After creating my GCash Amex account and putting money in it, I was ready to buy the books I wanted on Amazon. But wait: what are these books, and why am I so hung up on them?
The books I wanted to have were “Everything That Remains”, “Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life”, and “Essential: Essays by the Minimalists” — all written by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the duo behind the popular website TheMinimalists.com. I’ve wanted to read these books ever since I stumbled upon The Minimalists’ site around two years ago, because I believe they can help me learn what it means to be a minimalist and figure out what my own flavor of minimalism should be like. But, as I mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t find these books anywhere in the country, so I had no choice but to buy them online.
Fortunately, I could now buy them with my GCash Amex account. I went to Amazon, ordered the three books, and entered the California address that GCash and MyShopping Box had given me as both my shipping address and billing address. Amazon’s final price was only around PHP1,860 (including tax), but I ended up paying PHP1,913.43 for the entire order because GCash Amex charged me an additional amount. According to its website, “American Express charges a standard 1.5% above the tagged market rate, while GCash charges a standard 1.5% on top of American Express’ rates”.
I admit — I was nervous because it was my first time doing an online transaction with a sort-of credit card, and I wasn’t sure it would go through! I was scared that my hard-earned PHP1,900 would go drifting off into cyberspace, never to be seen again. Fortunately, my paranoid fears didn’t come true; I did everything correctly and my order pushed through.
I placed my order with Amazon on May 14, and the books arrived at MyShopping Box’s California address on May 18. MyShopping Box offers two shipping options for books: by sea (which costs USD2.99 per pound and takes 45 to 60 days), and by air (which costs USD5.99 per pound and takes 10 to 12 days). I chose the latter and ended up paying almost PHP600, still through my GCash Amex account. (The books weigh almost 2 pounds as a whole, BTW.)
I paid the shipping fee on May 18 and expected my books to arrive 10 to 12 days after, which would fall on May 28, 29, and 30. But these days came and went without the package arriving, so I emailed MyShopping Box’s customer service and asked when I would get my order. The customer service agent reminded me that it was actually 10 to 12 business days, which meant that I’d receive my order on June 1 to 3. He also informed me that my order was expected to arrive in Manila on June 2 and that I would receive it a few days after that because I live in a provincial address (I’m in Cebu) and it takes them an additional four days to deliver to provincial addresses.
That was okay with me; at least I already had a date to look forward to. Imagine my surprise when I received a call from MyShopping Box’s delivery man on the morning of June 2, informing me that he was in the neighborhood looking for my house! I happily ran out to meet him and sign some delivery receipts and stuff, and I ecstatically received my long-awaited books.
So that’s my experience. All in all, I had to wait 19 calendar days from the time I placed my order on Amazon to the time I received my books, and I spent around PHP2,600 in total. If you’re planning to use GCash Amex and MyShopping Box to buy books and other things from Amazon, here are some tips you can use:
1. Calculate the weight and volume of the products you’ll buy. Having this information can help you estimate your shipping costs and figure out how much you’ll pay. In my case, I checked the Product Details section in Amazon, which provides information about books’ shipping weight as well as their dimensions.
2. Always account for GCash Amex’s additional charges to ensure that you have enough money in your account to pay for your order. Amazon charged me USD39.72 or around PHP1,860, but GCash Amex took PHP1,913.43 out of my balance.
3. When placing your order on Amazon, remember that your billing address and shipping address should be the same. Use the address that Globe and MyShopping Box would send you through email when you sign up for GCash Amex. If you lose this address, don’t worry since you can retrieve it by dialing *143#, choosing GCash >> GCash Amex >> View Account Details then entering your four-digit PIN. Globe will send your account details through SMS.
4. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with MyShopping Box if you have questions. You can contact them here.
5. Don’t get carried away with online shopping! Whether you’re a minimalist or not, it’s important to think your purchases through. Sleep on it before placing your order, and ask yourself: Why do I want to buy this thing? Will it add value to my life? Do I really need it? Asking these questions will help you determine if you should proceed with your order or not.
This is my experience with buying books online. Every experience is different, but I hope this article will help you buy books and other things that will add meaning to your life and even encourage you to pursue minimalism.