For the past couple of weeks, I have been fitfully shopping online for Christmas gifts. I discovered the convenience of online shopping last year when I realized that I would have a mere three days to complete all of my shopping before the big 25 arrived (this being the result of my work obligations). I was completely amazed at how convenient it was for all of my items to be delivered directly to my door.
So, all during the year of 2010 I have been looking forward to the prospect of shopping online for the holidays with the satisfaction of not interacting with the multitudes of people (recall my last post). Sadly, it has not completely worked out how I thought it might. I am 95% complete with my shopping, but it has not necessarily been ‘convenient’ online shopping. Why not? Well…
The convenience of online shopping has been replaced with my obsession of online comparison shopping. I spent an entire week just gathering pricing information from Amazon, Buy.com, Macy’s, Books-a-Million, Borders, B&N, and a few other online sites (I have a spreadsheet to prove it). Then there is the great quest to avoid shipping charges. Don’t forget the Cyber Monday deals that hit you just when you were ready to press the ‘order’ button! And then there are the coupons that come from the various sites (you know, like the ones from Borders that show up in your inbox every half hour or so).
That’s a lot to consider when making an online purchase. Ready to make the purchases now, right? Nope. Why? Because you have just received an email from one of your credit cards reminding you that the holiday season is all about earning double, triple, quadruple, even quintuple reward points IF you shop via the card’s portal. Aah! Dump your shopping carts, use the reward portal to cyber-jump to your retail site of choice and start anew! By the time the ‘order’ buttons have been mashed, it is close to midnight.
So, you may or may not understand my frustration and, if not, then I cite one more experience for your consideration. The lovely Borders website. Now, this is a company that has struggled financially since 2006 (btw, I love the idea of it attempting a buyout of Barnes & Noble as I much prefer the less pretentious feel of Borders though there are many considerations to be made regarding this potential transaction). Based on my experience with its website, I might have an inkling why… Anyway…I am a Safari browser user. There are a few sites that actually do not take kindly to Safari. Borders appeared to be one of those. After attempting to order items from the website (about 5 times) I had to give up and migrate over to Borders via IE.
The problems continued. Once on IE, I had become aware that there was a problem with Borders’ website. Each order I placed took a total of 30 minutes. There were multiple perceived screen load failures requiring reloading 2-3 times each (for each step of the transaction). Then, I would receive confirmation of my orders placement via email to my iPhone before I ever received a confirmation screen on Borders’ website!
At this stage, there are only three gifts left to procure. While I continue to ponder on those items, I will eagerly sift through my emails, track the positions of shipped purchases, and wait for current billing cycles to close so as to minimize the financial damage for the upcoming month. Happy Holidays!