It is said that we earn for our bread, but to purchase the bread we do have to shop.
So, “Why do we shop?”
You might say Need. But I’m sure, we, girls can find many more reasons. Like when we are happy, and sad, and angry, and frustrated, and lonely and yes, sometimes, need. Shopping is the one thing which goes with every mood.
“When I shop, the world gets better. The world is better. And then it is not anymore. And I need to do it again.”
– Confessions of a Shopaholic
So true. But whatever be the reason we all go shopping and most of us love it. It does stir many memories. A couple of years back before the era of malls, I’d have said it reminds me of the tiring walks through the narrow lanes of the market swarming with people way beyond its capacity, the irritating chillies at the grocery store which made me cough, the cows and dogs trying to find their way in the even more crowded vegetable market. Going shopping was like the weekend homework: unwanted and resentful. I’d have traded anything to escape it. But, unfortunately, I had to go as I was too young to stay at home all by myself (and partly because I was bribed with chocolates and cookies).
But today I’ll say it reminds me of A.C. shopping malls, all those clothes in like every color and every fabric putting up a very tough competition to be chosen, the endless racks of products in the convenience stores, the plastic money (the credit/debit cards and the payback cards. I have like a dozen!), and of course the mouth-watering food at the stalls. Who would have thought shopping could be so much fun!
But, a few years flash-forward in the future and I’d be saying it reminds me of the high-speed internet connection, my usernames and passwords, my credit card details, those late night shopping hours, the continuous buzzing of my cellphone with the product status, that long wait for the product to get delivered and the excitement when the package finally arrives .
Online shopping is kind of hard to resist due to its many advantages.
- Convenience. No time limit like 10 am to 8 pm and no need to make room from your busy schedule. Shop anywhere and anytime. It would never have been possible to shop after midnight in your pajamas tucked in your comforter while enjoying your midnight snacks watching your favorite show.
- The Big Save (Energy, Time, Fuel). No need to go to the shops. Ordering products sitting on our own couch is the greatest benefit, especially during rainy season; with the added advantage of shopping with the whole family.
- Best buy. Easy comparisons across the wide variety of brands and shopping sites, along with full product information. Get the best product at cheapest price.
- Customer satisfaction is reflected in the reviews which do help while making any purchase.
- Great discounts. The ‘SALE SEASON’ is always on.
- Cashless shopping. No need to carry any money (paper or plastic).
- Hassle free shopping. No need of bargaining, or carrying the shopping bags, or waiting in long lines.
- Discretion, like when purchasing the personal care products.
- Easy exchanges, returns and Buyer Protection. If you don’t like a product, no problem. Just return it with full money back guarantee.
- Lesser purchases. When we go window shopping for one item, we do return with a handful of shopping bags. That’s not a problem here.
- Easy availability of rare products.
- Easy gift giving for the various occasions.
- Round-the-clock customer assistance.
As every coin has two sides, so there are disadvantages also.
- ‘The TOUCH’ experience. Shopping without touching the item is quite problematic, especially, textiles.
- Additional cost. The shipping charges increase the price of the products.
- Lack of full disclosure of cost. While comparing different products from various sellers, only the basic price is displayed. Additional charges, like shipping costs, are shown only in the final step of placing order.
- Lack of instant gratification. Returning with those handful of shopping bags gives an immense pleasure, which, of course, is absent here.
- Time consuming. Tough time is saved by not going to shops, but even more might be wasted in comparison and analysis of the products.
- Frauds and scams, like identity thefts, phishing, etc. A lot of personal details and card (credit/debit) are disclosed which might be misused.
- The Product. Sometimes you may receive a product which is either damaged or different from the specifications.
- The Delivery. Sometimes the delivery time may be too long. But the real problem is to be present there when the parcel arrives at your doorstep.
- Warranty issues. For electronics, some companies do not give warranty for products purchased online. So, though it might be mentioned on the package, you might not always have the luxury to avail the warranty.
It’d be safe to say that the pros outweigh the cons (which are mostly rare).
A single click of mouse and anything in the world will be at your doorstep!!! It surely is addictive. Soon enough, ‘ONLINE SHOPAHOLISM’ will be the new recruit to the family of ‘INTERNET ADDICTION DISORDER’.
It wouldn’t be too wrong to say that shopping was the only leisure out-door activity for grownups, suited to every mood and situation. As it is now becoming a fun-to-do indoor activity, we’ll have to search for a new one. And I guess malls will soon become the weekend hangout spots (as parks become a rarity)!!!