- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Internet Shopping - An Addictive Experience
It was a rather ordinary day when I first discovered Internet shopping. Not one for really pounding the pavement searching for just the right shirt or getting that exceptional bargain, I skeptically maneuvered the website and said to myself, "What's so big about this? Borrrrinnng!" I admit that I sometimes dive into a thing with an extremely negative expectation and this was no exception.
Nonchalantly typing in my search for the product (it was a book, of course) I saw it pop up and I clicked to see the details.
I think it was the "add to cart" sign that did it. For some mad reason the idea that I could have a virtual trolley made me immediately say like a child on the playground, "Oh, I want to play too!" Yup. I joined in and added that book to my cart. I really did want it and could not find it in any real store nearby so it was not an impulsive buy. Little did I know that that one click would lead to many mad, maniacal clicks accompanied by a strange obsession with that bright little button.
When I "checked out" I opted for the slowest method of shipping because, hey, I had waited for the book this long, what is a little bit longer? I logged out and promptly forgot about it.
A few days later the doorbell rang. Puzzled, I went to answer it and there was the mailman with a package especially for me! I truly had no clue who sent it! (I know -it was one of my dim-witted moments) When I opened it and I saw my book, all wrapped up and sealed in, never touched by human hands except the factory, boy, oh boy, that bug just zoomed in and bit me. How well packaged! What a lovely book! What great shipping!
At that moment I realized that I could seek and find almost any item that I wanted, from any part of the world, buy it, have it sent to me, and all without ever leaving the house. Delicious delight coursed through me, and thus the conservative shopper turned into - for a while at least - a certified internet shopaholic.
Books, Movies, Knickknacks, Kindle, you name it, I searched it. Half of the things I found I had no use for - like the Barbie telephone - I kept thinking who did I know that I could buy it for. As for jewelry - I don't even glance at it in real life but online all of a sudden, I was oohing and ahhing at some beads. Insane! Even hub hopping and seeing some purple bedding had me thinking maybe I did need some new sheets. (Roll my eyes!)When I realized that the search engine was making suggestions for me based on my searches, I saw that there was a whole lot of stuff that I had completely overlooked! Bargains to be had on priceless things ( priceless to me) and I would be a fool ( I said this to myself emphatically ) if I were to let those items just slide out of my hands.
It was a game to me. And the fact that I never saw my money literally disappear from my wallet made it feel like an elaborate round of Monopoly. Such a nice pretend game.
The day I got my credit card bill was very real, however, and I think that at that point I bit my nails until they bled. Why, oh why did I buy all of these things? I answered myself (crazy people do that) saying that they were things that would last a long while. But reason yelled at me and woke me up when it said, "Yes it will last forever and you will live on what- air? Because you have just spent the money that was supposed to be for food."
I sighed, but reigned myself in. Internet shopping was just as dangerous after all as regular shopping. One could get carried away and never realize until all the money is spent. Yes, my feet didn't ache, but that made it worse. Tiredness helps me not to spend. When I can press a button and buy a cell phone, temptation has a more likely chance of winning.
I still do internet shop but I do it in a reserved way. I only search for items I need not want and I completely ignore the suggestions of the website or search engine. The chant "I don't have the money. I can't afford it," helps as well.
I still have some pretty neat stuff though like the complete boxed set of MacGyver. Oh yeah. I don't regret that one. I can look at it an remember my crazy, but thankfully temporary addiction.
Some tips when Internet shopping.
- Enter the online store as you would a literal store. That is make a bee-line for what you came for. Try not to get distracted by the suggestions made.
- Even if the item together with another comes at a really good price with excellent shipping, do not purchase it unless you really need it.
- Try to purchase the item when it is on sale and shop around. There are many online stores. Do not limit yourself to one. You may be cheating yourself out of a good price.
- Don't enter the store to browse at odd times of the day. You may just find yourself impulsively buying something.
- If you are browsing for an item suitable for a birthday etc. Stick to the section you initially thought of in order to prevent yourself from adding to that cart.