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Online shopping takes away the thrill of the hunt

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-06-18


There are some people who donít enjoy leaving the house. They love being able to do everything from home, including shop, online. Thereís a reason some of these people are morbidly obese.

I get a kick out of shopping, particularly if Iím looking for a certain item. I once found the exact type of item my sister-in-law was looking for by going into an antique shop.

But when it comes to online shopping, I would rather have my teeth scraped by a novice dental assistant. Itís never as easy as the website promises. First, you have to register. Woe is you if you pick a simple log in name, like Joe2009. No, it has to be a certain amount of characters, including numbers (at least six, but no more than 10, preferably averaging 7.50) and letters (not to exceed 10). Some sites get around that by asking for an email address. Still, I find it a chore.

Then, thereís searching for what you want. Even if you type in the exact title of what you are looking for, sometimes it will bring up the most bizarre searches. Like say, if you are looking for ďChinese Cookbooks,Ē youíll end up with cookbooks in Chinese, learn-to-speak Chinese programs, or Chinese restaurants. I recently purchased a video editing program, only to find out I had to buy a codec, because the videos that played fine on my computer before I had to take it in to get it fixed would no longer play once I got my computer back. Going to the Microsoft website to search for the codec, I found out Iíd have to shell out an additional $4.99 to buy an MPEG 4 Encoder Upgrade. I had to register, of course, and because different pages were loaded because of my having to register, the original page where the item was located disappeared. So I did a search for the MPEG 4 Encoder, and the search turned up one ďmatch.Ē Something along the lines of ďSuperEditing Suite 2000.Ē Uh, didnít I type in that I was looking for an MPEG 4 ENCODER?

Then the page told me Iíd have to register my product. So I type in a 32-digit number, excluding the dashes, to make sure everything was kosher. Then, it asked for a computer id number. Huh? And I couldnít skip this step, because it had the dreaded asterisk beside it. I typed in a number on the disc envelope the program came in. No dice. Then, it said the webpage had expired. So I logged out and logged back in, retyped the100-digit number, only to be told that number was already registered. So since I was already in the system, I did a search, and after several minutes (I have dial-up, and yes, I know Iím a loser) I finally found a page with the product I needed on it. I clicked furiously on the icon and the shopping cart button. It needed a credit card number, so I typed in the 500-digit number, plus expiration date, plus the little security code, and supposedly, I made my purchase. This coder thing is supposed to be sent by email. Yet more numbers to plug into a little box, just so I can watch some crappy, unimaginative videos Iíve created.

If Iíd known it would be this much hassle just to make a video, I would have blown my money on something worthwhile, like designer purses. Theyíre nice to look at and I donít need a frigginí code to appreciate genuine leather crafted into a quality product.

And so thatís why online shopping has zero appeal to me. Sure, going online can help me track down a book that has been out of print for decades, but the real thrill of the hunt is going into a store with an outfit in mind, and being able to put it together for dirt cheap. I donít have to register or type in a bunch of numbers when I go into a store. I wrestle a real shopping cart out of the ones wedged together at the front of the store, and have at it. The other shoppers in the store are my enemies. Put back that pair of Leviís denim shorts, you bitch, those are MINE.

At home, online, thereís no one to glare at, no racks to navigate. There arenít any product displays, unless you include that heap of your freshly laundered underwear that you havenít put away yet. For the housebound or hermit-wannabes, online shopping is a blessing. To me, itís a curse. I avoid it at all costs.

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