This may not come as a surprise to any of you foreigners, but the island I live on (a big one) has this muppet with glasses running the show, and since the opportunity to close the borders 18 months ago availed itself, the prices of "stuff" has steadily risen... ...to the point where it now costs TWICE as much to buy bloody guitar strings locally. Now I know there are "layers" of profit-seeking wholesalers and retailer markups, but it's now pretty brutal and so obviously ridiculous that I've lierally just ordered almost $1K worth (yes not a mistake) of strings from Thomann. Why? Simple. Prices HALF what the same brands would cost me here and shipping via UPS (of all shippers - the most expensive logistics in the world from my experience) landed in 3 days - 59 bucks (AUD) Now there is no way I'm going to need strings for at least another year, maybe more - if I change them once a month on all of my guitars. and that really effing bites. I used to go down to my local store once every couple of weeks, buy a few packs, have a chat - be a bit sociable. now, I have no 'NEED' to go there. Of course, it also just happened to coincide with a lockdown, and that's been well, beneficial. I'm not saying that in an overwhelmingly positive way mind, it's just a stroke of luck that I had ordered stuff and it arrived while in lockdown, thus no need to go and expose self needlessly (or needfully) to a delta variant risk. But the prices.... Let me use an example - Thomastik flatwounds.... price here is literally double what I paid. Not only that, availability from the local wholesaler is at best.... effing terrible - as in they are literally the most apathetic supplier on earth, even getting a price and shipping estimate by my local store was just excessive effort. So bugger em. and all the others. I am happy that I could also buy the Ric strings for half the local retail price also... that literally saved me about 350 bucks. Can't complain about that. Not to mention *ANYTHING* Rickenbacker here in Australia is all but impossible to obtain and exhorbitantly overpriced anyway. (buy direct and dropship is cheaper, even with a 100% markup and exchange rate fees). So fellow antipodeans, if you're having issues, maybe look to the big T if you are not getting much satisfaction from the usual online retailers (including the US ones). It's just sad that importing stuff like this effectively kills my retail relationship with local stores - and they cannot get better prices than what they quoted... so everyone is being screwed by opportunists. it's like artificial inflation.