Thursday, August 30, 2012

Online shopping

A long time ago, I remember thinking it was weird to buy stuff online & how I couldn't imagine getting anything other than books that way. Books were dependable, you could tell what you were getting from the website & it seemed fairly risk-free. Probably around the same time I started using the SPUD website to order my groceries. It didn't really seem like online shopping because it was a regular weekly service that I'd signed up for & used to do by phone. But really, it was all just a slippery slope to now, where I think half what I buy (keep in mind, I'm not a huge shopaholic) is online.

Our first trip to Europe back in 2005 involved a fair bit of online purchasing. Booking accommodation & travel was the next step for me in my shift toward online shopping. However, I was pretty reluctant to book our flights to Europe without human intervention, maybe because it was $1600? When booking train tickets, I was similarly nervous so booked most of our trips with humans in the train stations around Europe.

The hotels & hostels we booked through websites for both our trips to Europe in 2005 & 2009 turned out great. The places were better than they looked in the photos & with the exception of the one in the Frankfurt red light district, which really was no big deal--even the locations were awesome. Of course, the internet helped with that too--when scouting hotel locations in Paris, for example, I virtually toured the neighbourhoods of the addresses I found with Google Maps Streetview. We picked a place  just outside the Marais, near the Bastille.

A recent online buy: Old Navy sweater dress
Since then, I've bought diapers, contact lenses, an exercise bike, stationery, electronics, a car seat, sewing supplies, fabric, toys, toiletries & I even order pizza online. I've bought a lot of clothing for Sprout online, as well as for Oliver. It seems like men's & children's clothing comes in more standard sizes, so everything I've bought that way has fit well. Women's clothing has been a bit more hit & miss, but I've had good luck recently. The things I've ordered have fit & looked all right on me.

I think the main reason I shop more online now is because of Sprout. It's gotten increasingly difficult to take him shopping with me, so if I can buy things on my netbook when I have the time--say after he's in bed--it's a lot easier. Though the excitement of getting a package in the mail never seems to wane for me. The build-up of tracking the shipment online & envisioning it in a plane coming across the ocean or in a truck driving across the city--that's way more fun than just going to a store.

Are you a confirmed online shopper, or are you still a bit suspicious of buying from websites?

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