Posts Tagged With: us

Quality over Quantity – A World Over

I’m a big girl. And I have a large chest. Anyone who has ever met me probably knows that is the first thing anyone notices about me. And it’s fine. I have grown to love them, despite the problems they give me (see:back problems). With a voluptuous chest comes great responsibility to hold them up. So I must get bras. And any full-figured, large chested woman will answer, “Right, and have you seen the bras they have out there for us? Something out of Grandma’s closet.” And most of the time, they are right. We always complain, “Why aren’t there any pretty bras for me?” But this problem isn’t exclusive to just large-chested women, but also plus-sized women. Our choices for clothes continually seems to be those of a handful of brands: Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Oldy Navy (online only now! Thanks, ON!…)(…I hope you caught that sarcasm…) and Torrid. If you are lucky in some areas, another low-budget pop-up plus-size store will be open in your mall, like Fashion to Figure, or the like. And most women think this is all that is open to us. So young 20/30 year-old women are doomed to look like either 40-year-old woman or the other side of the spectrum, teenyboppers with our muffin tops, breastages, and other parts of flesh popping out of ill-fitting clothes in an attempt to look semi-youthful but looking immature due to our inability to adequately dress ourselves (When were muffin tops ever okay? Really now?)

This has pissed me off. And we let this cycle keep going because we refuse to actually venture out of our comfort zone. I hear a lot of “well, I tried this store and they don’t fit me.” or “I don’t like shopping online.” And I understand these complaints wholeheartedly. But women, we need to stop being irresponsible. That’s right, I said it. When was the last time you measured yourself? I mean, really measured yourself? Go ahead and do it now. Then write those numbers down. Yes, it sucks. But it’s necessary. And guess what? Numbers are an objective element. They have no soul. They have no meaning other than numerical value. If you want to attach positivity or negativity to any number, that’s humans overthinking stuff. The only think I can kinda understand is negative numbers. It’s in the name of the word, I mean. But I actually think they are kinda fun. Things go apeshit when you start multiplying them and dividing and squaring. Woo!! But besides negative numbers, why are we negative about numbers? If you wanna get cranky about big numbers, go look at other countries.

Europeans are ok because they go by 28, 30, 32, 34 since those are based off of actual inches. That’s fine and dandy. But look at UK sizing, our lovely neighbor… They are literally 2 sizes higher than US sizes for the same thing. A size 12 is a size 16. A 14 is an 18. And so on. Why? BECAUSE THEY SAID SO. Why not? Aren’t sizes arbitrary to begin with? Why not go crazy? How does that make you feel? Confused? Me too. Who cares. Korean sizing goes by 44, 66, 88, then 105, 110, 120. Or something like that. What on earth is this? It’s your circumference in milimeters. Why milimeters? WHY NOT? But then bra sizing is in inches. 28, 30, 32…. And then cup sizing is a whole other ballgame. Am I DD or an F or a FF? Wha? That’s right. FF and GG’s are something. And quite normal. But people must remember, bra sizes are NOT universal. A UK 40E and a US 40E are not the same. Let me explain it this way. I’m a 40GG. I thought I was a 42DDD. But if a bra band is loose and comfortable, you are wearing the wrong size. Straps don’t hold puppies up and support, band holds puppies IN and supports too. Oh yeah. Think about that. But the 40GG is a UK size. Why? America doesn’t have GG’s. They stop doubling letters after D’s… Britain doesn’t. So I’m a 40J in America. But you know what? I don’t care. J means nothing. It just means I just have to look harder. But you know what? These bras exist. “But not in America!” Right! Because we have let them run us around. We have let them steal our money and satisfication.

Full-figured women, get your asses over to the other side of the pond. What I mean is, go online and look at British sites. Or European sites. They have demanded fashion at all shapes and they get it. Simply Be, Asos, Eloquii, etc. Stop limiting yourself to the mall. You have freedom, you just have to be willing to give them a shot.

Now, my other qualm with some people are the ones who are like, “It’s too expensive. I don’t wanna pay $30 for a T-shirt.” That’s fine. Don’t pay it. But don’t expect to get good quality. And don’t expect to NOT be supporting companies who utilize countries with lower wages, poor working conditions, among other problems. Do you remember the Indonesian Manufacting Complex Building collapse a few years ago? Companies like Old Navy, Banana Republic, United Colors of Benneton, etc were all producing their clothes there. I know you think “These companies probably never realized it. They were too removed from the process.” But actually, they aren’t that far removed or even removed at all. Profit margins are more important. And we gotta cut costs somewhere. You wanted your shirt cheap. It comes at a price. But even Banana Republic, Gap, the clothes aren’t very high quality. But they charge more. Because they play you.

Sometimes the higher prices ensure good quality, sometimes they don’t. You really have to see about the brand. Check tags. That’s why they are there. To ensure quality. And while the quality is one thing, people must also remember to learn how to treat good quality garments. You can’t just throw everything in the washing machine, no matter how convenient it is. Those bras you just spent $60-70 EACH on? Yeah, just carelessly toss them in the washing machine and dryer and allow them to be thrown around at speeds of 40mph give or take. And you are putting your lace through that? Sure, I’ll do that. Let’s be practical, Yes, they go through some wear and tear through the day but you can make things last longer by taking care of your garments, especially lingerie. You can make any pantyhose last months with daily use if you know how to wash it correctly.

This is a reason why many Europeans don’t own many clothes and clothes are priced higher. The quality is better, they take of their clothes better, and they understand that clothing is an investment. They don’t buy just anything for the sake of wanting something. They spend more of their budget on eating, or something else.

Another fascinating point is, when I got to Korea, I noticed everyone had designer goods. Why? One reason, they want to look good in front of others. Koreans don’t invite people to their house like Westeners. So the only thing they can show is themselves. Their clothes make them presentable. Americans want a clean and presentable house, others prefer making themselves presentable since that’s what people see EVERYDAY, vs. just at a party. It’s a better reflection of themselves in their opinion. Another reason, most Koreans will say, “They have good AS.” meaning, it lasts a while and if something breaks or gets ruined down the line, they can get it fixed by the manufacturer. Can your walmart bag come with that guarantee? Nope. But most high-end brands here do, such as Prada, Burberry, Coach, etc. They will fix it for you at a small charge of about $10-30. Sure it’s a bit much for scuffs or ripped leather, but beats by a whole new bag. So when our Walmart bag gets ripped, we just chuck the whole thing and toss a whole new, adding more trash to the landfills. Some people repair it, sure, but who has time for that? You can’t even handwash your bras but you will sew shut a $10 Walmart bag? Priorities…

An interesting concept to wrap ones mind around is the idea of carrying around luxury goods. Now, in Korea, we carry it around to show how much wealth we have, among many other reasons. We want to look good and give a good impression to others. But Americans flaunt their cheapness. And I mean, “Oh, this little thing? I bought this at Walmart for a steal. It was really cheap.” or “Look at those people. I don’t have enough money to ride around in a Benz. Like I have money to burn on that.” First, you are flaunting your poor status in the eyes of some people. While we might think we are flaunting “our shopping-savvy mind” and our ability to “get the best price”, to many cultures it can look like you just can’t afford the real thing. A lot of my students used to be very surprised that we would happily say we got something very cheap. It is looked down upon in their culture. But this is just a different way of thinking, not a wrong one. I’m not criticizing the American mindset either. Getting a bargain is great, but there is something as too cheap. Remember that stores buy stock with intentions to discount it later to ridiculous levels. Higher end brands don’t always do that.

Just some things to think about when shopping. I know my shopping style has definitely changed while being here. Some might think I am fancy because I buy high end cosmetics rather than some cheap stuff. But when after buying cheaper and more convenient products I ended up with cystic acne scars and have been able to heal my skin plus get my skin good enough that I get compliments on a weekly basis for it, I’m convinced I’m investing in worthwhile products that really do make differences.

Which is cheaper, paying more money upfront, take care of the product, and enjoy it for years? or spend very little, put less effort into maintenance, but have to replace it every 6 months to a year? Depends on the product, sure. But my current philosophy, quality over quantity.

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Categories: fashion, korea, life, plus size, rant, shopping, style | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The USPS – My Love/Hate Relationship

I love the post office and everything about mail. When you’re a child, it feels like a magical place where I can present a letter or package to a friend and then it feels like it is sucked through tubes and magically transported to the receiver, whether they are across town or across the world. I always enjoyed receiving mail and waiting for packages to come was much like waiting for Santa to come, except it wasn’t limited to Christmas day. It was any day of the year.

So after moving abroad, you realize even more just how important that post office is. Yes, there is email and messengers. We can communicate faster these days. But to hold a piece of home or food in your hands from home is much more special and more exciting than that email. It’s hard to describe some days but I love it quite a bit. And I’m sure many other understand this feeling.

As I am not Korean sized, I must order my clothes and a bunch of other products from home to here. That’s fine, I have found ways to do this. But a lot of the problems end up being not on the getting from USA to Korea end, but from the US Seller, to the US destination part. 

I ordered something from a retailer and was getting it shipped to my ship forwarding address. (Some things you can’t ship through this service, thus the plea for snacks. I need to figure out what snacks are and are not allowed. Working on it.) However, many of these ship forwarding companies often have multiple US address. Being the blonde that I am, I mixed the two up into a literal half and half combination (Carson, NJ 90746…. It’s a CA city, with a CA zipcode, but different state, and the street name doesn’t exist in that city whatsoever.) I take full responsibility for this stupidity. However, the retailer didn’t check the address and just shipped it off automatically. Didn’t even email me to confirm that the address was correct. Oh geez. So it goes to Carson, CA. I sent a message on the USPS website asking them to send it to the Carson, CA address since it would be a shame to have it shipped back to the store when it is in the right city. USPS states they will respond with a reply within 24 hours. This was the 20th and after I contacted the store, to which they said it was out of their control. This was on a Thursday. I waited…. And waited… No reply. So I emailed again on Sunday or Monday. Repeating the same thing. No reply, so I started calling on a couple times last week. Yes, I called from Korea. I waited each day for 40 minutes on the phone, only to have no one to pick up. I write a complaint stating that it’s ridiculous that I wait 40 minutes with no answer each day and get no reply when I email. Meanwhile, my package has been floating back and forth between surrounding cities during all this. Now it is being sent back to the store. (I’ve emailed them with the correct address to try again. Hopefully, they send it and respond.) 

Then, on Friday, I get an email. It’s from the USPS. Except I wasn’t sure because it said “Ecustomercare National” as the sender so I wasn’t sure. 

Let me show you, word for word, what this email said. Be advised, I’m including the whole message. There was no signature, no formal letterheading, absolutely nothing. It looked like something my mother wrote (my mother is computer illiterate). 

Mail frequently enters the Postal system with an incomplete or incorrect address. At other times, mail is addressed to a physical location that is not an approved delivery point. Although processes exist to improve address quality, Postal employees work diligently to deliver that mail unless the mail piece specifies other delivery instructions. The objective is not to return or dispose of mail unless it is absolutely necessary. The “local knowledge” of our carriers and clerks often helps with a successful delivery.

Of course, the sure way to get our best possible service is for customers to use complete, accurate, and legible addresses. During our automated sort at, the absence of a complete address is sure to hinder delivery of your important mail. Also, mail is often processed in a facility that is distant from the town to which your mail may be addressed. When there is uncertainty about the correct address, we believe it is better to return the mail to its sender, rather than risk delivery to the wrong person.

We know how important your mail is to you, and taking a few minutes to prepare it carefully and correctly makes a lot of sense and will enable us to give you and the addressee much better service.

 

What the hell is this garbage? You have not addressed me, you have not addressed my personal problem, you have sent me a copied list of sentence thrown together in a computer-generated email. 

I was angered and appalled at this. I look at the postal system in Korea here and it is so much more efficient than the US one. I get prompt, friendly service. It’s quick. If I have a problem, it’s fixed. But this is absurd. This would never be allowed here, why is it allowed in one of the most powerful countries in the world? It is shameful! We are willing to take funding away from a sacred and important branch of government, but we aren’t willing to take away funding from useless politicians? This makes no sense. 

The postal system in the US deserves every bit of funding to improve the reputation of this old institution. Korea has allowed the post offices to have banking services (they are full-functioning banks, much like Savings banks), insurance, home shopping, and other ways of creating profit. Why can’t the US do something similar? 

It just makes me sad at how horrible such a beautiful institution has come. I do not blame single postal workers because they are hard working, like my Grandfather. But the system in place is horrible. USPS, please work on this. At least start with customer service. We would be willing to accept stamp price increases if we at least received the service that comes with it. But when we are treated with disrespect or ignored, how can we be anything but outraged? 

I love you, USPS, but I hate what you’ve become. 

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Korean Food Propoganda

I like Korean Food. Well, let me rephrase that. I like some Korean food. But I don’t always want to eat it. And that’s normal. I was raised in the U.S., in a western household, where we eat typically European-style food. Asian food is not an everyday item to us, just as bread-based dishes are not typical of Asian households. I don’t expect them to be. Many Asians residing in the US eat their traditional Asian-style meals, containing rice and other vegetables or fish that are not a staple in my household. I do eat rice at my house once in a while, and after having Asian roommates, I ate it more frequently in college. But I do get that urge for bread or tomato sauce and cheese once in a while. It’s natural. My dietary habits and Korean dietary habits can be quite different.

Now, I  know I should like Korean food more since I live in Korea but it’s still so hard to me. Food is always a tough issue with me. When I’m not hungry, I hate food. When I’m hungry, I don’t mind it but it still is a chore. I really dislike going out to eat with people but I also hate eating alone. Odd, much? Yeah, I don’t understand it either. But, it seems to be a recurring thing here that everyone will tell me to eat more rice or eat more Korean food. But yet, I would never ask my foreign friends in the US that they need to eat more American food. I recommend dishes for them to try if they haven’t had it based on what they like but never would I really force and actively try to persuade them to eat it. But you can’t escape that here. And it makes life so much harder. 

When going out to dinner with friends, especially when going drinking, in the US, you order a dish or two and drink. And when your meal is over, you keep drinking. You don’t stop unless you’re tired, full, drunk, etc. And then we enjoy our drunken stupor or something of the sort. However, in Korea, they order a dish and keep ordering dishes. Next restaurant, next drink, next dish. It gets to the point that each dish loses it’s individual purpose. I eat, not because I’m craving that food, but because I need to eat something while drinking. And this is not always the case, but very often it is. So much money is spent on food. I was looking on Facebook and saw my American friends’ dinners and breakfasts. It was a one-bowl rice dish with lots of mix-ins. Couscous with cheese, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and… olives? I forget. But it was very simple. And that was dinner! But in Korea, you can’t just have that. You have to have so many things. I feel like that dish would be lost in the whole scheme of things if you put it in a Korean dish. Yes, they have a similar dish, Bokkeumbap (볶음밥), but usually you have Kimchi or radishes or other stuff on the side with it. It’s never alone. I miss that specialness of each dish. 

So Sunday, this was my big concern. And then, today, I come into work and there is an article on the front page of the Korea Times that reads “US TV host says ‘Korean Food is healthy and Delicious'”….

Why the hell is this front page news? Is it a slow news day?

It just seems that Koreans are very insecure about their culture, and especially their food. They think no one likes it and that it’s such an amazing thing when we can eat it. And don’t even get me started on the whole “Can you eat spicy food?” question that bothers most foreigners here.  Yes, we have heard of Korean food. No, we don’t eat it as much as Japanese or Chinese food but we eat it more than Ethiopian or Singaporean food. And this isn’t the first article like this, they always post something about Korean food in different parts of the world or Korean culture hitting other countries. If Korean’s are so proud of their culture, why does it come off as insecure? It’s really strange.

Korea spends so much money on tourism (yes, I know tourism is a big ticket item for most countries) but they spend much of it domestically. They try to convince the people already in this country to go visit their historical sites and natural wonders. It’s a bit strange. I’ve never seen it to this degree in Germany or in Japan. You just kinda knew what you wanted to see before you went or you looked it up on the internet in your hotel room. It’s not littered over every subway, major art center, etc etc. I am tired of these kinds of advertisements. As someone who lives in Korea, I would like Korea to not think of me as a tourist. I would like them to think of me as someone who lives here and probably actively participates in everyday life. I don’t need to be told which places to go for visiting, just suggestions. I don’t even travel in my home country, why is your country any different? This isn’t a vacation to me, this is work, life. I will eat Korean food occasionally but please, let me have my food heritage back. And respect it, as I respect yours. 

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Malltail Guide: Shipping from US to S. Korea – Updated! (Kinda)

Update 9/16/2014 – I have updated most of it but due to needing to have an order to get to some of it, I wasn’t able to update everything. I will update once I order again from the States. I apologize.

For a while, I was so sad about not being able to shop in Korea. I mean, skincare products don’t do well with my skin here (I got horrible acne from them due to my sensitive skin), clothes don’t fit me, etc etc. So, I’ve been searching for a long time online for ways to get things shipped from the US to Korea. I saw many sites online, but all the ones I found were scams that cost money to sign up and more money for the packages. I was tired of this and just gave up. Luckily, a student of mine told me about this site, Malltail, and I was skeptical of if it was real or not but she swore by it. And then I found more and more students using it to buy stuff from my homeland for cheap. So I mentioned on here that I would try it. Well, here is my first package! What a success!! Let this be a guide for any foreigner who wants to use it but doesn’t know Chinese or Korean (there is no English Version yet).

malltail1

 

So, on the main page here, click this button for “Member sign up”. It will take you to a page where you have to click all the boxes to agree (your basic agreements), and then click the next button.

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This is the signup page. I provided the translations for you. I hope you can read it all. Where it says Text and Email notification, the first one is yes, the second is no. I figured most people would click no so that’s why I selected it. Where it says birthday, the two choices are Solar calendar and Lunar calendar. Most foreigners follow Solar birthdays so that’s the first option. If you know your lunar birthday, by all means put it in.

When you click submit, you should get a text message from them stating that you have completed your sign up, congratulations! That means they know how to contact you when you order something. If you don’t get a text message at the end of signup, you did something wrong.

So after signup, go buy something! Have a ball! Order the products first. Make sure you have your order number and order details. You will need it for the next step. Where do you send it?? Not to your house!! They always give you a address at the top of the screen.

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I blurred out my special box number but everyone’s is unique. When you order something, USE THESE ADDRESSES! This is important. But, why do they have a NJ, DE address and a CA address??

In NJ, CLOTHING, FOOD, and VITAMINS are considered necessary items for living and thus aren’t taxed. So, if you want any of those, use the NJ address. Otherwise, the LA address can be quicker. Also, it depends on where the shipper’s warehouse is located. It might be quicker from NJ than LA. (UPDATE! The DE address is an extra $1 more to use, but since it’s tax free on everything, it’s not too bad).

So, once you sign into your account from the main page, this page will pop-up!

malltail3

This gives you the status of your shipments and accounts. Those M-points are just rewards points you can use to pay for shipping. You earn them with each shipment. You can start using them after 5,000 points I think. I’ve never used them because they expire so quick. Just keep this in mind.

Anyway, on to registering an ordered shipment. REMEMBER! You must have placed an order already to be able to input a shipment. Buy the items first then go to the malltail site to register it.

 

So click the register shipment button and it will take you to this page:

Step 1

Step 1

So as I say and check the box then check the address you are shipping to. Then press the button on the bottom right to keep going.

Step 2

Step 2

Then this pops up. Damn all these pop ups… Do as the pictures say and exit out of that those three things.

Step 3

Step 3

So here, you put in the basic order information. Now, if you ordered from Ralph Lauren (Polo), Vitra, Gap (Old Navy, etc) and 6pm, if you click the black button next to it, it will ask for your login info and automatically input your entire order info into the boxes. You just need to tell it what type of item it is. Don’t forget that or it won’t let you move on.

If you didn’t order from these sites, just go ahead and fill this in. If you don’t have a tracking number yet, don’t worry. You can put it in later, or you can wait until you get it and then fill out this page. Either is okay. It might be easier to fill this page out when you have the tracking information so you don’t have to worry. And the prices will automatically appear at the bottom as you enter them in at the top.

Step 4

Step 4 – Entering product info

Now when you click that product type box, a menu pops up.

Product Type Pop-up

Product Type Pop-up

Once you’ve finished that, add Sales Tax, any possible discount amounts, and shipping amount. Make sure the total on the right matches your order total or they get unhappy.

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If you have any sales tax, shipping fees, or discount coupons/gift cards, put it all in those boxes. This is so the people who process your order can understand the pricing. Don’t ask, just do.

The next step is putting in your personal information so it can come to you in Korea. It’s hard to update this because I can’t access it unless I input an order. It has changed again so I will have to update this at a later date. For now, try to use this as a guide.

When they ask for your passport country, here is a list of common foreign countries that might be used. You can look them up in Korean.

USA – 미국

Canada – 카나다

England – 영국

India – 인도

Japan 일본

China 중국

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Once finished all this information, just click the big button at the bottom and it’s done! Hooray! Most of your work is done!

Once you enter this, the site will send you a text message that says they received your order.

Now is the waiting game. They will text you again that gives you the price of the shipping. Once that happens, log back in, and it will take you to your page.

Then you will have to pay the shipping. And depending on how many times you’ve ordered, your membership status goes up and you get a discount on it. Hooray.

Enter the credit card info in and your Malltail password, and click just once! (A pop-up will remind you to only click once or else you can get double charged). Then, it’s smooth sailing, unless you get hit with duties.

Your limits are:

Clothing – up to about US$150-200

Makeup – $100 or so.

Candles (Yankee Candles) – $100

Bath and Body works-type stuff – $100-$150

Other stuff – $150

This includes shipping and taxes.

 

WOO!

And you are done. Congratulations.  If you have any questions, please reply to this entry and hopefully I can answer them.

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Categories: korea, shipping, shopping, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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