Who am I really? An out-of-control shopaholic and fountain pen user living in Australia who loves bargains (and hates often exorbitant shipping charges that kill the advantage of global access by way of online shopping). Why else would I sign up to Massdrop?
My ink collection went from 52 different ink colours (all in retail bottles and no 3ml samples, of course) to about 175, all within the span of the last five or six months. I lose count of how many pens I've ordered in the same time frame; the number is probably around 80, including both cheap knockabout pens and expensive ones that I prize. I'll order from anywhere – local retailers in Australia (such as Milligram and LarryPOST), Amazon.com(.au), sellers on eBay, AliExpress, Rakuten Global Market (and Rakuten Ichiba), as well as retailers in Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Germany, UK and the US that operate their own web sites – as long as the all-inclusive price is right.
US sellers outside of Amazon Marketplace don't generally get a look in on my discretionary spending these days because, other than Nibs.com (and now, as I've discovered, Fountain Pen Revolution), they tend not to offer free international shipping past some minimum spend, or ‘reasonable’ shipping charges; the same Lamy CP1 pen Bureau Direct (which also does not offer free shipping) would send to me from the UK for £3.04 in postage, major US-based fountain pen retailers would ask US$19 or more to ship. Sorry, that's just not going to make me commit to buy.
I have never even heard of Massdrop until someone (in America) recently suggested to me in discussion, on the Fountain Pen Network, that Massdrop offered the Lamy 2000 for less than US$100 from time to time, beating all of the discounted prices I've seen offered by Milligram in Australia, Cult Pens and Bureau Direct in the UK, LCdC in the Netherlands, Pen Gallery in Malaysia, Pen Boutique and Pen Chalet in the US, et cetera, all of which I've bought (plenty!) from in the past. I've also seen some other Australian regular on FPN who mentioned (years ago?) that he bought some Karas Kustoms pens through Massdrop, and I could only assume that the prices with international shipping factored in were favourable.
Now, I'm not really after a Lamy 2000 – since I don't like piston-fillers, and I don't like pens that are apt to lay down thicker lines than their nib width grades suggest – and its only value to me would be as a fountain pen icon, one for the collection just to say, “Yeah, I have one of them too; I don't really like it and don't use it much.” I wouldn't pay €135.54 (LCdC's current offer) or even US$135.54 for it, but if Massdrop offers it for less than US$100 plus a few dollars in shipping, I'd be interested; and so I signed up for an account here.
So far, with the (past and current) drops I've seen for pens and ink, it's been disappointing or at least uninspiring.
As for LCdC not having stock to immediately fulfil orders they take, I only discovered that issue recently. Before Fountain Pen Day weekend this year, I've only bought from them once, back in 2014; the customer service was good then, the prices was right, and the order was fulfilled promptly without delay. I ordered 22 bottles of ink and a Diplomat Aero from LCdC that weekend. I was informed a couple of days later that they were waiting on stock on the pen with the EF nib I wanted, and also three of the inks, and offered to fulfil my order immediately with alternative colours (of pen and ink). I declined.
That said, all but one bottle of ink in that lot of purchases are due to arrive today (within the next several hours), or so Australia Post advised me. Also, while the orders were sitting there unfulfilled waiting on stock, I was able to secure through LCdC – at a very good price – several bottles of a limited edition ink that was quickly sold out from most European and US online retailers, and would cost me more than double to source locally from a small-time Australian online seller I have never heard of or dealt with before. LCdC was very obliging in letting me piggyback on unfulfilled orders and get free delivery for any items I add on in the meantime. These LE inks are also due to arrive today.
I was notified about two hours ago that the Aurora Alpha ‘Tuscan Night’ with EF nib I ordered not 48 hours ago will be shipped tomorrow, and I wasn't expecting any delay because it was the only unit LCdC offered with a steep Black Friday special discount on top of the 20%-off site-wide code. Just for the hell of it, I tried adding a second one to my cart after placing my first order for it, and the system let me but warned in red that they didn't have the quantity (of 1) of the item in stock, but it could be backordered and for me to contact them. Therefore, I expected that LCdC really had that one (and only) unit on hand, as perhaps a loss leader item to attract some shopper traffic. I guess we'll see if it follows through with a tracking number for it within the next 48 hours.
I also ordered a large wooden pen display box (before the most recent drop here for the Lanier) from LCdC. Yes, backordered again. It's annoying. However, everyone else wants to charge me north of US$70 for delivery of such an item to Australia, whether I order from Japan, or USA, or via eBay. LCdC will ship it ‘free’, after I got a fantastic discount on the price with 20% off. On the balance of things, it's absolutely worth it to me. I don't know when that one will be shipped, but I did ask LCdC to hold off shipping it because I don't want such an item to arrive while I'm overseas next week. We'll see what happens with that.
If I want something delivered quickly, I'd probably order from Pen Gallery in Malaysia (free shipping for orders over the equivalent of A$200 or so, and in my recent experience, by FedEx for delivery within about four days) or some Japanese retailer shipping by Japan Post EMS (at my expense) – in one instance, I only put in the request to ship on a Saturday, and it was in my hands here in Australia by lunch time on Tuesday.
With over a hundred pens and nearly two hundred inks here for me to play with, I can afford to wait for most new purchases to be backordered, and I prefer the bargain, even though of course I'm not saving any money if I'm spending it like there is no tomorrow.
You have your priorities as a consumer, I have mine, and neither of us is more ‘right’ or representative of the broader ‘community’ of shoppers and bargain hunters on the Internet.