Top 5: Things I hate about online shopping

Do you prefer in-person or online shopping?

It’s been eight months since COVID-19 restrictions have started. Since then, most of us have become familiar with dread of online shopping.

Virtual stores may allow us to get necessities during this uncertain time but there are nonetheless numerous reasons to loathe the experience. However, out of all these negatives, here are the five that stand out.

1. Dodgy Prices

In the present day, there seems to always be a paragraph of fine print under every store promotion. Often advertisements do not show the big picture. Ultimately, the receipt reveals the truth. 

When it comes to online shopping, customers are bombarded left and right by deals. This gives us an illusion of control and a sense of urgency to take advantage of these sales before they end. But whether it’s massive shipping fees hiding behind cheap purchases, or paying exuberantly in American dollars, online shopping is replete with peril for the uninitiated consumer. 

2. Long shipping times

Behold, the pinnacle of first world problems: waiting an eternity for a package to arrive. Forget walking out of the store with the item you just paid for. This is the new norm.

Large delivery windows provide no certainty about whether or not a package will arrive. This issue doesn’t only apply to Canada, but to Australia and the U.K. as well. However, Canada should have more reliable wait times, since we are neighbors with the States. I think that on a macro scale, there are a number of factors involved. Sure, Amazon Prime is an option, but throwing money at a problem shouldn’t have to be the only solution.

3. Not being able to see what you’re buying

The day has finally arrived and your package lies on your doorstep. Except that inside is the wrong product. Even worse is when the right thing arrives damaged from being dropped five flights of stairs. This concern has always existed for online purchases and it will probably never go away. Online shopping does not effectively allow customers to authenticate the goods that they are buying.

Once again, there is no comparison to being able to go to a physical store. Certain aspects of our lives just do not translate well to a digital space.

4. Participating in online delivery systems that have poor working conditions

Our growing demand for online delivery has led to enormous pressure on the workforces which run fulfillment centres. The worst offender is Amazon, which has been well reported on for the straining workload, limited breaks given to workers and lack of benefits, resulting in workplace injuries and deaths. During high demand seasons like Black Friday, Boxing Day and Prime Day, it falls to the workers to send everything out on time.

The coronavirus has forced us to reimagine how we buy and sell goods. If online shopping is the future, executives should acknowledge this reality, for the sake of those on the warehouse floors.

5. Navigating complicated return policies

Finally, when all is said and done and you’re left with the wrong package, it’s time to return it.

This journey begins with waiting at least two extra business days, in case the package got mismatched. After this, you face another unbearable wait refreshing your email for a response from the seller. Then, somehow, the unwanted package has to make its way back to where it came from. Mailing is the worst because that requires paying for postage.

And so the dance continues as you go off to find a replacement. The question is, where does the cycle end?

Damian Lachacz

Damian Lachacz is a second-year English major and the Deputy Opinion Editor at The Gateway. He spends his free time wondering if plants can use the Force, watching niche movies/tv, reading the grittiest mystery novels and crushing his foes at board games.

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