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Shop until You Drop

Stan Oliver
Stan Oliver - Submitted

Given that this is the time of year, most people are very busy with Christmas activities including work parties, family gatherings, decorating, baking and of course the ever feared and dreaded shopping. To be totally honest with and for most people who know me, I am not much of a shopper, sure there are stores here in Happy Valley-Goose Bay that have been in operation for years, that I have never stepped a foot in! That’s not to say I won’t. In my humble opinion, Christmas (especially last minute) is really bad for health. That may sound crazy but actual examination and research has shown that Christmas shopping causes much stress and hardship.

Most people not only tend to buy gifts for their immediate family and friends but also for co-workers and distant relatives. Thus, the festive season becomes the time when people have a habit of overspending. They only grasp this when the bills come in the mail in January. Purse strings are not the only thing that feel the strain and suffer. This is usually the time of the year that you are rushing around to complete the many tasks, which puts your body and mind under unwanted stress. A good way to avoid such anxiety and the Christmas shopping frenzy is to purchase on line. Which is becoming more popular year by year. And there are many benefits to this. Thank Goodness!

More and more people than ever are now utilizing the Web to shop for a wide variety of items. Everything from shoes, airplane tickets to houses. Yes, that’s right houses! So, we ask ourselves, are there benefits to shopping on line and conversely are there any disadvantages? What should you as a consumer be aware of? I am diffidently no expert in this field, unless it involves a belt for my snow blower! But I have learned a few things over time through some bad purchases.

Online shopping does have its distinct benefits, including; i) Convenience: As it compares to having to go out to your conventional brick and motor structure, as an online shopper you can literally choose any time of the day or night and get connected and browse your favourite sites! This is especially beneficial for people who may be home bound such as mothers with small children or people who have physical limitations. Not to mention, poor weather conditions, that we often do encounter living in Labrador; ii) Customer/product newsletters: Some online stores want to keep potential customers update on discounts and sales. This is an excellent way for you to keep appraised of the latest and greatest. And it usually, doesn’t cost a dime to the consumer! Iii) Countless Choices: In your brick and motor stores, shelf space is at the premium, thus limiting your choices, online shopping offers countless choices and if you don’t like what you see, you have the option of just moving on to the next web-site; iv) No sales pressure; some sales people can be very persistent, convincing and sometimes even a bit pushy, online shopping allows you to shop from the comfort of your home without having to be put in an awkward position by an over-enthusiastic sales person.

Obliviously these are just a few of the advantages, but there are a few dis-advantages that consumers should similarly be aware of. Some of these will deter buyers from shopping on line. For example, you can’t try things on when shopping online therefore; you may end up sending the merchandise back, often at your expense. Also, if you have a question regarding the product, most likely you will have to wait to speak to a company representative about it. Yes, yes, I know that many web sites have a chat option, but for those who are not 100% computer trained, this may not be an easy process to navigate. This can be particularly true for seniors. On a final note, there is always the question of security. I am always hesitant of punching in my credit card number. But happy to report, most websites have built in mechanisms to protect you from credit card scams. So, have fun this Christmas my friends and shop until you drop or at least until your eyes go squint.  

   

 Thanks for reading my column and if you have ideas and or comments please feel free to e-mail directly at stanoliver1965@gmail.com.

Cheers from Central Labrador

Stan Oliver lives and works in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

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