Skip Stores And Middlemen: Shop Directly From Chinese Wholesalers

Instead of buying inexpensive, mass-produced junk from China at your local big-box store, why not save time, avoid human interaction, and go right to the source? You can eliminate layers of middlemen by ordering from a wholesaler in China. It’s easy and affordable to do so online for everything from phone cases to wedding gowns, but should you?

The Wall Street Journal is very fond of the idea, citing the example of a nice-looking parka that they were able to buy for only $68. When it comes to clothing, one problem is with sizing, since people in China are generally smaller than people in the U.S. One of our readers had a problem with this last year when buying a bathing suit on Amazon: the Marketplace seller he used was in China, and the suit’s sizing not consistent with what he was used to.

Another problem that you take on is a lack of product support and many of the consumer protections that you’d get buying similar junk at a local store. (Example: I bought a small FM modulator for my car that suddenly died after a few weeks of use. Not only do I lack consumer protections or a warranty, but the Alibaba seller I bought it from has since disappeared.) The company that the WSJ used probably isn’t going anywhere: they’re called LightintheBox and even have stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Who Needs Amazon or Wal-Mart? China Cuts Out the Middleman [Wall Street Journal]