There is more to shopping than just buying - GulfToday

There is more to shopping than just buying

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

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Representational image.

Back in the 80s and 90s, and before, the equivalent of online shopping was mail shopping, meaning, you’d flip through a catalogue, tear out the form and fill it in with the code number of the item you want, along with a cheque and your postal address and post it to the company. The item would arrive a few days later.

In London I did quite a bit of this type of shopping for clothes back in the 80s and 90s but, more often than not, the item I ordered was never quite what I thought it would be. There was always something off about it. It was either slightly too long or too short or the darts were in the wrong place or the shoulder was ever so slightly drooping or the colour was not what it appeared to be in print. And a lot of the time, the item always looked better on the model.

Returning it was a palaver. I’d have to repackage it and physically take it to the nearest post office and then wait until I got a cheque refund through the post which I would then have to take to the bank. The hassle was so much that, after a while, I just let it go and decided never to order anything through the post again. Let’s face it, there were other options like going into a real shop and actually trying on the item before parting with my money.

Today this mode of purchasing is called online shopping and, instead of a physical catalogue that came through letter boxes we now have websites. But the perils remain the same.

I have been seeing countless Facebook postings from ladies who’ve bought shoes or tops that turn out not to be the size the website purported them to be and are now hoping to sell them to someone else. Even today, you can often end up with the wrong item or the right item but not quite as was described in the product description. It can also arrive damaged, too small or faulty. This applies to food items too where the quantity can be wrong, or if they’re fresh fruits or vegetables, they can be raw or over ripe and, if they’re dairy products or other goods, they can be past their sell-by date.

Placing an order is not always as simple as people make it out to be either. I’ve read postings from people trying to order things from online shops and having problems with the simplest act of going to the checkout. Sometimes the site might be having issues where you can pop items into your cart but cannot check them out because that function of the website may be down and the owners don’t know it.

But once the order is placed, there’s another game you have to play and it’s called the waiting game. Again I have seen so many postings from ladies who’ve ordered something from an online shop wondering how long it usually takes for them to deliver because they’ve been waiting for ages and nothing’s arrived. And then when the delivery is on its way, you usually get a message first thing in the morning that it will be delivered before 1pm or between 1pm and 7pm. That in itself is frustrating because then you have to wait around all day for the delivery guy who never turns up when he says he will.

I once had someone call me to say he is near my building and could I just tell him my flat and entrance number. Now the building I live in is famous; the entrance numbers are clearly marked and there are famous coffee shops and restaurants around each entrance. But it took the delivery man 45 minutes to get to me even though he was in the centre.

Aside from all these stories I personally don’t like to use any form of electronic payment method. There are risks of fraudulent payment platforms or the platform just doesn’t work, fake websites that don’t actually sell anything and are hoping you’ll divulge your personal and banking details and, of course, there are always online sites selling fake goods masquerading as the real thing.

Why anyone would want to choose this method of shopping as opposed to going out and seeing, feeling and trying things on before buying is beyond me. You know, there is more to just shopping. It’s getting fresh air and a change of scenery, none of which can be replaced by a website!

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