I've been blessed to have a customer base that spans the globe, literally, as I now have product in 28 countries. As cool as that is, the one aspect of international business that I cringe in fear about is shipping.
After spending so much time on a bike/bar/fork/stem etc... it becomes like one of your children, and the thought of sending him/her out into the cruel shipping world, to be battered by those with little regard for the craftsmanship and care that we exhibit, can be stressful at times.
I've been very fortunate that in all these years, I've only lost three parcels. One was a restored frame that I had sent to Germany that went missing for almost a year. How do you replace a vintage frame? I began looking for a similar frame from the same era with a promise to make it right, as working through the "insurance" of the shipping systems is a sour joke. I was not having much success when the frame and fork miraculously showed back up on the doorstep of the shop. Hooray! A second attempt got it there in less than a week, go figure.
The second and third items were bars, one to the pacific northwest and one to England.
The England bar was for a German customer who was visiting his parents over the holidays when he saw the Black Friday scratch and dent sale. Grabbing a bar at a reduced price, he was eager to receive it and mount it to his steed. Weeks passed with no bar, months, then as time moved on we finally gave up and sent Dave a new bar in exchange for the lost one. Bugger! I could only imagine where it ended up...probably in a huge parcel cart at customs, sitting lonely and covered in dust with other packages that have met the same fate, awaiting some postal newbie with a pimply face and orange hair to immerse himself in the dark corner, ordered to sort out the lost parcels one rainy afternoon.
Now almost three years later, look what showed up :)
So, my good fortune is also yours. Adopt this bar (26" black steel). Write me a story of why you would be a fit parent and send it to email@example.com by Sunday evening and we'll award guardianship to some lucky reader. Remember, gotta be a "follower" of the blog to qualify. Good luck!
PS...Cibi, please send me an email with your current addy, I've still got the last contest winnings in a box for ya :)