With the holidays approaching, my wife and I have started looking for gifts for family members. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah falls very early this year, so we have had to get an earlier jump than normal.
My wife found a cute pair of matching nightgowns at Mini-Boden for my nieces. Since they live on the other side of the country, we planned to have them shipped direct. However, when I went to the online checkout, I could not find any options that would allow me to specify that they were a gift. No options to include a gift message or to hide the amounts on the packing list.
I initially assumed this was a bad user interface, since I have seen similar problems before. I once had a similar problem with Pottery Barn, and after contacting their customer support, I learned that on their site, you had to mark something as a gift when you added it to the checkout cart.
Figuring that Mini-Boden must also have some non-intuitive way of doing this, I emailed their technical support. I was very surprised by their response (emphasis mine):
I am very sorry but as most of our merchandise is dispatched from our UK warehouse, we are unable to provide a gift service. These parcels are shipped via International Mail to US Post and must have prices evident on the outside of the parcel. Additionally, the invoice will be sent with the parcel and the prices will appear on the invoice.
If you would like a message printed on the invoice, you may call on our customer service line, 1-866-206-9508 and a representative will attempt this service for you. However, if the order has already been processed, we are unable to add a message.
If I understand this correctly, US law is requiring companies to include the prices on everything they ship into the US. I assume this is due to some sort of customs or tariff requirements.
Or maybe this is just an incentive to try to convince people to make their purchases from companies in the US.