Online Shopping: The Good and The Bad

Online Shopping

Shopping online can be a little bit of a gamble. Sometimes you don't know what you're getting into. Some stores aren't clear about their shipping charges or their return policies. Sometimes the quality is poor or the shipping takes too long.


IT'S A BAD SCENE, MAN

I had a nightmare shopping experience on Overstock.com and will never go there again. I had placed an order for an umbrella. After they charged my credit card a month had passed and I never received my order. I called customer service, and I used the live chat option on the website several times, only to be told over and over, "Just give it another few days." It was as if no one would even bother looking up my order, they just read from the script. It took me almost 3 months to get credit for the purchase I never received.

Wine.com was another nightmare. Wine.com charged my credit card for a huge order I placed. Every single operator I spoke with about my missing packages confirmed that the Fed-Ex receipt stated my order was never picked up as my packages were never made ready for them. Yet every single one of the wine.com operator I spoke with refused to credit me since I placed my order through a third party site. I had to speak with my credit card company to get them to go after wine.com to get my money back. I'd seriously caution anyone from doing business there.

One more bad site I'd like to mention is petfooddirect.com. The prices are truly ridiculous. Currently a can of the dog food I feed my dogs is about $1.77 on the site. At my local superstore it's between 99cents and $1.20. Even at a more expensive supermarket in my area the same can is up to $1.40. And don't forget we're looking at pricing prior to shipping costs. Shipping on petfooddirect is really high. I realize the food weighs a lot, but I still feel they charge a lot for shipping. Even when you add in an incredible discount or coupon or sale, you're still looking maybe 20 or 3 0 cents more per can than you'd pay anyplace else.

I love to shop. Anyone who's read my articles and blogposts can figure that out. I enjoy hitting the shops and checking out the wares for myself. But I really do love to shop online in the privacy of my own home.


SCORE!!

Sometimes it's pretty easy to shop online when you know exactly what you're buying. If you know the label or manufacturer, the exact size you need, how much it should cost, and any other variable, then it's just a re-order of something you already know is a good deal.

Every year I buy a few classic style Saturday boxy fit T-shirts from LL Bean's website. I order a few pairs of Levis from JC Penney online. And I hit the Cabela website for some snowmobiling gear. These purchases and these sites are consistent, tried and true, reliable products I know very well.

And then there's the online stores you just love to cruise. I have a few sites I love to patronize for different and new purchases. I’ve gotten really excited about:

1 - Ebay! I've been an Ebayer since 1996. That's a long time! I almost feel like I discovered them. When I would tell people about Ebay back then, no one had even heard of them. Vintage snowglobes, great pieces of McCoy pottery, I was virtually shopping in antique stores all over the globe while sitting in the comfort of my own home. It was novel at the time, and it was addicting! On Ebay to this day I still buy quite a lot of vintage holiday ornaments, and I hunt for all my favorite collectibles. Because of the "feedback" system, you get to examine reviews on just how well a seller has conducted themselves in the past. Hey, what walk-in shop can give you their last 1000 customer's thoughts, in writing, upon request?

2 – Nutsonline.com is another terrific online venue. They turned me on to raw pistachios, dried cantaloupe and dark chocolate covered espresso beans. And they always stock tons of my favorite snacks. All the nutritional information you'd need, all the healthiest and most delicious snack choices you could wan- it's all right there. They also have a mind-boggling selection of coffees available in every grind - decaf or regular. Wasabi peas, unsweetened coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, peanut brittle, and nuts nuts nuts! You'll find TONS of snacks, it's never-ending. I can't find many of these delicious treats anyplace near me. They offer sample sizes of some items and they'll send you some pretty cool promos, like scoring a free pound of chocolate covered dried cherries with your order of $50 or more. I've never had a bad transaction. I highly recommend this site.

3 – HSN online. No, I am not kidding. There is a Television channel for the Home Shopping Network, but I'm not talking about the deal of the day or whatever it is. Honestly I never watch the channel, I don't even know where it is on my cable. I'm just talking about the crazy-good sales these people have on their website. When they say “Clearance” they mean it. I got my king size featherbed which was retailing for $179.99 on clearance for only $11.00! No lie. I regularly check shoes and handbags on clearance on the site. Once on sale, things go fast. Obviously when things are put into clearance you're looking at limited quantities and not all sizes and colors will be available. If you see something you really like, go ahead and grab it up instead of missing out. But if you can stand to gamble, wait on the blowout sale stuff. A gorgeous Sharif handbag that began at $400 could be had for $40 once it's on clearance. DKNYC, Hot in Hollywood, Twiggy London, IMAN Global Chic, and Eat Pray Love are just some of the outstanding designers that are part of the HSN team. Sure some of the items are better quality than others, but if you shop the site a bit you'll learn what designers are good for you, and then you just have to watch the Clearance items for the great steals. It's worth checking out. When you hit, you hit big.

Earrings You Love!

Did you know Ametrine is a gemstone consisting of Amethyst and Citrine minerals together?

Ever wonder why good silver jewelry is stamped 925? That’s because it’s actually only 92.5% silver alloy. Silver is soft and needs a little help to reduce tarnish, add luster, and enhance strength.

Emeralds are worn by those looking to improve their relationship by promoting trust, honesty and commitment. Amber is often given to someone sick or weak to promote their well being. Never clean gold jewelry with any cleaner containing chlorine or ammonia.

I learned these tidbits on one of my new favorite online shops. It seems every time I visit the shop there’s more and more information, as well as good high quality jewelry items.

Lushae Jewelry offers some fine quality earrings, pendants, rings and a great growing database of really helpful and interesting information about cleaning and storing your jewelry, plus information on metals, gemstones, and more.

Don’t you love it when you finally find that perfect pair of earrings? That pair that never goes out of style. That pair that is never too much or too little. They seem to be perfect every day and all the time. In fact, today I am sporting my new favorite earrings. They are Princess Cut Champagne CZ Studs. I love these earrings. 14k bonded gold with sterling silver prongs. They are fabulous. They feel and look rich and lovely, and I can’t even believe the sale price.

I wear these if we’re going out to dinner, I wear them with my best velvet jacket and with my favorite jeans. I wear them if I’m on a business meeting or if I’m just shopping in the city. They’re comfortable and classic, and I feel like they are the perfect compliment to almost anything I’m wearing.

The craftsmanship is outstanding. They look so precious, but they feel so strong. I hate a flimsy tinny piece of blah that you have to worry about losing. No worries here. You really have nothing to lose since there’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a free exchange policy. You can find Lushae at jewelryartdesigns.com.

Let's Keep This Going!

Believe me, I hate to get ripped off. I hate it when I spend my hard on bucks on some piece of crap, let alone a piece of crap I never even get, or can't return. I'm not Sex And The City wealthy, I can't be throwing my money away on bad purchases. And honestly, I can't exactly afford to spend a couple thousand on jewelry or designer handbags and shoes. I shop good sales and reliable online shops to get the most for my money.

I mentioned a couple of sites that really disappointed me. I also mentioned some really reliable ones who've earned my repeat business.

There's one last category, and I'll call that these the Online Shops with Potential.

Take Drugstore.com for example. It's actually two shops in one: drugstore.com and beauty.com. It has its pros and its cons. Among the pros are the convenience and the selection. If you can't always find Ceravae moisturizer or Toms of Maine deodorant at your local stores, this is a good go-to place to get your favorites. Another cool thing about the site is free shipping for orders of $50 or more.

And now for the cons. For one thing, the prices aren't great. You can always beat them in your local Walmart or Kmart. Another bummer is that the descriptions are often pretty poor. I just ordered a soap that is titled Deodorant Soap but it isn't, they just added the word "Deodorant" for no reason. Eye shadows aren't described as matt or shimmer and you can't tell from the poor images they use.

Basically if you know the products you want, and you can't find them available at a store near you, you can rely on drugstore.com to provide good reliable service.

Another site that falls into the gray area of online shopping for me is Target.com. I'll give you a prime example of what I'm talking about with them. I ordered new thermal curtains through the site in the color "beige." The price was absolutely unbeatable. They were around $12 a panel for 84" length. They are nicer and higher quality than thermal panels I bought last year from Macys for 4 times as much money. The downside is, they aren't beige. They are a golden tan. They aren't even close to the same color as pictured, and this isn't the first time the color was way-off on something I ordered. Another drag about Target.com is the length of time to receive your order. Items marked In Stock may take 2 or 3 weeks to arrive.

One last online shop I want to add to my Online Shops with Potential list is Staples.com. The shipping is fast and free for orders over certain dollar amounts, the prices are fair (Check the specials and sales and you do well. Regularly priced items are a little high.) but the site itself is hard to navigate. Searching for an item by typing it in search doesn't always reveal all the options available. Finding the category and list of items isn't always obvious. You have to go all the way back out of a category by hitting previous page over and over to get to the next list option to search for what you want. And in reviewing all the categories, you'll find there's a lot of words, a lot of categories, none of which are arranged so that they grab your attention or lead the way easily. You have to read through a lot of text to find the selection you want. You shop online because it's easy. Shopping this site just isn't.

What have your online shopping experiences been like? Do you have a favorite shop? Do you have a horror story?

This Hub could be a great go-to place to discuss what online shops are trustworthy and which ones are disasters Leave a comment below with your experiences and opinions. Thanks!

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17 comments

joey 6 years ago

loved this. though i disagree with the wine.com, i had a great experience with them, perhaps it was the third party you dealt with? anyway, i checked out lushae and i think i will be buying my lady something nice for absolutely no reason at all, well, i have my reasons...

always love reading you


Missy 6 years ago

Great article! After a bad experience of online shopping, I have completely shied away from the online thing. I may have to give it a shot again. Very excited about the vintage Levis!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

Joey,

Thanks so much for the weigh-in on wine.com!! Good to know. You're right about the third party, maybe the whole thing confused them, lol. The thing is, the credit card was charged by wine.com so only wine.com could credit it. So I was trapped. Anyone else have a wine.com experience?


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

Missy, thanks for the comment. OMG I just won a pair of great old button fly Levis for 5 bucks! Check it out!


cowgirlk 6 years ago

Awesome article! I'm a huge Ebayer myself. When you love the vintage stuff you just can go wrong.

I'm a HUGE fan of Ebates. It's a cash back site. Every time you shop online go to ebates.com click on the online store you want to shop at, and you're directed right to that site. Whatever the percentage of cash back that store is offering is what goes into an Ebates account for you. Amazon.com is the only site I found so far that is not affiliated. Then every other month or so I get a check in the mail from Ebates. Rocks !

Thanks again for some freat info as usual !! Can't wait to check out the jewelry!!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Love your enthusiasm. Love the earrings, too!


Amy 6 years ago

I love to shop on line. Who has time to go out anymore. Great job!


ALL4JESUS profile image

ALL4JESUS 6 years ago from USA

I love QVC and JackiesJewelry.com - and this Hub is terrific! One of my favorite subjects! Jewelry! I especially love faux jewelry and my ckbk does too!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

cowgirlk - I hadn't heard of Ebates, Thanks! Funny you should mention amazon not participating. My Amazon account just got hacked :( Amazon closed my account immediately, so it looks like no harm done, but they wouldn't give me any info which sucks. Plus I lost my whole purchase history. 'Had some good buys, but quite a few bad ones, so.... not in my top sites anyway.

shelia b. - Thanks! Amy - I know lots of people that only have time to shop online when it's convenient for them. It's like having a 24 hour store, and you save on gas.

l

ALL$JESUS - I have made a couple of QVC purchases. I think their customer service is outstanding. Thanks for the Jackiesjewelry.com tip, I will check them out. My checkbook loves a good buy too, lol, and I am lovin' my rockin' CZ studs from Lushae!

Thanks for all the input!


BrittaD 6 years ago

Thanks for all of the great online shopping tips. I just checked out Nutsonline.com and immediately placed my first order. I can hardly wait for it to arrive!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

BrittaD, you'll love them. Everything comes in these really cool blue stay-fresh bags. I just threw some nutsonline raw almonds into my oatmeal. Let us know how your first orders goes!


Goodwitch 6 years ago

Thanks Veronica! I'm ALWAYS shopping online...Xmas came courtesy of Amazon.com. I'm happy to say that I've had great online experiences and I'm always looking for new sites with original things.


PCE 6 years ago

Great to get some experienced online shopping direction. I secretly hate all types of shopping, so to get the lowdown on worthwhile sites to visit is dreamy for me. I'm a confirmed nutsonline lover...especially due to the full ingredients listings to avoid allergy issues!;)


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

Goodwitch, thanks for visiting. I'm happy to see so many online shoppers here.

PCE - any allergies at all, I'm sure nutsonline.com is great for you. For example, if you type "gluten free" into the search option there you get a listing of like 100 pizza crust mixes, cookie mixes, flours, and organic energy squares. It's fantastic.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Nice jewelery.


couponalbum profile image

couponalbum 6 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

Nice work.I joined your fun's club for more interesting hubs like thisand would like to invite you to join my fan's club.


KenWu profile image

KenWu 6 years ago from Malaysia

Nothing much to say with the bad shopping experience you have online but I believe that each and everyone of us will have a totally different encounters. But as long as we don't deal with those merchants that have bad reputation, it should be alright.

Thanks for your hub.

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