For many expats, a visit to their home country means loading up on items that are either unavailable in their overseas location or available, but lacking in quality or excessively expensive.
For my family, that means most of our clothes and shoes, as well as things like toys, vitamins, toxin-free shampoo, and Christmas gifts get purchased in the US and checked as luggage on our return flight to Thailand.
I realized on our first visit to the US after E was born that power shopping and babies do not mix, hence the amount of online shopping I attempt to do before we even set foot on US soil.
Despite all the advance purchases, I still spend more time than I want rushing through Target and the various malls once we arrive in Ohio, looking for the brand of socks they had last year, but no longer carry; the dye-free infant ibuprofen, not the regular; and the mascara I forgot to buy the summer before. By vacation’s end, I never want to set foot inside a mall again (part of the reason I avoid Bangkok malls during the rest of the year).
In the days before our departure, we transform the basement of my mother’s house into a staging area and get out the duffle bags we stuffed into our suitcase back in Thailand. Into the bags we throw all of our purchases—second-hand puzzles, trucks and games from community garage sales; toothpaste and cough medicine and chewable pain reliever; tennis shoes for R and I; sippy cups; Halloween costumes; a couple of cookbooks; and enough Burt’s Bees chapstick to last for a year (12 tubes, I’m addicted).
Is it slightly insane to do that much shopping in the space of a couple of months and schlep it across continents? Yes. Is worth it? Absolutely. Which is why I’m glad to find out I’m not the only one doing it.
What about you? Do you shop online? What items do you buy? Does it work for you?