Saturday, October 6, 2012

The UnPhilosophy of Online Shopping

Up until I started my job in January, I was almost exclusively an in-person shopper. I would hit the stores on weekdays right after they opened at 10 am, peruse the racks leisurely in a nearly empty shop, and return home with new clothes only if they actually looked good on me. But working from 8-4:30 kind of put the kibosh on that habit—if I wanted to shop at stores, I would have to do it when everyone else was doing it, fighting traffic and crowds all the while. Kinda takes the fun right out of shopping. So online shopping became my friend. I was able to get prices almost as good as I would get on the clearance racks, and the selection was even larger! The problem, of course, was that I was no longer able to try before buying, leading to all sorts of disappointments.

In my last post, I briefly recounted the tale of how I ended up with orange shoes and an orange dress,, even though I don't really like orange—thanks mainly to misleading photos on eBay.

Today, I will tell you more about the dress.

When I first put on the dress, it fit all right. That is, there were no parts of it that were too tight or too loose. However, I had trouble getting the bodice of the dress to fully cover my chest vertically.
Here's how it looked on the model.
Here's how it looked on me.
It took some tugging and rearrangement, and an unconventional forward lean on the shoulder seams to get it mostly in place, and after that, more tugging and rearrangement approximately every hour to keep it there.

The lesson learned from this escapade is simple: Stop buying new clothes on eBay from China—they are invariably sized for midgets.

Even without tiny Chinese models throwing off your perception of size, buying online is always a risk. I keep learning this the hard way (but the lesson doesn't stick). Another recent example: I impulsively bought 3 pairs of boots from ShoeDazzle because they were half off, knowing that, since they have a free returns policy, I could pick the one I liked best and send the others back. Every time I've bought shoes from ShoeDazzle in the past, I've bought an 8.5 and found it to be too or almost-too small, so this time I ordered one 8.5 (just in case) and two 9's. The 9's were so big, they were sliding around all over my foot! And the one boot's shaft, which had looked to fit so snugly on the skinny model in the picture, was positively billowing around my calf. It was only after I had discovered all those problems with my purchases that I noticed my entire order had been "final sale." No returns for me! I was lucky enough to get the company to exchange the big ones for a smaller size, but even so, I have blown 70 dollars on three new pairs of boots when I only wanted one.

The lesson learned from this story is, maybe shopping online isn't such a great idea.

I need to seriously consider going back to my old ways of actually shopping outside the home. I wonder if the decreased likelihood of failure is worth the inevitable stress. I wonder if I could convince my employer to give me a morning off periodically for shopping purposes.

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