Tag Archives: Shopping

Useless things I’ve bought this week

30 Nov

This week, I have unknowingly bought two useless products:

  • A non-waterproof tent.
  • Christmas baubles without string.

Seriously. Waddup with dat?

Is it an extended April Fools’ Day joke by the world’s manufacturing wizards? A prank played on an ever-trusting public? Or perhaps it’s a clever marketing ploy to get us back to the shops to buy more – ‘I just need to pick up some bauble strings…hey, look at that! It’s a slicer-dicer-juicer-in-one! I totally need one of those!’

Can you imagine buying a loaf of bread from the bakery and opening it up at home to find only the crusts? Then needing to go back to buy the inside bits? Or buying a brand new car and having to head down to Bob Jane to fit it with a set of tyres?

I remember as a kid, watching those toy commercials with the sped-up voice over that said, ‘batteries not included.’ Which is why after unwrapping the latest gizmo or gadget, you’d also unwrap a 12-pack of Energizers. Cheers Santa!

Not including batteries is understandable. Plus, on toys, the no-battery notification is fairly easy to spot. But why are we being sent off with a bag of string-less baubles (don’t try threading them onto a teeny tree branch, folks. It doesn’t work!), or an outdoor tent that needs a slathering of waterproofing spray before it can be used outside (unless you want to be saturated with rain as you sleep).

I’ll be honest – I didn’t exactly choose the most expensive option when buying the tent and decorations (hey, a girl needs spare change for shoes!) But I did spend a good $30 on the tent and $40 on the sparkly balls. And in my mind, that warrants being sold a fully-functioning product.

I wonder if in the future, my kids will be left disappointed after unwrapping an empty box with ‘toy not included’ noted in fine print on the side. What a sad, sad Christmas that will be…although, incredibly cheap! Leaving Mummy with more money to spend on pretty shoes. Mwahaha.

Have you ever bought something that didn’t come as advertised? Share your experiences by commenting below.

Until then, I’m off to buy bauble string and waterproofing spray…

Why I’m not ashamed to shop online

29 Nov

This year, I shunned the shops and ordered all my Christmas gifts online. There is now a burgeoning bag of goodies in the bottom of my wardrobe, waiting to be wrapped.  I can’t stop looking at them. Unlike other Christmases, I know I made some damn fine purchases this year. The perfect pressie for each recipient. I am one seriously smug pre-Christmas shopping shopper!

The gifts were swiftly delivered to my office, headache-free and without the memories of toes being run over by racing prams or standing in an endless line to ask if the shop stocks an obscure DVD that no other store in the entire city seems to have. Followed by battling to the back of the store to find said DVD (which inevitably is not where the shop assistant said it would be) and re-joining the now longer queue to buy the bloody thing!

I also avoided the dreaded ‘Oh crap, it’s 5pm on Christmas Eve Eve (yes I call the day before Christmas Eve ‘Christmas Eve Eve’) and all I have found is this lame golfers’ book of jokes for Dad (who hasn’t played golf in years) and a novelty mobile phone holder for some poor unsuspecting friend!’

All I did was browse, click, eat some chocolate (a prerequisite for online shopping), click, click, more chocolate, put in cart, enter delivery details and sign for package placed on my desk three days later. Job. Done.

I’m afraid I haven’t been able to keep my successful shopping experience to myself. I’ve been gloating to anyone who’ll listen (and even to those who won’t).

‘Yes, I’ve already done all my Christmas shopping and it’s not even December yet!’

‘Mmm, I know, I’m just far too organised!’

‘Oh, I don’t know how you can stand going to the shops at this time of year. It’s mayhem!’

See – total snob.

But I don’t care. Because on Christmas Eve Eve, rather than sobbing into my arm-length shopping list and joining an endless Westfield car park queue, I will be slumped on mum’s couch, drinking wine and eating novelty Christmas snacks (you know those strange gooey things you wouldn’t dare eat at any other time, but because they’re shaped like Santa Claus, you can’t help but chow down?)

Is online shopping guilt-free?

Lately, there has been a lot of bad press about online shopping. The usual opponent, Gerry Harvey, one half of the Harvey Norman empire, has routinely slammed locals for turning to the net to purchase wares from overseas.  I feel for him – the true blue Aussie entrepreneur who has watched local businesses shut up shop as the internet takes over. Interestingly, the chain finally opened its own online store this week and apparently made $50,000 in the first day.

Good on him, I say. As the old saying goes, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’

Gerry’s main concern has always been that Aussies can buy goods up to $1000 from overseas online stores without paying GST. His argument is that this is crippling homegrown businesses. I can see his point – of course our economy will wilt if we’re no longer indulging in physical retail therapy. Even if you take into account shipping and exchange rates when buying from overseas, the product will often end up costing a lot less than it does at your local Westfield.

Though, as Choice reports, ‘Who can blame [consumers buying online from overseas stores] when Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games, for instance, cost 91% more from a major Australian online retailer than from an overseas online website based in Asia?  Or when a pair of Nike running shoes cost $240 at a major Australian sports retailer while the same product can be bought online for $134 from a US sports store?’

Choice has even launched an investigation into why shoppers in Australia pay more than those in the UK, US or Asia.

I always assumed it was a population thing – we simply don’t have enough people to pump up demand for goods. Or perhaps we’re so far away from the manufacturing hubs that we attract ridiculously high shipping costs, which are passed on to the consumer.

I’ll be very interested to read the findings…

In the meantime, I can revel in my super organised pre-Christmas shopping snobbery, as I did order all my Christmas gifts from Australian online stores. Not to make any sort of social statement, but it just seemed a lot easier than ordering from overseas, trying to find out whether they ship to Australia, comparing costs and then hoping that I chose a legitimate store. Plus, even though it may work out cheaper to buy from overseas, I do feel a twinge of patriotism (or perhaps it’s just a post-shopping rush?) when I click ‘confirm order’ on an Aussie site. For me, it just feels like the right thing to do. That and eating chocolate while I shop. 🙂

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