In my previous job, I used to travel internationally a bit. To the point where my kids, especially my son, the Prince, were accustomed to my going off halfway across the world for a couple of days every month or two. And, when I travelled, I tended to come back with multiple gifts, generally things I couldn’t get at home or were slightly cheaper in those countries. I have spent many a day walking between aisles in the Disney shop in whatever country I’m in and frequenting sneaker shops.

About two years ago, I went to Paris for a launch and the Prince was very specific about what he wanted – a baseball-type jacket. First chance I got when I landed, I went on a jacket-finding mission, walking up and down little alleys, eventually finding one in the window of a small shop that sold leather jackets. But, it was closed on that day so, the morning of my departure, I rushed over having practiced my French enough to ask for a jacket for my then six-year old son. In the shop was a lovely, elderly North African gentleman who, upon hearing my broken French, gently took me through the options. Those of you with children will know how hard it is trying to figure out sizes, especially when the child isn’t with you. I bought a blue (with white sleeves) jacket in what I hoped would be a size bigger.

I got home and excitedly pulled out the jacket only to see disappointment on my son’s face. I had missed the part about his wanting a green jacket and, the jacket I had bought was about 3 sizes too big. It has now been hanging in his wardrobe for two years, never worn. He has outgrown it and I haven’t been able to return for obvious reasons.

Since this episode, I have become a bit more of an online shopper, although a challenge has always been, what to do when something doesn’t fit, or doesn’t look like it did on the site? The process of returning something can be drawn out and often as expensive as it was to get it shipped to you.

I signed up to PayPal a few years ago and it’s been useful when buying online. I get people to pay me through PayPal for international writing work and use that to make my purchases, from collectibles like figurines and hoodies from the Public Enemy site to Lego and Disney. To make things easier, PayPal is now offering Refunded Return Shipping as well as Buyer Protection, which means that the work involved in returning orders is reduced. With this, I’m willing to try stuff out a bit more, knowing that it is simple to return things, like rings. I bought a skull ring (which I collect) and it was too big. With Refunded Return Shipping I can return the ring and get the correct size without incurring extra costs.

To get this benefit, you simply need to activate it on the site. Also note that there is a cap in terms of the amount as well as how many you can do between now and December 31st, 2016. But, it is a convenient service to have access to. Check it out HERE.

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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