Saturday, December 17, 2005

FIVE Online Stores
FOUR Hours Of Shopping
THREE Confirmations
TWO Vodka Tonics and
ONE Boyfriend Later...

...i recovered from the most traumatic online shopping experience of my life. but wow.

now, let's clear up a few things.

first of all, i do not hate amazon.com. but the moment i saw the "will ship after december 24" as the culmination of WEEKS of site perusal and gift selecting, well. i just lost it. i may be late this year, but i DID know i had until 12/16 to purchase items and expect a 12/23 delivery. and telling me otherwise at the last minute was just mean. (and not a good business practice.)

also -- while i know that i could actually go the store to buy gifts, i will be traveling 3,000 miles for the holidays. so even if i went to the stores, i'd still have to have things shipped (or HA! try and take them on the plane with me). thus, i rely on the online.

in fact, i have been doing more than 90% of my christmas shopping online for six years now. and i don't mean to sound like a dotcom curmudgeon, but i gotta say i preferred the online shopping years ago, without all the bells and whistles. kinda like comparing toys of the 70s to toys of today, you know?

i mean, when i was a kid games were not fancy. a plastic mat with circles printed on it and a spinner was a whole afternoon's worth of fun.

Barbie didn't used to have interactive DVDs or try to teach us lessons, she had pink plastic cars and houses that she'd share with a genital-less man she wasn't married to and random younger sister-cousin-friend relations. the only lesson she ever taught me was that, no matter how talented a stylist i fancied myself, i should never actually take scissors to doll hair.

and sure, i've digressed, but stick with me and my crazy metaphor.

the point is, online shopping a few years ago was simplistic in a Barbie car kind of way. you were happy with your Barbie when her only accessory was a second pair of heels, and then you discovered she could come with a convertible! so suddenly instead of having to brave the stores and ship everything to new hampshire, you discovered you could go online in your pjs at 11 p.m. and buy stuff and have it shipped for you!

and wow, how cool.

you didn't even know what an interactive Barbie DVD was. why would you need to? your Barbie experience was just made infinitely better by the plastic car. what more could you need?

just like* you didn't know there could be such a thing as one-click shopping or cookies or remembering your ship-to addresses or online big brothers tracking your every move and trying to get you to buy more stuff by insisting that everyone ELSE who bought that book ALSO bought THIS book, and if you don't you're a loser. [editorialization mine.]

but now The Progress has happened.

and there is no going back to Barbie shoes or even cars. now Barbie has to have an entire digital empire complete with work-out videos, even though that is not at all what i would ever want from a Barbie. just like* how online retail sites have all been made super-high-tech except that all these changes have been made in the name of My Convenience, with absolutely nothing to support that claim.

like, okay. for My Convenience, i can get anything i want at amazon.com (despite that i was perfectly happy to simply buy books from them). but yep. for My Convenience, i can now get a belt and a book and a dvd and wine and a camera and a kitchen sink all in one place. i can! except for My Convenience, they cannot all be shipped at the same time or at the same price or on the same day if i want to receive any of them before christmas.

also for My Convenience, my name and password have been saved. except i have no idea what those were since i was given this convenient option last year and how am i expected to remember? and while i know that for My Convenience they can remind me what my password is, i do not feel like taking an extra ten minutes to go through that process, i'd like to just buy my fucking gifts now please.

oh, and i do appreciate that for My Convenience they have somehow managed to keep my shipping and billing addresses on file as well as my credit card number (despite that i never asked them to), except that for My Convenience i have moved, i have changed my name, and i stopped using that credit card four years ago.

so basically i'm saying (just in case you didn't get this from the brilliant metaphor) that i do NOT NEED you to build things for My Convenience, especially if they DON'T WORK. i don't EXPECT to be able to buy things at the last minute and have them arrive in time for christmas unless you tell me i can. so don't say i can and then say i can't.

i do not expect to be able to get everything from one store, so don't tell me i can and then have half of what i'm promised be out of stock or actually being shipped from a completely different vendor.

i do not expect you to keep all of my personal information on file so that you can tell me what i want to buy, how i want to pay for it, and where i want it sent. my own family can't keep up with my address changes -- why should some online store?

i just feel that a lot of the online world has, in its fury to figure itself out, gotten very messy.

anyway, i am done ranting and raving about this now.

for the record, i ordered only two items from amazon, and was able to get just about everything else i needed at Walmart.com** where the out-of-stocks were clearly noted and the shipping dates appeared on the items as they were added to my cart, AND where they are still accepting orders until the 19th for guaranteed christmas delivery. the site has seemingly fewer bells and whistles...and was a perfectly simple, pleasant shopping experience.


*or okay, not JUST like, but i'm playing with metaphors. leave me alone.


**yes, they have a website and yes, i shop there. shutup.

10 comments:

  1. is there a more annoying, time-sucking process than the "forgot my password" rigamarole????

    and if you've forgotten, and don't want to go through the process and try to just set up a new account, THEY (most online merchants)WON'T LET YOU... if you're using the same e-mail address. ugh.

    breezy convenience.

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  2. I find it so frustrating when I discover my credit card number has been saved on a site from which I last purchased 2 years ago...Or last week, for that matter. What gives them the right, if you haven't asked them to? Can you imagine, you go to the grocery store, start to pull out your card, and they say "Oh, no, that's okay - We took the liberty of saving the number when you paid last week - For your convenience." Arghh.

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  3. i also did lots of shopping at walmart.com

    and it was easy

    and it was cheap

    and i liked it.

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  4. I hear tell that Walmart.com (official slogan: less evil than the actual stores) scored well in the online user experience.

    It's just what I heard.

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  5. I think we had the same weekend out of body shopping spree! God love Wallayworld.com

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  6. I have never been to Walmart.dom, and I LOVE Amazon.com. I'll have to check walmart.com out. I haven't run into the headachs you have at Amazon yet, but when I do, I'm sure I'll be on your side then. Haven't ordered from there in a while, but I like the 1-click.

    But their stalker like behavior and memory on just your SEARCHES for gods sake, is jarring and annoying.

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  7. My GI Joe had a crush on your Barbie. But she couldn't get over the whole "kung fu grip " thing.

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  8. Sorry, but the Barbie thing really reminded me of this site:
    http://www.sexualpositionsfree.com/

    (basically illustrated positions using barbie & ken)

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  9. Barnesandnoble.com is the bomb!!

    doesnt anyone read? or watch movies? or listen to music?

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  10. anonymous 6 pm. what were you reading, while watching which movie, and who were you listening to while you were on the internet reading and posting a comment on Kristy's blog?

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