Internet Shopping for Beginners

by mutteringhousewife

I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who are worried that if they open up the Amazon site a hand will extend from the screen and start going through their pockets.  I’ve just finished a whole lot of online Christmas shopping and am in the mood to give those of you with the collywobbles about the whole thing a helping hand.

First of all, most people I know who’ve had their credit card done over have had it copied in a physical shop, like a restaurant.  I know you’re still worried, so there are a few things you can do.  First, if your home has a wireless setup make sure it is password protected.  Now there’s a whole other blog.  If you’re really having trouble with this step, send me a personal message of some kind and I’ll come ’round to your place (if feasible) and fix it.  If you’re very worried, you could set up a card just for internet purchases, but it really isn’t necessary, the card companies are pretty good about refunding you if you’ve been genuinely defrauded.  Another important thing is to make sure your virus software is up to date and isn’t just freeware your son-in-law installed one night after dinner.  Then once you have held your breath and actually typed your credit card details into the computer and purchased something, check for the bit that asks if they can keep your information to make your future shopping easier.  I don’t mind them keeping my address, but I’d rather they didn’t have my card details on file.

Now the fun bit.  What do you want to buy?  It’s all out there.  Spend a bit of time browsing to see what prices are like and if they’ll ship to Australia.  To get you started, here are some I’ve bought from more than once.

Australian online shopping is generally woeful and embarrassing, but there are some exceptions and more are either popping up or getting their act together all the time.  Peters of Kensington has been terrific for years and I’ve often done my Christmas shopping there online rather than drag myself over to Kensington, find a park and lose myself in their baffling store layout.  The only other Australian site I regularly buy from is Nespresso.  I’d really like to buy from JB HiFi (badly laid out) or Spotlight (catalogue scans OMG are we in the nineties??), but they just suck too much.  I am keeping a close eye on The Iconic, that looks like fun.

I buy all my underwear and quite a few clothes from Victoria’s Secret.  I popped into a shop when we visited the US a couple of years ago and really couldn’t believe how comfortable and attractive the range was my dears.  Even with their horrendous postage, the value is terrific.  When buying clothes just remember to take your Australian size and divide it by two.  If in doubt, buy something stretchy.  I bought two pairs of leggings at the same time as I bought a pair from Target at the same price, and the Target ones are now see through while the VS ones are going strong.

I used to buy the kids’ school shoes from, but they were recently consumed whole by Amazon.  I had only ever bought ebooks on my Kindle through Amazon (I do love buying a book while lying in bed, then reading it straight away), but took the plunge this morning to get some Christmas presents.  I really wish they’d put some kind of filter on their site to only display items they’re prepared to ship to Australia, it’s such a tease.  You can get there by choosing Amazon as the seller and Amazon Global Eligible as the shipping, but you need to do it each time you perform a search.  Perhaps I should send them some strongly worded feedback.  The shipping wasn’t too bad, and just look at those prices!  I shall be back in January for school shoes, I’m certainly not paying a hundred smackers in a local shop for black leather shoes, especially considering the current parkour craze going on in this family.

Then there’s ThinkGeek.  I spend hours window shopping there, and this morning did quite a bit of Christmas shopping.  Their shipping is also horrendous but goodness me they carry a lot of merchandise that is pertinent to this family.


See, right there, I got a Tardis keyring and a handy gadget that clicks onto your keyring that’s a Philips head screwdriver, a pocket knife and a bottle opener.  I was sorely tempted to get for the Moose’s science teacher the tshirt that said “Non-flammable? Challenge accepted”, but it won’t get here in time.

None of these websites have ever ripped off my credit card, so you may want to start with those.  Go on, online shopping is fun, there’s no parking problems, you can do it in your pyjamas while eating breakfast, and there’s none of that unwanted social interaction that so often interferes with actual shopping.  But you’ll have to do it now if you want it at your place by Christmas.