I agree that this is a complex problem with many sides. I think it's natural for some people to wonder why quite suddenly there is a heightened alert placed on the shipping of certain items. I wasn't even aware of any restrictions on shipping perfumes until 2-3 years ago. Back then, it was my impression that this particular regulation was toothless and bureaucratic: I was reading at another site about someone who tried to return perfume to a well known, established perfume house, and the package was denied by the USPS. He was then told by this perfume house to refer to the contents as 'cosmetics', and all would be OK. So, if you have established perfume houses telling consumers to ignore the rules, what are consumers supposed to learn from that? I'd have assumed that if they've been in the business since the beginning of the previous century, then they must know what they're doing.
Arguments on the side of why these regulations seem archaic and overreaching:
- Clearly people have been sending perfumes, solvents, paint, etc, without incident for decades.
- In places all over the world, there is a 'close the barn door after the horse has escaped' mentality about regulations.
- Because this is so prevalent, we ('the people') tend to question the legitimacy of these rules. And guess what? We have a right to do that.
Arguments on the side of why these rules are important:
- Clearly perfumes contain alcohol and therefore are highly flammable and dangerous and should be treated as such.
- Whether these regulations are perceived as fair or unfair, the rules are the rules.
- If there is potential to do harm through shipping, we should err on the side of safety.
I think a few things will happen. First, in the US, people we need to ship using FedEx Ground. This is a little bit more expensive, but will cover most perfume or components. In the UK and certain parts of Europe, it sounds more complicated, since from what I've heard, even ground shipment won't be considered save enough for perfumes.
I think the complexities that this situation creates for commerce may be a trigger to have the inconsistencies looked into again, in the US and UK/EU. And that might bring about some other options. The up side is that there is a great opportunity for private enterprise to step up and provide a solution to this problem. So, I think there will be some months of confusion, protest, reassessment, and then (hopefully) some alternatives. Any other thoughts?