≡ Menu

Small is huge at mec.ca

The other day I decided to order a few things online from Mountain Equipment Co-Op in Canada. MEC and I go back a long time; it was just starting up when I moved to Toronto in the 80s, I’ve followed its rise from grassroots outfit to trendy outfitter and have been a member for over a decade.

I’ve made a point of getting stuff from MEC whenever I can [as my long-suffering Canadian relatives will testify] because they have good stuff for running and hiking, and what with the exchange rate and everything, it’s been pretty economical. Needless to say this only applies when I purchase stuff there myself, or get someone else to bring it over for me, because Icelandic customs adds at least 50 percent to the total in taxes and duty fees.

Anyway, the other day I decided to bite the bullet and go for it because I was desperately in need of one of these. There has been so much wind here lately and my poor whiplashed neck has really been feeling it, so drastic measures were needed. However, when I got to the checkout page, I was rather disgruntled to discover that there was only one option for shipping [courier] and it costs 50 bucks. Which was, like, one-fourth of the total order.

So the stuff arrives, and it’s all pretty much as expected – except for the mitts. They were absolutely fricking huge! I mean, I ordered a small – and they’re large enough to fit the Abominable fricking Snowman! [see above]

So I fire off an email to MEC and ask what their policy is for exchange. And – note bene – I do this with a faint heart, because returning an item for exchange bought online here in Niceland is a bureaucratic nightmare. In order to avoid having the 50 percent tax/duty levied a second time you have to take the stuff down to customs and fill out an export form. And those export forms are so bloody confusing that I’ve normally chosen the option of letting customs fill it out on my behalf – for which they charge a pretty hefty fee, all things considered.

Anyway, the answer from MEC arrives – hey, no problem, we can exchange the item for you, just make sure you send the item insured in the mail and with sufficient funds to cover postage. Sufficient funds to cover postage!? Like, another 50 bucks?


Is it just me, or does it seem like old MEC is doing everything in its power to detract from overseas sales? The least they could do is offer an option of sending the stuff by regular mail, if not the first time, then on returns. If I decided to exchange this item – which incidentally cost only 32 dollars – I would be paying a total of 100 bucks just for postage. I mean, where’s the love, people? I thought I was a member of a co-op, not a hard-nosed enterprise with a corporate mentality, that henceforth shall be know as meh.ca in my book.

What else – stormy! It started blowing about an hour ago and it’s accompanied with buckets of rain. Which is okay I guess since it’s evening and I’m about to hit the sack – it would be great if the wind could just whip up during the night and calm down during the day. That would be ideal. It’s fairly mild, though, 8°C [46F]. Sunrise was at 9.42 this morning, and sunset at 4.40 this afternoon.

PS – many thanks to Dumdad, who has kindly awarded The Iceland Weather Report a dummy. As always I’m honoured and delighted with the accolade.