I spent the bulk of my career in private industry, selling and delivering professional services and computer systems to a global customer base. No market was too small if there was the slightest chance of making a deal, and crossing borders with both people and products was commonplace. Of course the appropriate rules had to be followed such as visas and export permits and so on, but that was simply a cost of doing business, and one we accepted.
That was before the internet became so ubiquitous and global markets became a reality for pretty much everyone with an IP address. Today your customers can come from anywhere in the world, seamlessly crossing time zones, oceans, borders, and language barriers. And if you’re serious about your business you will figure out a way to service those clients.
But some haven’t got the message and are losing business as a result.
Today (and not for the first time) an inquiry to a US vendor of motorcycle parts was rejected with a curt “we don’t ship to Canada”. I had about $100 in small hard-to-find parts I wanted to buy from this vendor, but he couldn’t be bothered to put an extra couple of $$ postage (which I would pay for anyway) on exactly the same small box he would use if shipping to Calif. As I reminded him in my response, it must be nice to have so much business that you can ignore 35 million potential buyers.
And then there’s eBay, where it’s common to find free (or nominal) shipping Stateside but quotes of $50 or $60 for shipping to Canada. When the actual cost would be in the $5-$7 range that’s just another passive-aggressive way of telling us you don’t want our business when you don’t want to be honest about it.
To be fair it’s not all US-based vendors, not even close, but it sure rankles when you find something you really want or need only to be treated like you’re asking for the equivalent of a Mars resupply mission to have that $20 exhaust valve shipped 300 miles to your own mailbox.
End of rant.