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Thank you! Pardon me for passing on a couple of unsolicited thoughts . . . I probably don't have to tell you, but these moments with your son are better than most of the bullet points that suffice for life accomplishments. Seize as many of them as you can. Your presence is every bit as important as the activities that may make up a list; arguably more. Validate his struggles because they're huge to a young person with such brief life experience. It's practice for the stuggles to come. Provide context and perspective. Speak a bit beyond his understanding. The point isn't that he gets it right away; it's to teach him how to approach life philosophically; how to resolve difficulties through communication; and that one way of expressing love is to listen and understand. The aim is that when your son grows up and faces difficulty, he'll pause and say to himself, "I remember when Dad used to say . . ."

If 2-day shipping time is not an important factor, then what I've started to do is just buy items from AliExpress and DHGate based on looking at # of orders and customer reviews.

The vast majority of stuff on Amazon could be found on AliExpress, DHGate, Alibaba, Tmall.com, JD.com, and Taobao.

At this point, I just gave up and decided to buy items I don't care about that much from their 'source' for less money in exchange for longer shipping times.

I wouldn't be surprised if the same overseas sellers have items being sold across every platform to maximize consumer exposure and potential orders. So many of the "brands" on Amazon are not even brands, it's just made up words next to a generic imported product. Like "iGoEnergeeFan" or something similarly stupid.

The market is just flooded at this point. Any dingus looking to 'get rich quick' could think "I know, I'll get into dropshipping or importing with Amazon FBA!". There are so many bullshit 'guides' already on this kind of 'passive income'.

The idea of selling cheap overseas crap to US buyers at a 200% markup is nothing new - it's been going on for the last 40+ years in retail.

Except, back in the brick and mortar days, not everyone could just open up a store and start selling. There are real estate, geographic, and management constraints, among others. That makes it difficult to penetrate the US Retail market side as an overseas Manufacturer/Distributor.

Fast forward to today, and the tables have turned. I could be the Chinese manufacturer/distributor AND the retailer, thanks to marketplaces like Amazon. Why wouldn't they want to go for vertical integration, when so much more money could be made at the retail level. Plus manufacturing, labor, and shipping costs are so low, the profit margins from selling junk on Amazon are enormous for those overseas sellers - even way more than domestic sellers.

At this point, why would any overseas sellers care to stop? They know the industry, they can directly interface with the factories, and they have plenty of people willing to work diligently to be among the top sellers on Amazon. They are definitely not stupid or naive, they know what to do and how to work the ecosystem in their favor. Those good ole' "produce cheaply overseas and markup in our stores" business models of American retailers have come right back around to bite them in the ass.

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