Friday, May 16, 2014

CandyWarehouse (Service Review)

When I lived in Japan and needed or wanted something which was difficult or troublesome to obtain at brick and mortar shops, I'd do what we are all inclined to do in this modern age - I'd go online and search. My first stop was always Amazon Japan because they offered free shipping, delivered fast, and usually had the best prices. The problem was that they didn't always have what I was looking for. In fact, one of the little challenges of being a foreigner with foreign needs and tastes was that domestic mail order places like Rakuten, Amazon Japan, and even the FBC (Foreign Buyer's Club) frequently did not offer what I was looking for.

It was not unusual for me to search online and discover that there was a place that sold what I wanted at a great price, but that outlet only shipped within the United States. Sigh. It was like dangling a carrot in front of a hungry horse that was restrained in a stall in its stable. Yes, it's there, but you can't get to it.

On occasion, I'd get a hankering for some nostalgic snack or food. Not only that, but I'd talk about food experiences and want to share them with my students. One of my favorites when I was growing up in Pennsylvania was Mallo Cups. They are far too sweet for the Japanese market, which only likes things super sweet when they're talking about pressed sugar sweets to be consumed with green tea, it seems, so, clearly, I'd never find them in Japan even in import shops.

Even when my husband went home to visit his family in California, my desire for this old-fashioned treat could not be satisfied as they are both regional and retro. The shops he tended to visit didn't have them. The only way to get them was to buy a case from an online vendor with a large repertoire, such as the subject of today's post, CandyWarehouse.

Since I live in an area with copious numbers of Asian markets, I haven't had to turn to mail order places in order to secure reviewables. However, I am well aware that many of my readers are far less geographically fortunate than I am. When I was contacted by a representative of CandyWarehouse and offered a chance to experience their service, I took it. I did so utterly altruistically in order to tell my readers about their service and was in no way influenced by the prospect of free candy. No, I'm quite the humanitarian and labor only for the benefit of my kind and loyal readers.

Today, I'm going to review CandyWarehouse's service and I will review the two products that they sent me next week. In terms of their service, I have to say that they are utter professionals in every way. My order arrived in two days and on the hottest day of the year so far. In fact, I was worried after having made an order that included chocolate that it'd arrive in an amorphous blob. Fortunately, a free ice pack had been included and the candy arrived in good condition despite the high temperature outside of 97 degrees F. (35.6 degrees C.).

You can see by the unboxing pictures that everything was very well-packed. There was proper documentation in case of a mix-up with the order and it was well cushioned by copious amounts of paper padding. Frankly, I prefer paper to those air bag things which are so common these days, though I understand that the bags are lighter and lower shipping costs. This preference is no doubt informed by an experience I had in which my sister sent me some porcelain canisters and padded them tightly with air bags. I received a box of shards and flattened plastic bags. My faith in them is not particularly high.

I should note that CandyWarehouse is the only place that will offer you free cold packs (with expedited shipping), so, if you order chocolate in the summer, they're your only option to insure that your chocolates won't melt among the limited number of places that offer Japanese snacks. Since they operate from within the U.S., they also offer the fastest shipping to customers inside the U.S. Their nearest competitors use SAL (sea-air-land) to send snacks from Japan. This rate usually takes about two weeks whereas CandyWarehouse offers a range of services with the longest being about one week. If you want to get something fast and especially to keep it cold, they are the only option that I know of.

I'm going to review the two food items that I received next Monday and Friday, so you can look forward to hearing about them then.


SusieTron FiveThousand said...

Not sure if you are a fan of German food/candy. But does an amazing job of packing your food stuffs and they also include cooling packs with the order to make sure your food stuffs arrives cold.

Orchid64 said...

I love German food! Though not the beer! I'll check it out. Thanks for letting me know about it! It's actually one of the few types of ethnic food that I can't get locally.