Thursday 19 January 2012

User's guide to on-line shopping

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.



  1. Saves so much time and energy, doesn't it? LOL
    I have solved the whole shopping problem. I let my husband shop, then I send cheques to my nieces and nephews, letting the mother of my 4-year-old grandniece know there's something besides a card in the envelope.

  2. I like shopping - both on-line and off-line, the latter happening a lot more often, because I actually enjoy going to the shops, looking at and touching the items I want (either for myself or for others) or decide I do not want them. Working from home, combined with the very comfortable opening hours of most shops in my town, means I can time my shopping to when it suits me, avoiding the worst of the crowds.
    As for passwords... yes, they seem to be a necessary evil of our times. If anyone ever found the little black notebook I keep in the drawer of my computer desk, they'd have instant access to my complete online life. So I better not tell anyone where I keep all my passwords written down :-)

  3. It's enough to put anyone off! My daughter had such a terrible experience ordering an item for the first time with one major high street shop last year that they eventually gave her the item free! It really was the most dreadful saga of inefficiency (with ordering, receiving and especially paying) that she went to the top level with her complaint.

  4. If I had had an experience like that I'd never do online shopping again. As it is (fingers crossed, touch wood etc) all my transactions over the years have been painless. Either that, or I have shopper's amnesia. I no longer order clothing online though because fit is too uncertain and I want to know what the fabric feels and really looks like.

  5. I never shop online, mainly because I love the experience of shopping - seeing, touching, trying on, and the best bit is the coffee and cake afterwards. Now you can't do that online.

  6. Three cheers for the internet, eh? Time saving, hassle free and so quick and easy?? NOT
    I sooo feel for you! Had it happen to me too...

  7. Frances, I've nominated you for the Irrestibly Sweet Blogger award. Please pop over to mine if you'd like to accept it.

  8. Excellent ideas, Kay!

    Librarian, if only I were as organised as you...

    Rosemary, you'r eright. Top levels are the way to go. If you have the energy!

    Oh, Deborah...What's your secret?

    Maggie, I can have coffee and cake at home!

    Thank you, Pat. You obviously understand!

    Patsy. you are very kind. Thank you!

  9. I used to buy my grocery shopping online for a while an dthen fell out of love with it when I kept getting random replaceement items. I love shopping for Christmas gifts on line though.

  10. "that dreadful disembodied voice chanting "do they know it's Christmas?" (yes, of course they do; that's why they're here)"

    Bah, humbug! Made me smile though. Thanks Frances.

  11. Hui, Colette. Yes. it's a mixed blessing, isn't it. My sister once mistakenly ordered 1111 copies of the Radio Times from Tesco's. Fortunately they queried it!

    Thanks, Mr. V!

  12. I think I must be a coffee bar addict - can't go out without stopping off for refreshments. Great places to sit and dream as well.