Getting Stuff…in the Arctic

Let’s talk about stuff. Like cars and furniture and clothes. Yes, you can buy limited items like this in the ‘department store’ shelves at the grocery store in most communities, but when I say limited, I mean limited. If you have a favorite shampoo or want the newest fashion anything, you won’t get it at the stores here. And that’s where online shopping comes in. Deep breath, …Amazon ships to Iqaluit. And, we’re all taking advantage of this. Our Amazon deliveries go to our Post Office and the Post Office has a warehouse that we like to call…you guessed it….the Amazon Warehouse. You can’t even imagine what you can get via Amazon until you try. Flour and other dry baked goods, pet food and cat litter, pasta, rice crispy squares, granola bars, toilet paper, furniture, blankets, sheets and on and on. I can get all these items shipped to Iqaluit for cheaper then any department store in the south. All household items like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc, can be bought from Amazon. Again, this requires planning, you might need room to store the stuff you order, you need a Prime Amazon account and a credit card, and a car to pick up your parcels, sooooo, this is a privilege only for the working people in Iqaluit. If you live in the other communities, you can still at Amazon, but you’ll have to pay for shipping, so it’s not really an option, because shipping anything to the Arctic is expensive. Oh, and there are items that Amazon will not ship to the North at all.

Oh, and although it’s free shipping and you have a Amazon Prime membership, yeah, that doesn’t really matter when it comes to timing. We can wait 1-2 months for something to arrive. And, we do!
But, there’s more about getting stuff in the Arctic, and this is great for the other communities who can not get Amazon. You could get a sea lift order. What this means, is you order EVERYTHING you need for the next year, like new car tires, all your dry goods, lumber to build a shed, a new CAR, cases of pop, a sofa, 100 boxes of KD, cat little, dog food, a new bed, new pillows! etc, etc….! Here’s how it works for Nunavut. You contact one of the 3 or 4 companies in Montreal, you send them your shopping list, they go shopping for you, they fill a crate full of your stuff and it comes up a container ship, which drops it off in your community. Container ships will begin arriving soon and can deliver into November.

Did you ever have someone shop for a car for you and ship it to you on a ship? Well, it happens! ha ha (Honestly, some people buying a car will fly down to Montreal, buy their car and drive it to the sealift company.)
So, what do you do with those 40 cases of Coke and 25 boxes of cat litter, 30 cake mixes and 30 tubs of icing? Well, every house in the Arctic has a sea lift room!
A sealift room is a large storage pantry in your house where you can store all your goods. Although I have never used sealift services, I have been in other people’s sealift rooms and it end up being like your own small grocery store with shelves lined up with canned corn and boxes of cereal! It really is quite the site. And, let me tell you! When the sealifts arrive, it really is an exciting time.
All the stores here will be replenished with their own sealift orders as well. I need a new car battery for one of my cars, and well…there aren’t any in Iqaluit. They are all sold out. So, although I didn’t get a sealift order, I too will be excited when they start arriving!!

3 thoughts on “Getting Stuff…in the Arctic

  1. I don’t know that I would be able to live without going to grab whatever I needed in the middle of making something.. or paying a small fortune for it!

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    1. Yesterday I needed butter and milk to make a loaf. Some thing, you just need to spend the money on. But, yes, you need to plan! You can’t just go to the store and always get what you want. A few days ago I needed a whistle. I searched the stores. There were no whistles. I ordered some on Amazon. ha ha

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  2. Pretty crazy that Amazon can ship things so cheap! Glad you are able to benefit from it though!! Us “Southeners” definitely thrive on convenience. What about fast food or booze?!?

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