The thing about online shopping

Thursday, 20 November 2014
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Lately, my doorbell seems to chime like the church bells which go off without fail every hour. It's a succession of deliveries, a nod to the overzealous online shopping mode that I'm in right now.  In fact, I know most of the courier drivers from various companies by sight. Even the grumpiest fella has gotten to know me well enough to crack a few jokes. Ahh....success, at last. We've finally settled into a comfortable relationship where he wouldn't chew my head off for not being at home to sign for the package.

Despite its imbecilic bureaucratic bullshit that most of us have to endure, the U.K is an online shopping haven. I don't have to reiterate how much I hate malls, ESPECIALLY outlet malls. It's like being imprisoned in a building without a stitch of natural sunlight, three counties away so you can't escape easily (ingenious marketing ploy).

Working from home has its pros and cons. Let's start with the negative. My butt has taken root (literally) after being perched on the same chair for hours on end. The pros? I can wear anything I fancy and I don't have to leave my home when I need to get some shopping done. Two weeks ago, I went into the newly opened and lavishly furnished J.Crew on Sloane Street. A chirpy sales assistant greeted me at the door and asked if I needed help.

Me: "Sure. I'm looking for a particular sweatshirt."
Her: "Which one?"
A spiel about its likeness ensued.
Her: "No idea....." Looking perplexed. "We've got sooooo many sweatshirts!"
Me: "In that case, point me in the right direction"
Her: "They're everywhere......!! You just have to find them"

So off I went.....on a treasure hunt. All the customers were left to our own devices while the sales staff gossiped. Cost of this exercise? 30 minutes that I'll never get back. I went home and logged onto to their website. I went through the entire new autumn/winter collection, picked out what I wanted, checked out and paid in under 10 minutes. No smirking, sneering, chirpy and useless sales staff to deal with.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a 100% advocate for online shopping. I still like to touch the fabric, try on the clothes, explore the merchandise, chat with competent sales staff.......when I have the time to do so. When online shopping has been set up to run like clockwork - let's take Zara and Uniqlo (they're both ridiculously efficient) as great examples, spending an hour trying to locate a specific garment and queueing up to get into the fitting room or pay seems like a waste of time. Not to mention having to catch public transportation just to get there and back. Since I have such a low pain threshold for shopping, I often ended up shelling out more money "resting" at caf├ęs in between spurts of activity.

I don't always get it right. This time around, I've had to return nearly 80% of my purchases. Thankfully, I've got the post office literally in my backyard so dropping the packages off isn't a problem. I've calculated I've spent far less time clicking on websites than trudging from one store to the next and all that jazz associated with buying clothes.

Despite being a self proclaimed foodie, let me tell you.....online grocery shopping is THE best invention EVER. I remember the days of wasting an entire Saturday just flitting from store to store when I was living in Auckland (New Zealand). Now? My fingers do a 10 minute exercise on the keyboard and I'm done for the week. No more heavy lifting (other than the occasional top ups) or buying tons of unnecessary (but very tasty) junk food on "special".

Sure, I've experienced a few duds but the pros outweigh the cons for now. What about you?



19 comments:

  1. I had the worst service ever in Hermes recently, it actually left me feeling quite tainted about the brand, online shopping is my holy grail.

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  2. I live in a small mountain village, your average ski resort. The only shops in town are ski shops! I need to get off the mountain (30 minutes by car each way) to experience some of the saddest malls you could ever conceive. Seriously, H&M and under...Online shopping is more than my bread & butter, it's like oxygen!

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  3. I also loooooove online shopping! The lady at my local postoffice once asked if I did run a business, and I´m like nooo, this is shopping in the future! But quite frankly I was a little insulted, I mean, its not that many packages?

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  4. Interesting post. I have never done any online shopping. Ever! I buy from little local boutiques or go into the city centre for the big shops. I like to hold and feel, interact with people, even reluctant sales staff! I've found some gems in local charity shops. Each to their own!

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  5. i live on online shopping.. there is nothing better than buying a new dress without the hassle of going tot the shop and trying 1000090900 different ones and being on line to pay for it for a good amount of time.

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  6. Always online! I love the idea that something is fresh and untouched from a warehouse instead of having been tried on 50 times!

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    Replies
    1. We used to try stuff on when I worked in a warehouse.

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    2. I'd also been sent items that were blatantly sold in stores (especially during sales times - with price reductions manually marked on the tags etc) as well as obvious returns (once ordered a jacket from a very reputable retailer that had long blond hair all over it as well as a couple of stains, needless to say it went straight back and put me off ordering anything from them for a very long time).
      In general though I also love buying online but not so much groceries. I always find they tend to get rid of the stock with the soonest sell by dates which - if you are buying for a week ahead - is not always ideal to put it mildly. I once received three packs if chicken/meat all going off in a day's time so no longer do my food shopping over the Internet even though have to agree it's a real time saver! Irina x

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  7. I love browsing and hunting down cool stuff. But ever since I moved to you-know-where, I refuse to go to most stores because the salespeople hover and are SO pushy. Many of them are totally useless as well if you ask them a non-standard question. It's frustrating and annoying. S in HK

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  8. I've always been a fan of online hopping, mainly because it gives me access to shops that aren't in my town or even the next. My mum loves online grocery shopping too, has done it for years. I think I would do more shopping in store if we had more shops in our town, though I can find it all a little exhausting and especially when they have the heating to accommodate the staff rather then the customers who come in with all their layers, sometimes I feel as though I'm in a sauna! Great post :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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  9. It looks like you broke down your delivery guy the way I broke down my postie! Lots of daily interaction and lots of smiles and "thank you very much" and a pushy little boy (George) asking the postie "What's your name" kind of broke down the barriers and we are now best buddies. Well sort of. Put it this way, I'm thinking of sending mine a Christmas card this year!

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  10. Online shopping is the most convenient for me with two small children. There's always % off or free del codes knocking about but sometimes the delivery charge is less than it costs to park anyway. Plus I can browse shops that we don't have in our town centre.

    I do like the online grocery sites but since I've been on maternity leave I've been walking to the local Lidl as it's SO much cheaper!

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  11. i live for online shopping - it is a life safer. i am nearly done with all my christmas shopping and didn't have to deal with any crowds or picked over options at all.

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  12. I pretty much do most of my shopping online. So much easier and quicker. I also seem to be a regular kind of size mould as I rarely have to return. I think I only returned 2 items last year so yay for online shopping. :)

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  13. I've definitely upped my game as far as online goes, especially when my second daughter came along and I had school runs and a new born to fit in. I agree with pro's and con's. I love going through Quidco for that additional bonus of cash back as well! However I so love (when I have time) to go into shops and feel the fabrics too like you say. Sadly though, I reckon I do far more online than in store now x

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  14. I have major uses for both brick and mortar and online shopping. I love to try things on in the store then stalk them when they go on sale online!

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  15. I a lot of online shopping, but this year I made it a point to buy in-person more because I tend to appreciate my in-person purchases more and to support my local economy. I shop online because my size and style/brands I like are hard to find locally, and I don’t mind to buy pre-owned. On one hand it’s convenient, but on the other it’s tedious to wait over a week for returns. And shipping fees start to add up.

    Things like groceries, beauty products, and every day items, I buy in-store. Certain brands that don't have good return policies + inconsistent sizing or quality I won't buy online, unless I've tried it in person. Other times I look online to get an idea of the sales/items in-store.

    Some stores have the buy online, pick up in store which combines the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of buying in-store. Also it saves time from hunting down items in big stores. I do this with small electronics.

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you about not minding buying pre-owned. You're right about the tedious returns. I'm lucky that I live so close to the post office. It took a lot of trial and error before I found a good online supermarket that I can trust.

      There are so many inconsistencies when it comes to sizing. I wish brands keep it uniformed instead of driving their customers crazy trying to guess our size.

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