Personal Musings on Online Shopping


Recently, all my online shopping experiences have been epic fails.

While normally I appreciate buying online from my own living room at midnight (or whenever), these recent disappointments make me reconsider this whole online shopping thing.

Ever feel this way, too?

Here’s what happened.

In the past two months, I made a few online purchases from a luxury store and a couple mid-range clothing retailers. My work week is busy and weekends are for family time, so I seldom leisurely shop at brick and mortar stores. Besides, variety and size availability seem better online these days anyway, in my opinion.  This makes online shopping so seductive!

Shopping Fail #1

From the luxury store, I bought 3 nice quality end of season summer dresses at good prices. Victory! Great feeling, right? Except only one of the dresses ever actually arrived.  The second dress was sent incorrectly and who knows where the dress I did buy ended up. The third dress never arrived and was just simply cancelled from my order. No explanation. No notification. Talk about let down… I had to return the wrong item to the store and then keep checking my credit card account to make sure the cancelled item was refunded.

Shopping Fail #2

From the mid-range retailer, I ordered pants and a top. Even though I’ve shopped here before and know the sizing, these pants were way too small, as in, have to lie down on the bed to get them on. In addition, the top wasn’t the quality I’d hoped for. Normally, I prefer returning items to the actual store, being worried about them getting lost in the mail. But these were designated as return by mail only, so that’s what I did. And you know what? They did get lost in the mail! This required lots of phone calls to customer service, excessive tracking of the package, and then a final negotiation with the store to grant me the refund. My advice: Always take a picture of your mailing label!

Shopping Fail #3

From the last store, I bought gorgeous special occasion shoes that had rave reviews. Yes, these are the shoes pictured above! They arrived and what can I say? Major disappointment. They’re great if you’re 16 and going to Prom. The very wide bow ankle strap also requires the wearer to have 10 inch diameter ankles. Though they are certainly cute, they’re not even remotely wearable. Were the reviews fake?

The Takeaway

Even though online shopping promises convenience, gratification, and ease, in the end, does it really deliver? When I add up the time spent online, dashed expectations, excessive packaging (yes, that too) and time returning items that are the wrong size or just not as pictured, it would have been better to just visit the physical store, like we did in the old days.

Growing up in a small town, my sister and I used to drive about an hour to a big fancy mall. This shopping day was such an exciting event for us. We’d wear our best outfits, buy lunch at the food court, get ice cream from Haagen Daz, and spend hours browsing and make wiser selections on things we actually saw with our own eyes. We’d chat with the salespeople, run into our friends, and in the end, come home on a high excited by the day and our finds.

Sometimes I really miss those shopping experiences… Do you?

Since I’ve been blogging these last few months, I’ve realized that all of you have an amazing unique perspective. I’m curious how you feel about online shopping and your experiences. Are they mostly hits or misses? Does it save you time or do you end up frustrated?

Please share in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Personal Musings on Online Shopping

    1. Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for your comment. I think it must be pretty common these days, right? The allure of online shopping is just too great and maybe never really adds up in reality.


  1. I do prefer to try things on at the store if I can. I find myself returning a lot of items as well when I order online. It’s hard though because a lot of items you see online are sometimes not at the stores around you. In addition, a lot of times I have to wear petite sizes which for some reason are not carried in the stores. JCrew and Anthropologie are great examples of this. It looks like I feel your pain on this matter. Thanks for sharing with us and good luck with your future shopping!



    1. Hi Kathy,
      I totally agree that some sizes and items are just not available in stores these days, which forces us to shop online. I feel like I’m constantly returning things too…


  2. Funny, I clicked this post to see what glitter shoes they were, and am disappointed to here they are not as great in person. I’ve had many bad online shopping experiences like this. And being addicted to online shopping, the more I shop, the more I learn. I learned there is one luxury store that is notorious for horrible shipping (which I won’t name;) and a few brands who have changed their sizing, making them smaller (who knows why!?) But I continue to online shop because of the variety available compared to the brick and mortar stores in my area 🙂


    1. Hi Lili!
      Yes, we will not name the luxury stores we find to be disappointing… but I have a feeling we may be thinking of the same one!

      The glitter shoes do look so cute, but no way any person could wear them. Incidentally, I’ve seen similar versions of this shoe that seem okay, so maybe it was just the particular brand I bought.


  3. Hello Mary! What an interesting post. And yes, I hear you! I do enjoy buying from the comfort of my own home but I rather go to the store where I can experience a better feel of what I am buying and also buy what actually fits. I buy online only when I know I can return at the store and if I know how the brand fits. I totally agree about having the actual mall experience. It is more personal and could end up being great quality time spent with a relative or a friend. Thanks for sharing my friend and have an awesome weekend! XOXO, Jeannette


    1. He Jeannette,
      Thanks for your take on it… yes, making sure you can return an online item is vitally important, especially with all the weird sizing these days


  4. Hey Mary! I think once you have enough online shopping fails you learn which sites/brands you can rely on to fit you well, and also have size consistency within their line. For me, I have one go-to site that I pretty much buy all my clothes these days because I know 1. the quality will be good, 2. it will fit me, and 3. easy pre-paid shipping labels! Other brands… it’s always a gamble, so sometimes I will size up knowing that I will take the garment to the tailor anyway.


    1. Hey Mika!
      Thanks for stopping by! Did you find me on Pinterest? Yes, those are all good suggestions to save time and effort. Talk to you soon!


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