The Good and Bad of Online Shopping

Since the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 hit, I've done a good amount of online shopping.

I heard a news report the other day that said on-average, Americans have purchased things online due to the "Quarantine" that they wouldn't normally buy. While I can't necessarily say this is true for me, I have gotten a package in the mail just about every other day for the past 3 weeks. And I've been loving it.

Some of my recent splurges from Amazon include the 4 items I posted about here, as well as;

a phone case and screen protector for my new Samsung Note 9

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi-Surface Concentrate in the Honeysuckle scent

3 Method foaming hand soap refills

a 3-pack of Dawn dish detergent

2 spa filters for our Coleman Saluspa. (Here's a quick review of this product).

a hot comb

an Intex Swim Center family-sized inflatable pool

And for some upcoming craft projects;

a one-pound coil of seagrass

1,000 wooden beads, in various sizes

and a 1/2 inch rope, 50 feet in length

Amazon appears to have it together when it comes to overall quality of delivery, as I had no problems with any of these orders, even receiving most ahead of schedule. Nothing arrived damaged and everything was as-advertised.

Walmart I have to say, was another story.

From them I ordered the following:

2 lamps

mini glue sticks

2 T-shirts, sized 3XL

a water bottle

men's daily multi-vitamins

3 6-pack washcloths

and a small hair clipper kit

For most items, the order was fine. One of the lamps however, arrived severely damaged. It was as if someone smashed it on the ground before putting it in the box. The base was hanging off and the cement block that held the base pieces together had broken and was falling out of their covering. I put the destroyed lamp to the side to return it to the store and proceeded to order another one.

When the second lamp arrived, the base was intact but the shade was busted up. It's a good thing I still had the broken lamp because I was able to switch out the lamp shade and when I made the return to Walmart, they got back a lamp that looked like it had been run over by a truck and I had 2 stylish lamps at home that actually worked.

With one of the orders, the items arrived in a Tropicana box. I thought this was odd but I wasn't mad because everything inside was as expected. I figured Walmart was just happy to be able to fulfill orders correctly and the packaging was the least of their concerns. Or mine.

The other problem arose with the T-shirts. I ordered shirts sized 3XL in the color grey and what I received was 2 navy blue shirts, size large. When I requested a return on the site, Walmart did a good thing. They refunded my money and sent me a response to 'keep, donate, or discard' the item. That was a first for me and it was very much appreciated.

The last online purchase I made was to order a fire pit kit and some additional supplies from Lowe's.

We were ready to buy everything in the store since the website said there were 6 fire pits in stock, but the Lowe's worker didn't seem to know how to locate a crane operator to bring out the palette the fire pits are sold on. She literally said, " I don't know" about 3 times when I asked her what we should do. She even went as far as to suggest we come back the next day.

And why should we do that??

She was so confused and when we thought about the weight of all we needed, we figured it was best to pay the $65 delivery charge and sit at home and let it come to us. So we did.

I placed the online order on May 15th and it was due to arrive on May 29th. I don't like to wait but we were actually in no hurry so we waited. After the delivery truck left on the 29th and I had taken a phone survey, giving my level of satisfaction with the delivery a perfect 10, we started to take apart the bundle. Once everything was laid out it was clear that the 5 bags of lava rocks I ordered, didn't make it to our house.

We called Lowe's customer care and couldn't get through for hours. We called a few physical stores and no one answered the phone. We went to one location and the line was outrageous. We were about to give up and sit on the phone the next day until someone picked up, but we decided to go to a different store about an hour before closing time.

My husband went in attempting to pick up the missing lava rocks and found that the store had none. The customer service lady was really understanding and promptly issued a refund for the rocks. Then when my husband expressed his frustration for paying for a delivery and still having to come out and hunt down the missing stuff, the lady refunded the delivery charge as well. Now THAT'S what I call customer service.

Purchasing things in general during this time has become quite a challenge. Online shopping is not much better being that it is hit or miss. Ordering things online has obviously become so overdone that mistakes are being made all over the place. While being mildly inconvenienced, it's great when you can come away from the situation with some sense of recovered loss. And while I don't plan to stop shopping online, I do intend to proceed with caution.

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