Getting your hands on the latest technology can be quite difficult, especially in South Africa where we often don’t see the latest gadgets until a few months after its launch overseas, if at all. The onus is thus up to us users to figure out how to get out hands on some face-melting gadgetry.
The obvious answer to this problem is to either get whatever you want when you go overseas or to ask a friend to get it for you when they go, but what if you aren’t traveling anytime soon and you don’t have any friends with frequent flier miles either?
I don’t buy from overseas very often – this was, in fact, my first time – so slightly more shipping was not a problem.
These sites give you a local street address in the US where you can deliver packages to, and further allow you to forward packages to an overseas (non-US) address by means of DHL or FedEx. Along with that, they also offer a “Buy for me” service in the event that a retailer refuses your credit card or the product you’re looking for is not online to buy – obviously for a fee. You can also consolidate packages so that you can ship one package instead of a bunch of small ones and you can ask them to re-invoice a package.
After opening your account and getting your own street address, you can go ahead and shop. I wanted a Nexus S (as I am fairly certain it will never see the light of day here) so I went over to Best Buy and ordered one. It required some creativity on my part – Best Buy allows foreign credit cards by giving you a local billing address, but they point blank refused my cellphone number, so I had to put in a dummy number and hope for the best. Lo and behold, a day or two later they cleared my purchase and the package was on its way to my NYBox.
Once there, NYBox notified me (it can take up to 6 hours after it shows up as delivered in whatever tracking system) and I was able to forward it to my address here.
In short, it took just over a week to get my hands on my very own Nexus S, and, without any added voodoo on my part, it cost less than R5000 all inclusive. That’s a very reasonable price for latest and greatest tech, in my opinion, and it definitely compares favourably to things like the Desire HD sold in South Africa for about R6500.
It may not be the optimal solution, but it is certainly a viable one with good service at competitive rates, and I’d say that South African tech retailers may want to consider getting some new socks to pull up, as it may slow down their business if it gets out that people can get their tech faster elsewhere for less.