Why Amazon?

unnamedAll I needed was saddle soap. Just one small, hockey-puck sized tin of KIWI brand saddle soap.

I knew what it looked like. After all, hadn't we schlepped from North America to South America one of those flat, round tins? We'd carried it from the years when a good waitress job helped me put the spouse through graduate school, a time when I literally kept a record of every penny we spent. The list was sweetly young. A few cents for gum, carefully noted. Boones Farm wine, 99 cents As Benjamin Franklin said--a penny saved is a penny earned.

But over the years, somewhere between those absolutely frugal years and now that tin of KIWI saddle soap had dried up and been tossed out. I'd twisted one last time the 360 degree opener, to find the the tin holding a few unusable bits of crud.

Who needed saddle soap? Our's was from days when my husband weekly faithfully polished his shoes (and mine if I was lucky). He had small brushes for the tins of black, brown or neutral shoe polish. And large soft brushes that would be used to--I don't remembered for what! We'd carried the gear about for years after he'd given up polishing shoes. I used it to polish the Peruvian leather tables we'd picked up along the way.

But memories left me no closer to KIWI saddle soap. So I thought, how hard can that be? The product is still made. So I went to Target to look at the end of the small shoe aisle where other shoe products were kept. One tin of KIWI shoe polish in brown sat lonely in the back, the rest of the polishes were squeeze bottles in the color black. No saddle soap.

What is saddle soap for? The husband offered that maybe I needed to go to a horse supplier. I wasn't hopeful. Saddles are large, their saddle soap probably came in gallon sized containers.

Life abroad had taught me things aren't sold logically. In Curacao, king sized pillows weren't available in any stores with linens, but I did find two lonely ones atop the highest shelf in the grocery store next to lighter fluid. In Ecuador, illegally imported goods were found in the small room accessed through the two bathrooms at the back of the bodega, thus we forever after called it Dos Baños. 

For about 4 years of the 6 years I lived in Mexico, I sought a replacement knob for my VW Jetta radio. Given the VW Jetta was made in Mexico, the parts stated they were made in Mexico, I thought I might find the part in Mexico, but I never could. The VW dealers didn't have, couldn't order and did the Latin American shoulder shrug when I asked to buy the knob, translated what can you do?

Visiting family near Englishtown, New Jersey I saw a VW dealer an easy right turn off the road. I went in, told the parts manager my story who laughed at me in disbelief but sold me the knob that I couldn't buy where it was manufactured.

So I knew what I could do. My fingers itched to buy the saddle soap on Amazon and be done with it. The very same dumb item to buy that our family had laughed at our son-in-law when he bought shoe polish on amazon.co.uk. My apologies Dan who said he did it because it was easy.

I did too. Then I guilted myself into canceling the order the first time when I saw that this item would take almost 14 days to arrive. So much for Amazon Prime, more like lowercase amazon subprime. But within days of canceling the first order I realized I really didn't have a choice. Yes, I could spend years on this, but my time was worth more to me.

So I ordered the KIWI saddle soap again. It won't come till March 1st, but at least I don't have to spend the next 4 years in search of it.

And I bet you would too. So please don't hate me Josh.


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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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