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American University
Online Shopping Guide: Luxury & Specialty Items

Here is a very selective list of online shopping sites you might want to visit, compiled by Washington Post staff writers. Click on the links below to go to the other sections of the chart.

Clothing | Books & Music | Electronics | Food | Toys | Tickets | Beauty | Luxury

What they're selling: Stuff you could only buy in Britain, such as teas, biscuits and cashmere scarves-but a small selection compared to the store in Knightsbridge.
Shipping: $4.95 for up to $20 in purchases, $11.95 for up to $100, for delivery in three to six business days. Express delivery available on the third business day for $10 more.
Gift wrapping: $3 per item boxed and wrapped in traditional white gift paper with a green ribbon.
Return Policy: Pre-printed return label included for parcel post or UPS delivery to a U.S. Harrod's address. You will be charged $4 for 5 pounds or less, $6.50 for packages over 5 pounds, for returning an item.
Discounts: Not available.
Critique: If you've ever been to Harrods, gotten a gift from there or are an Anglophile, you'll be thrilled with the initial offering. If you haven't, you may be confused by all the fuss. But there's a lot more to come.
Luxury Finder
What they're selling: Items to accessorize your status lifestyle, assuming you loved watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Shipping: For orders under $499, $6 for delivery in four to eight business days; express shipping in one to three business days costs $16 for orders under $499.
Gift wrapping: Included at no extra charge.
Return Policy: To return an item, you must receive a Return Authorization Number by e-mailing or calling the site; you then pay for the mailing and insuring of the item yourself.
Discounts: If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
Critique: From Elton John candles ($54) to David Webb diamond and gold ear clips ($19,500), this site is an education in the glitz factor even if you never spend a dime. There are hints on how to charter yachts, collect art and how to behave like an aristocrat.
Neiman Marcus
What they're selling: The Dallas-based specialty retailer's wide ranging offerings, from men's, women's and children's designer clothes and accessories to home furnishings, gifts and gourmet food.
Shipping: $5 for orders under $25, $10 for orders from $25 to $100, for delivery in two to six days. For two-day shipping add $6. One-day shipping is $12 extra. Perishable items are sent Federal Express overnight delivery.
Gift wrapping: $6.50 to $10; seasonal wraps available.
Return Policy: A pre-printed return shipping label is enclosed; you pay shipping. Or return merchandise bought online to any of the 31 Neiman Marcus stores.
Discounts: None.
Critique: A special feature-"fractal zoom"-offers an up-close look at details like the glint on the glaze of a spiral cut ham ($60). The site is very quick about responding to questions on email. If you want a product not available on the site, Neiman can put you in touch with a personal shopper who will digitally photograph it and send it to you via e-mail.
What they're selling: Originally, just luxury watches, but now also luxury personal accessories including pens, jewelry, fragrances, leather goods, sunglasses, ties and scarves.
Shipping: Free shipping for orders over $25, with delivery in two to three days. Next-day delivery costs $10 extra, priority next-morning delivery for $20.
Gift wrapping: Free wrapping in red holiday gift bags.
Return Policy: You must call or e-mail for a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA); then you pay to insure and mail back the item to them. You will also be charged for the original shipping costs, which are about $8 for standard UPS ground shipping.
Discounts: There is always a daily special (a recent one included Killer Loop Treacherous Sunglasses for $83.30, regularly $119). There are also lots of gift-with-purchase offers.
Critique: A broad selection of stuff and wide price range. Shopping incentives include an offer to e-mail you if the item you want to buy goes down in price.

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