4 Reasons why online shopping sucks

The end of the month is coming and I’ll have a little bit of money sitting in my PayPal account but it leaves me in a little bit of a quandary. Like, do I transfer some; or all of it, to my bank account so I can get that Christmas shopping down. If I leave some of it in my PayPal account then I am stuck dealing with the sometimes depressing online shopping experience.

It’s not always depressing; as buying digital goods is fairly simple and painless – at least it isn’t affected by one or more of my following suckage reasons. No – the real pain and agony comes when you head out to shop for non-digital type goodies. You know – those things like hardware, household stuff for the wife or those gaming consoles for the kids. The type of things that need to be paid for and then shipped.

In the spirit of online shopping and the holiday spirit here’s a list of the reasons why I think the whole experience really sucks sometimes.

1. Payment methods

This has to be the biggest bitch point I have with online shopping; but before you get your panties in a bunch let’s make a couple of things clear. Not everyone wants to buy digital goods. Not everyone in the world has a credit card. Not everyone in the world has a VISA debit card. Not everyone lives in the United States. So don’t even bother trying to get me going by bringing those points up in a comment.

There is nothing worse than finding just the right item that you want to buy only to find out that they only accept three major credit cards. What makes it even more maddening though is that you don’t find out until page 5 of their stupid ass payment form. Gee couldn’t you let me know that before you made me enter in all my personal information – guess not.

Then we have the famous VISA style bank debit cards or the virtual credit cards. Whoop-frikken-ee! First with the bank VISA debit cards – chances are if you don’t qualify for a VISA card you won’t for a VISA debit card. You might have a bank debit card but that won’t work. Then there is the fact that even if they accept a straight ordinary bank debit card it had better be one from the U.S. because I have yet to see anyone that accepts a Canadian bank debit card.

Then we have PayPal – but that is another whole separate point.

2. The Big Boys and wanting to pay with PayPal

The short of it is if you want to buy stuff from places like Amazon, the new Microsoft store (for that Xbox deal) or any of the really non-eBay retailers you are screwed unless you have a major credit card. Forget even thinking about paying with PayPal. It ain’t gonna happen.

That is one of the reasons that Amazon will never be an endpoint of online shopping for a lot of people. The other big reason comes later. I can understand to a point why considering that PayPal is owned by eBay that online retailers don’t accept it as a payment option; but it wasn’t always like that. Even before eBay PayPal has never been an option at Amazon and I’m sorry but that is just down right stupid. I can’t count the number of times that I have wanted to buy a book or other goods at Amazon but couldn’t because of this nonsense.

To me this is being exceptionally shortsighted and stupid

3. Geotarding what I can buy

Nothing pisses me off more than finding just the right item and entering all my payment information only to see – No shipping to outside of the U.S.

Screw you. I’m already going to get raped by any shipping costs as it is. If I’m willing to bend over a little further and pay outrageous shipping costs then damn well be willing to take my money and buy those goods.

I see this on Amazon all the time at any point you step beyond the bounds of book buying. If you want to buy that nice little trinket for the wife or maybe a a nice DVD player on sale – forget it if you live anywhere else but in the great United States.

In the Amazon example you can always head to your local geographical version (if there is one) but if that local Amazon site is anything like the Canadian one the pickings are pretty dismal. Where most people seem to make Amazon and other big names a regular stopping point I’m lucky if I remember Amazon even exists outside of any news that shows up about it.

4. Shipping outside of the U.S. – or how FedEx and UPS laugh all the way to the bank

I know everyone touts Amazon’s free shipping horn but here’s a hint. Not everyone buys from Amazon and not everyone lives in the U.S.

The moment there is a border to cross I can just visualize some FedEx or UPS executive eyeing up that new BMW or Mercedes purchase. In-country charges are bad enough but if I get something from the US I pray to all that is holy that it is getting shipped with GIFT splashed across the package. If it doesn’t then I suddenly am having to pay Custom Tariff Fees and then our lovely government gets in the act wanting their share and I have to pay taxes on what they think the item is worth. Suddenly that good deal just cost me an arm and a leg.

Even worse though in some ways is in-country shipping – especially when you are in the same time zone, the same province as where you are buying the goods from. Recently I bought a new mouse from TigerDirect in Canada – great service and I’m very happy with them – but when it came to figuring out how much I had to pay via PayPal I was suddenly faced with a $10.00 shipping fee. For a mouse .. a package that probably didn’t even weight a pound.

Then another time I priced out some RAM memory and again it was a great deal – except for the shipping. Again I was faced with a $10.00 shipping fee for something that fits inside an envelope. Please tell me how this makes sense.

That I think pretty well covers some of the ways that I think online shopping sucks. The things is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Retailers could stop being so myopic about how we can pay for those goods. Retailers like Amazon could easily support us paying by PayPal. In this day and age of the global village and global economy mentality we shouldn’t have to deal with geotarded products. As well we shouldn’t shafted the way we are for the shipping of goods that we buy; after all the more we buy the more that will need to be shipped (DUH!)

Do I think any of the above will change?

Not bloody likely.

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