The Great Alaska Rip-off

I guess that one of the downsides to living in Alaska is being hit, time after time, with an extra charge for shipping items to Alaska when we order online or however we order. I have long suspected that Alaskans are getting ripped off; at least when the US Postal Service is used. I have long suspected that it doesn’t cost any more to mail an item from Austin Texas to Juneau than from Austin Texas to Minneapolis. The cost is the same.


Recently I went online to order a 2018 wall calendar. The calendar cost $15.98. As I clicked through the steps to order I learned that the charge for “standard” shipping was $6.99, but since I lived in Alaska they were going to charge me an additional $9.99 for shipping. That meant the total cost of shipping was $16.98. Thus the cost of shipping was more than the cost of the calendar itself.

In using this retailer’s chat service, I learned that for this item their shipping method was the US Postal Service.

The calendar I was going to order is a replacement for one I have for 2017. In fact, I purchased it from the same online retailer a year ago, though I do not believe I was hit with the extra charge a year ago.

So I took my calendar and made a package for it out of typical corrugated cardboard. The package weighed 10 ounces. Using the USPS online calculator, I learned that the cost of mailing this package from Austin Texas to Minneapolis Minnesota was $3.96 (First Class Package Service). Then I went to the post office. I asked the clerk how much it would cost to mail my package from Juneau to Austin, Texas, from Juneau to Minneapolis Minnesota, from Juneau to Orlando Florida, and from Juneau to Buffalo New York. I was told the cost would be $3.96 for all destinations.

So apparently it does not cost any more to mail this item (and I suspect most items) from the lower 48 to Alaska than to any other part of the country. I knew it.

This is scandalous. And it’s been scandalous for a long time. On an annual basis Alaskans are being ripped off by millions of dollars every year. I wonder why our state government has never looked into this, or the Postal Service itself. Someone should.

Ray Preston,



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