The Perils of Online Shopping

Almost a year into the pandemic, online shopping still has challenges. (Read more here.) We’re currently in lockdown. Everything has to be pickup or delivery, except for the pharmacy and groceries.

I recently ordered something online from Home Depot. This definitely took at least twice as long as a trip to the store would have taken. I’m not familiar with the items at Home Depot. Consequently, I spent a long time searching the website. Eventually, I ended up having a lengthy chat with a sales rep for recommendations.

I made a mistake placing the order. I called customer service to fix the error. He cancelled part of my order. However, a miscommunication occurred. I thought the whole order was cancelled and reordered everything. Again. Re-entering the whole order took more time.

I received the wrong order at pick-up. Somehow the employee didn’t match the order number to the order correctly. This resulted in another customer service call. Then another trip to the store.

Now I realize something similar could happen with in-person shopping. I could have picked up the wrong item, or forgotten something. However, these trips would not have included lengthy calls and chats with customer service reps.

The Pros of Online Shopping

Online shopping definitely has some winning points. You can shop from the comfort of your home, after normal business hours, and from anywhere. Plus, if you’re willing to spend time researching, it’s possible to locate good deals or specialty items.

Many stores have made efforts, or improvements, to offer a seamless online shopping experience. Some retailers even include promotions such as free shipping or bonus items.

The Cons of Online Shopping

I typically find it time consuming. This is primarily because of poor search features. Or being offered too many options. Often, I end up reviewing hundreds, or thousands, of items on a screen to find what I want.

Another peeve is creating online accounts for everything. Some retailers offer guest accounts. Others require a full account set up, even if you’re only going to shop at the store one time.

Finally, all the extra shipping has an environmental impact. Every order usually includes plastic or styrofoam packing materials, boxes, padded envelopes. Plus the resources required to physically deliver items.

Once restrictions are lifted, I’m hoping to get the best of both worlds. Some online and some in-person shopping.

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