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19 December 2011

About Online Shopping

Thank you for shopping with us Ms. Kristine.

We shipped your package by UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICES. 
Your tracking number is: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX TRACK IT HERE.


And that's the introduction of almost all automated electronic mails that I have been receiving for the last couple of days from some trusty online shops.


Living on Guam has its pros and cons. Sadly, one of the cons about living in this island is that we are somewhat deprived of shops available in most US states and territories. The shops included in this list are, but not limited to: Watson's, The Body Shop, Hollisterco, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, Forever21, and Best Buy. The list could go on and on...


So what do people here in Guam do? Shop online!


Nowadays, shopping online is becoming more and more popular. As more people get their own credit/debit cards, and their own devices with internet access, online shopping is becoming more accessible and easier.


So yes, one of the pros of shopping online is that you can easily browse for the items you are looking for. Plus, due to the several websites offering the same item you are probably looking for, it is easier to find good deals. And to top that off, you do not have to walk around from one shop to another to look for the item you are shopping for - which saves you time and energy. Another advantage of online shopping is you can shop 24/7, because the internet does not take a day off. Everything is just a click away! Viola!


On the other hand, online shopping has its disadvantages:
1) By posting your debit/credit card number and security code online, the risk of getting your card (and your money) hacked is very, very likely.


2) Because the transaction is done online and you have provided the merchant with your card numbers and codes, you have no control over how much they charge you with. Thus, the risk of the merchant overcharging you for your purchase is very likely as well.


3) You cannot touch or try on the stuff you are about to buy online. Because you only see a photo or a set of photos of the item, you may not receive what you are expecting it to be. This happened to me, believe me. I was expecting a shirt would look and feel like the way I expect and hope it would, but it did not. The pictures made it look very nice, but when I received the item on my mail box, I got very disappointed.


4) If you are unhappy with your purchase, it takes a very long time to get refunded. Why? Because after receiving your purchase, you have to re-pack it again, send it back to the merchant and wait for them to receive it and refund you. And sometimes, sending it back would cost you because the merchant might not include a free mailing, just in case you would like to return the items you bought. To top that off, some merchants do not allow return of items.


5) After making your purchase online, they will charge your card right away but you will, of course, not get the items you have paid for right away. Thus, you get the feeling that you have not purchased anything at all. So if you are buying something online to reward yourself (I do reward myself after passing exams), you do not feel like you had rewarded yourself at all. The result? You go out to find the nearest mall and purchase something, especially if you have money to burn. Thus, you spend more than you plan to. Unless, of course, if you have enough self control.


6) Because you can shop at the touch of your fingertips, you lose one essential reason for shopping. And I am talking about the exercise people get from the traditional way of shopping. Yes, some people believe that shopping is a form of exercise and a sport. Couldn't blame them. After all, you walk around just to look for "the one." Also, you have to carry all the items you are shopping for, right?


7) One big disadvantage of online shopping? Waiting. Waiting for your item to arrive on your mail box is a torture! I'm saying this from experience. Once you have purchased something online, you get the feeling of excitement. Then you wait and wait for that item to arrive. Then guess what? That excitement will eventually wear off and by the time you get your purchase, you do not feel as happy as you did when you clicked "Place your order."


I guess the point I'm trying to make here is: be careful of shopping online. It may have its advantages, but it has a lot of disadvantages as well. Now that we can take the internet anywhere we go (thanks to all the smart phones available), it is very easy to buy anything and everything online. Also, make sure that you shop only with your trusted websites. If you have heard or read a bad review about the merchant, do not even bother buying anything from him/her.


Anyhow, some of my most trusted websites are as follows:
1) For almost everything under the sun: Amazon.com (I don't really trust merchants from ebay, because some of my friends were overcharged by some merchants in the said site. Too bad amazon does not ship electronics to Guam.)
2) For clothes: Hollisterco.com, Abercrombieandfitch.com, Aeropostale.com
3) For plane tickets: Philippineairlines.com, Continental.com
4) For hotel bookings: Agoda.com, Booking.com
5) For books: Barnesandnoble.com


That's about it. Be safe and enjoy shopping for the holidays, everyone!

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