Online shopping can be habit forming

David Heitz
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Several years ago, I was enjoying a night out with a friend. She had an adorable 7-year-old girl who had stayed home that night with the babysitter.

But that didn’t keep Lauren, the 7-year-old, from texting her mother every five minutes.

“Let me ask you, what are your views on online shopping?” Lauren texted.

The look on her mother’s face was “Oh, no.”

As it turns out, Lauren didn’t order anything online that night. But she made a point of telling her mother she knew how to do it.

Lauren didn’t ask me but let me tell you my views on online shopping.

I love online shopping. In fact, it has become my favorite pastime next to walking.

Online shopping convenient

I shop online all the time and I love it. I don’t like shopping in stores, however.

Shopping online you don’t have to worry about things like wearing masks or social distancing.

You don’t have to buy anything to shop online. Shopping online is akin to pushing your cart up and down the aisles. Scrolling pages is easier than pushing a cart around a crowded department store, however. The online cart doesn’t weigh anything. There’s no baby sticking out the front either.

You can put items into your cart and take them out again if you change your mind. I’ll find a nice shirt, put it in my cart, but then find a nicer shirt and swap it out. It’s a piece of cake online.

My favorite site for online shopping is Amazon. I have Amazon Prime, so all deliveries are free.

COVID-19 not a concern shopping online

Amazon Prime costs me $13.61 per month. It comes with many benefits. I can also watch movies online for free. There’s a great Amazon Music service that plays all the coolest playlists and latest hits.

In the COVID-19 era, stay-at-home entertainment is something everyone covets. You can see how Amazon and COVID-19 go well together. Shopping from home is safe.

I heard a Lissie Maurus tune on the Sunset Chill playlist tonight. It made my night because Lissie grew up in my hometown of Rock Island, Ill. I was good friends with her brother, Zach, when we were kids. In fact, we used to practice our trumpets together.

Besides shopping on Amazon, I also shop I have my favorites when it comes to shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, and cleaning supplies. It’s easier to order online and re-supply every month than going to the store.

I don’t know about your local Walmart, but mine is pretty picked over these days. I often cannot find my favorite products in stock. But I can always find anything online.

Large variety of colors, styles, patterns

I jump on Amazon a lot and peruse the men’s clothing. It can be like a black hole. I find endless styles, colors, and patterns of clothing. I tend to go for sporty/casual wear, but I also like a nice business shirt now and then.

I have found incredibly cool styles on Amazon. Say you want a hoodie. You can find a variety of styles and colors on Amazon just for hoodies. I bought a lime green hoodie and a purple and black hoodie – colors I never had seen in store hoodies.

I found a great coat on Amazon made by Levi’s. It’s a classic puffy coat in white camouflage. It says Levi on the back across the collar. It’s sharp.

I also found some heavy-duty black boots for the winter and a pair of Skechers tennis shoes for regular wear. I had dozens of styles to choose from.

I even have started a small hat collection. I purchased a tan leather newsboy hat and a black leather baseball cap online.

Both hats I’ve not seen in stores. That’s the beauty of online shopping. There’s a seemingly endless selection of items that you just don’t find anywhere else.

Your home’s the dressing room

You can even try on clothes from Amazon and send them back if they don’t fit – no purchase necessary. It’s called Amazon Wardrobe. They send the articles of clothing to you; you try them for seven days. Your account never will be charged if you return the items.

It doesn’t cost anything to have the items shipped to you. There’s no cost to return things you don’t want to keep, either.

You can even submit questions about products and have them answered by the Amazon shopping community. I just received a question tonight about a pair of Skechers I recently purchased.

“Are these shoes for under pronation?” asked Janice Gonzalez in an email Amazon passed along. “I need a strong heel cup for supination/under pronation."

Essentially, she needs shoes with good support for alleviating foot pain. I responded that the shoes have a strong heel cup.

Losing myself in the shopper screen scroll

I also like shopping for candles online, even though you can’t smell their scents over the computer. I wonder how long it will take before we can smell something over the internet other than scams.

My candle budget had ballooned to outrageous proportions, so last payday I bought an essential oil diffuser. I figure it will be cheaper to buy the oil refills for the diffuser than a bunch of candles every payday.

You would not believe how many styles of oil diffusers exist. You could spend two hours trying to decide which one you want to buy. There must have been close to 100 choices if not more.

And then there are the dozens and dozens of scents of essential oils.

Sometimes, that’s the whole point. After I’ve been writing all day, I like to take a break from work and jump on Amazon for a while. It’s fun to click on every little thing you might want to purchase.

Taking a break for some online shopping is kind of like taking a walk around the block. It’s a nice diversion.

Online shoppers know best

Online shoppers like myself are informed shoppers. Online reviews make it possible to see a wide variety of opinions about a particular product.

Department store clerks knowledgeable about inventory are fast becoming a thing of the past. You learn more about a product by looking it up online and reading the reviews than you do shopping in person at a store.

Concerned a wireless printer that you’re thinking about buying looks chintzy in the picture? Not to worry. An online reviewer is sure to let you know if the printer is of poor quality.

And if you do buy something you don’t care for, you can always return it, just as you do with in-store purchases.

My next purchase: A vintage typewriter off eBay

eBay is another great site for “window shopping.”

Someone asked me a while back if I remember my first typewriter. I do. It was a Buddy L.

And wouldn’t you know a typewriter exactly like it can be found on eBay? The 1970s model toy typewriter is in excellent condition, the ad says, and even includes the box.

The typewriter is two-tone blue, just like mine was. They also came in two-tone brown.

But $145 plus $15 shipping seems steep for a toy typewriter from the 1970s. That’s what the seller wants, “or best offer.”

There’s another blue Buddy L typewriter on eBay for only $19.95, but the charge is $57.50 to ship. And it looks kind of beaten.

How amazing that my 1970s antique toy typewriter is available for purchase. And it works. I want to hear the little bell go off when I get to the end of a page.

The typewriter would make a great conversation piece, or a centerpiece for a table.

COVID-19 made online shopping convenient, but now it is here to stay.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO

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