On-line shopping is great. You save all that travelling, all those crowds, and (at Christmas) that dreadful disembodied voice chanting "do they know it's Christmas?" (yes, of course they do; that's why they're here) from somewhere in the region of the ceiling. And you don't have to buy expensive coffee/lunch/light refreshments, taken because you need to REST YOUR FEET NOW, before they kill you. That's the upside.
Now for the downside.
You log on. Great. You are asked for your password. Password? Why do you need a password? I've no idea, but you do. If you don't have one, provide it now. If you have one, try to remember what it was. Is it the one you use for the bank? Or the one that has to have numbers in it? Or the one with more than 22 letters? Whatever. If you can't remember it, no worries. They will email you a new one. Which means you have to log off and find your emails. Ah. There we are. It's arrived. Your new password is (something like) E35YvZ78sLL0. Nice and easy to rememeber. And you can change it to another if you want to (now, why on earth would you want to do that?). Log on again.
Are you still with me? Good. Now, do your shopping (allow more time for indecision/finding out that they haven't got it in your size or colour etc etc), fill in all the details and go to the checkout. Great. Nearly there.
Or are you?
You have filled in the form, but you have done something wrong. They tell you you have done something wrong, but not what it is. It's for them to know, and you to find out. Name, address, phone no, hair colour - all done. Ah - but have you ticked that tiny little box about abiding by "terms and conditions"? You haven't? Well, tick it, then. No. You don't have to read the terms and conditions, but tick the box, otherwise you have wasted the last two hours.
Then bank details, and that bit about leaving things in the porch/with a neighbour/under the gooseberry bush or wherever if you're not in when it arrives, and you're done. You've bought a pot of face cream, and it only took you three hours. Great.
Then (and this happened to me today), you find after all that, you have been sent the wrong item. You email. No reply. You phone, and find it's an 0844 number (5p a minute, and they keep you waiting for ages, and it wasn't your fault, so you're getting cross), and eventually nice Matt tells you he'll send you the right item, and refund the phone call, and everythng wil be fine again. All you have to do now is trog down to the post office to post back the thing they sent you by mistake. And stand in a queue for hours.