Yee ha

Victoria Hawkins: This week the (expensive) tale of the Foolish Maiden and the Black Cowboy Boots. What with the dollar being rather an attractive currency at the moment, buying stuff from the States has probably almost never been as 'cheap' as it is now.

Victoria Hawkins

THIS week the (expensive) tale of the Foolish Maiden and the Black Cowboy Boots.

What with the dollar being rather an attractive currency at the moment, buying stuff from the States has probably almost never been as 'cheap' as it is now.

So enter aforementioned Foolish Maiden. She wanted a replacement pair of black cowboy boots so she went hunting on her keyboard and, slap my thigh, but what a bargain they were on-line from America. Actually almost half the cost of buying the same pair in England.

Well, who could resist? Mrs H couldn't for one. While the boots - all the way from Laura, Wichita, how good is that - were indeed a steal, the cost of shipping them ($54 odd) made her gulp but she bit the bullet all the same, clicked on Confirm Purchase and started humming Glen Campbell ditties about linesmen and rhinestone cowboys.

She was very excited indeed. Even more excited when the company, who'd said delivery would take about a week, confirmed the very next day that the Heritage ladies boots, in black, size 7.5 US, had already started out on their long haul across the Atlantic and that she could track their progress if she liked. Two days later again and they'd arrived.

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They were perfect, as in almost exactly the twins of the pair she was replacing, which have already been re-heeled and are now going through the soles.

It was a classic Cinders moment - they fitted. They were lovely.

Or they would have been had the carrier not whopped another cash charge on her before they'd hand over the box. How much? Only another £29.51, which she now knows is down to Landed Freight Value, plus VAT, calculated from tables set by HM Revenue & Customs.

Gulp. The boots that arrived had now cost her exactly twice the price they were on the website. So beware of being seduced by 'bargains' from overseas because this particular Maiden, though well shod, now feels rather gullible and more than a little stupid. What a twit.

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