What Free Shipping Means

It really is free:

China Post postage label
China Post postage label

Yeah, I’m sure that’s not what it means, but, still…

I don’t understand how the total cost of a nontrivial something shipped halfway around the planet can be less than the price I’d pay to return it. I’m certain it involves massive subsidies and mysterious cash flows that never break the surface of the eBay “Buy It Now!” pond.