores and see if they have something that will suffice. (minutes).

But same-day delivery, next-day delivery, practically NEVER happens.

We're by no means without supplies, or without avenues for supplies.  But we also do not have anything that happens instantly or quickly.
As a result we have to plan and be patient.

This always come into focus around Christmas time.  People sending packages, wondering around August if they should order some gifts for their families, etc.  Having returned from furlough only a short 1/2 year ago, we may have packed a few christmas gift trinkets in our luggage and tried to hide them from one another.

Or we may opt like we do many years, to just have a very simple Christmas.  I REALLY love those.  One of my favorite gifts one year was a six pack of Dr. Pepper because my wife bought some in the local store when they were in stock, and saved them.  I haven't had a Dr. Pepper in months.

So, it may seem to some like we're way out in the middle of no where with no 'fast access' to anything and that may be true, but we do have the ability to receive packages and mail, we just don't have the 'instant gratification' of fast delivery.

Sometimes a place won't ship internationally.  So we have a go-between.  A group of people in the U.S. who receive and repackage and ship items for us.  They charge a fee, which almost always doubles the cost of the item, but in a pinch, it is nice to have a U.S. mailing address.

We pay customs taxes for everything that comes into the country.
So, if you see something on Amazon for $10, with next day delivery.
It'd likely cost me $35-$40 and arrive in a month or so.

Which is why, we don't really order things unless we REALLY need them. 

Funny thing is, sometimes you wait so long, you forgot you ordered something.  And then it comes a month or so later, and you get it and think 'oh yeah! hey I needed one of these!'

All of this lends itself to the 'make do' mentality I so enjoy, and the 'jury rig it' habits I have developed.

I chuckle at myself because some of you reading this are thinking 'that sounds so awful! they don't even have malls!' and all the while I'm thinking 'this is such a wonderful way to live.'

It forces you to eliminate online 'impulse' buying almost entirely.  It forces you to contemplate what you truly need and can't live without.
I'm not saying that everything I own, I can't live without.  On the contrary, we are very aware of all of the excess even living this lifestyle.

I'm not sure what the point of this post is, other than to explain how the mail works here and how that has affected our lifestyle.