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LuckyGuy's avatar

Do you find online shopping to be a time saver or time waster?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38056points) 1 month ago

I’m discovering that I waste a lot of time looking online for items that previously I would have just gone into a store and bought.
I recently wanted to get an electric fly swatter. Two years ago I bought one at Harbor Freight for $2. I needed an additional one for the garage.
Rather than going to HF, I started looking online. Amazon had at least 20 different models. I then needed to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. 3 layer vs 1 layer, voltage, pulse rate, price, availability, etc. Then I started reading comments and reviews. Then I went to Fakespot to check the reviews themselves. And so it goes… I wasted 2 hours!
I could easily have driven to the store, shopped for half an hour and returned home in much less time. And certainly with a lot less frustration.
Do you have similar experiences?

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41 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Yes, both. Right now, I am grateful to do things that keep me out of public spaces, but I chafe at the delay of shipping. I just had to buy a new refrigerator, and doing it online was a bit fraught. Fortunately, all went well, and the new device seems to be fine, but I would have much preferred to have done this at a brick and mortar.

janbb's avatar

I usually find shopping online faster but for many things and many reasons, I’d prefer a store. – if only to keep retail business alive. As far as time spent, I usually have a good idea of what I want if I am shopping online and don’t spend a lot of time selecting. For example, I bought a pulse oximeter a few weeks ago. Looked at the array, picked one with a price at the mid-level, read the review and ordered it. I don’t spend two hours researching it.

If I were buying a big item like @canidmajor‘s refrigerator, I would much prefer to look in a store but I understand the need to buy online for now.

ragingloli's avatar

Time-saver and money waster.
Time-saver because it is quicker and going from store to store to find what I want.
Money waster, because often you buy something, that otherwise you would have been like “Eh, maybe I do not need that after all.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

It depends on the item. For electronics and such, computer components, etc., online has better choice and is easier.

For things where fit, feel, and look is important – in person.

gondwanalon's avatar

Wasted a huge amount of time with a lot of aggravation when I bought battery heated waterproof gloves on line last November. Never received the gloves after sending several e-mails to the company. Finally last April I got PayPal and my credit card company involved and got my money back. Total pain in the butt.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I bought 5 tubes of paint online.
I got an an email saying that my order of 4 tubes of paint was ready for pickup and that they will let me know when the other half of my order ships.
What?
I didn’t place my order that way and had to drive a 50 mile round trip to pick it up and am still waiting on the one tube to show up at my mailbox so I can start work.
It was all very convenient. Lol

kritiper's avatar

I ordered a set of mixing bowls for a old counter top mixer I had through Ebay. The sender didn’t bother to pack the bowls carefully and when they were delivered, I instantly heard broken glass. Then I couldn’t get a answer back from the seller about it. But the issue was resolved through Pay Pal but I had to reorder the bowls though another seller.

jca2's avatar

Last spring, 2019, I was looking for a new washing machine. I looked in stores and also online. Online was very helpful for reviews. In store was helpful to see knobs vs. touchpad and sizes and stuff like that.

I often do online for convenience and to see comparisons. For some types of things, I like to see the item, for example clothes. For some clothes, I know what sizes work for what brands and I stick with what I know. For other things, I like to use online to see prices and comparisons and then will purchase in store, for example, I recently bought a mouse sander and looked at Amazon, and then ended up in Walmart getting the store brand, which was cheaper than what was on Amazon.

This morning, I decided it was time to get some sneakers for summer. I looked at what I remembered liking, and checked Amazon. The site told me I had bought this sneaker in September 2019. That saved me some money, as I know now that the brand new sneakers are somewhere in the house and I just have to find them.

Sometimes I’ll go on a site and browse to find clearance stuff. I do that with Costco online. I’m a Costco member but just FYI a lot of people don’t know that for most things on Costco.com, you don’t have to be a member to purchase. I’ll go on there and just search for stuff and see what I find.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@kritiper -What did they use to pack the bowls?

zenvelo's avatar

I find it a time saver, not a time suck.

My girlfriend wants a candle snuffer, so I looked on Amazon, found 20 or so different ones, found the cute one she will like, and ordered it. Less than ten minutes from start to finish, and it will be at her place tomorrow. If I had gone to shop, I know of a store nearby, but I cannot be sure they have one she would like, and I do not know if they have re-opened.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, generally a time saver. But there is always the possibility that you pay for something and you never get it.

kritiper's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille A couple of pieces of newspaper in a cardboard box. They didn’t even mark the box as “FRAGILE.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just threw 2 different rugs and one wall decal into my Amazon cart. They’re for the grandkids. Don’t know when I’m going to buy them tho….

One

two

Three

ucme's avatar

We have had so much stuff delivered to our door since lockdown began, the drivers have pitched up tent on our lawn.

I pretend I’m in a seventies cop show when they knock, leave the parcel & retreat back to the end of the drive.
I’m like “good job, now blow before the feds show up!”
I wonder if they think me mad:D

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I ordered a new over the stove microwave. Set-up a delivery and installation too. Checked the review of several different brands right on the web page.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@kritiper -That is nuts. When I ship ceramic pieces I way over wrap them as stuff gets thrown about and even then I worry that it will get there in one piece.

si3tech's avatar

I do not drive anymore. So, I shop online a lot. But must admit, it can be a time-waster if I’m ‘window shopping’ with no particular item in mind.(no particular place to go) rofl

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: If it doesn’t show up, you call the company and get it rectified. If they don’t rectify it, you can always file a complaint with your credit card company. I did that recently when I got something from Pier 1, (which had announced it was going out of business). I ordered a lantern which arrived broken. Hold times for Pier 1 on the phone or online chat were over 4 hours. I pm’d them on FB and Instagram and no response. I filed with my credit card company and they refunded the money (the credit card company did).

Mimishu1995's avatar

I don’t think of online shopping in term of time, so I’m pretty neutral about the time spent. I have already known that online shopping will cost time, so I never buy anything online if I need it urgently and luckily most of the things I need urgently are already available in physical stores.

I think of online shopping more in term of money, as I often buy online in bulk. Shipping cost is also a big problem, it can make an otherwise cheap item more expensive than it should be. I do have experience when I bought something online only to find out that it was in a store near me after all. That was a total waste of money, as I had to pay for the shipment too :(

So it is very important to me to do my research thoroughly before I buy anything online. I guess a lot of online stores are getting tired of me messaging them several times and not buying anything at all :D But I don’t see myself stopping that any time soon. Chat sections with a store can tell me a lot about the shop’s credibility, which will influence my decision afterwards.

JLeslie's avatar

Mostly, it wastes my time. Half of what I buy online doesn’t work out and I have to return it. Because of this I buy very very little online.

I did do a Walmart curbside pick-up about a month ago, and that was kind of interesting to just show up at the store and have everything ready. I think I still spent more time shopping online than walking through the store, but the online was while relaxing and watching TV. I prefer going in the store, but in the time of covid it’s a nice option, especially living in a Republican part of the country. If case started to spike here I’d use the online more.

@kritiper That is nuts. My dad sells books on Amazon and he wraps the books in bubble wrap! Then packs the box tight with paper if there is empty space. Did you give the seller a bad review?

raum's avatar

If you’re not neurotic, it’s a time saver.

If you’re neurotic (me), it’s a time waster. I obsessively research even the most inconsequential purchases. I can’t not do it. It’s a sickness.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@raum Tell me about it!
I can save you some time if you are in the market for an electric fly swatter. I researched that one to death.

canidmajor's avatar

@raum I’m not that neurotic by nature (well, not in the area of shopping, anyway!) but, like you, I obsessively research something I can’t touch. Occasionally I have to buy fabric online, and that makes me seriously nuts. I want to touch and smell stuff.

@LuckyGuy, I am fascinated by the idea of an electric fly swatter. Please please link.

JLeslie's avatar

Lol. I own an electric fly swatter. It’s Harbor Freight brand. I must have bought it in one of their stores. Great invention.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have and electric fly swatter we bought for Rick’s dad. We swat the grandkids with it!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@canidmajor I sent you a PM with the link. Have fun!

raum's avatar

Now I’m wondering if obsessive researching arrives at the same conclusion. Like if I research electric fly shatters, will we reach the same conclusion?

If so, that’d be interesting. If not, that actually might be more interesting.

June 15, 2020 12:11am PST
[raum starts researching electric fly swatters]

raum's avatar

June 15, 2020 1:04am PST

If I had to pick an electric swatter, I’d go with the Executioner. But since they’re currently out of stock, I’d pick up an Elucto.

But the prize find during my electric swatter deep dive was THIS! If we didn’t have kids, I would totally get one.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@raum Yes! Same result! I went with the Elucto. It came with a 1 year warranty that is extended to 2 years if you register it.

The Bug a Salt looked like fun but has a limited range,:2–3 ft, and it sprays salt on the walls and floor if you use it indoors.

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps I should subscribe to @raum‘s Online Journal of Online Research (ROJOR). I’ll call it Roger. ;-p

jca2's avatar

@LuckyGuy: If you can find me a decent power washer (pressure washer) that doesn’t require a genius to operate (as the gas powered ones seem to need mechanical people to operate), let me know. I need one.

raum's avatar

Neurotically-researching minds think alike? :P

We don’t even have much of a bug issue here. Just would be fun to use. And would probably never use it indoors. The idea of hitting a bug and not being able to find its carcass inside the house would drive me absolutely batty.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I ordered a dress in April for my niece’s wedding, which was last Saturday, June 13. The dress came today. >_<

LuckyGuy's avatar

@raum If you keep your finger on the button the bug sticks to the grid. When you let go, the bug is released – right into the trash. .

raum's avatar

I meant with the Bug-A-Salt. Salty mess aside, I would probably never use it indoors.

Interesting trick for the swatter though!

Did you read the reviews about the ones with stronger voltage? Some bugs explode on contact. Yikes!

chyna's avatar

^A bloody mess!

LuckyGuy's avatar

This one doesn’t explode. It does make a healthy “Zap!” when it gets one. If indoors the bug ends up in the toilet. Outdoors, it becomes ant or bird food.

canidmajor's avatar

This thread has sure taken a dark turn…

raum's avatar

@chyna I always feel vindicated after swatting a bug that’s bitten me. Like “That’s my blood, mothersucker!”

@LuckyGuy Yes, that definitely factored into my choice of electric swatter. Wasn’t too keen on choosing a Bug Exploder. :P

@canidmajor LOL

Dutchess_III's avatar

We brought that electric fly swatter home. My 13 year old grandson didn’t think it worked, so he tried it out on himself…..

Tropical_Willie's avatar

He won’t do that twice.

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