Spending Online: Where Do You Draw The Line?

When the Internet was still relatively young, people were pretty afraid to put their credit card number out there on the open web. People would rather truck into the local store for anything they needed. Now, things are very different. People aren’t very afraid of buying on the Internet anymore and not only that but just about every service or product you could possibly imagine can be found on the Internet in a variety of flavors.

Personally, I have been buying things on eBay since around 2001 when my family first got a PC. We were on Dial-up back then so chances are if I was ever outbid, I would lose the auction because by the time I refreshed the page and found out I was outbid, the auction would have ended, buyer would have paid and the item would have already arrived through the mail πŸ˜‰ Dial-up was horrible..

The first things I remember buying online were video games. I bought vintage video game systems such as Super Nintendo and the original Nintendo. I then started buying the games to go with them and it was all downhill from there.

Since that time I have purchased things such as; electronics, computer components, software, PC games, PC peripherals, memory cards, physical books, ebooks, flowers and I have even gone so far as to order huge quantities of dried grains for storage as well as some Japanese cooking ingredients and spices. These last items are my most interesting online purchases and for the most part they aren’t perishable unless they happened to get broken open or lost in transit but I have heard of people ordering everything from milk to eggs online.

After all, according to Nielsen research, 74% of adult consumers purchased something on the internet in the second half of 2008.

On top of that, there are companies out there that their sole purpose is providing online payment options, such as Paypal. Even Google has an online shopping payment system.

Is it just me or is this a little too much? Will there come a time when you can buy premade sandwiches online much like the type you would find in a gas station and have it shipped to you for your lunch the next day? Is this something to look forward too?

Personally, I don’t trust parcel delivery services as I have had packages lost for a few weeks and arrive crumpled and unrecognizable. I don’t think I would ever order something as delicate as a gallon of milk or dozen eggs online but should we just embrace that as the future of the internet? Is it that far from ordering pizzas online for delivery which is a fairly common practice now?

Where do you draw the line when shopping online?

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13 People have left comments on this post

» Mrs. MicahNo Gravatar said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 09:10:14 }

I dunno where I draw the line. I buy a lot of stuff online, 1) because we live in an area without many shops (Northwest DC has them, but then it becomes a day-long expedition) and 2) because it’s often stuff that wouldn’t be in regular stores anyway.

One thing I love about buying online is being able to support smaller businesses–crafters, resellers, that kind of thing. There are bound to be some with bad business practices, even if they don’t show up to me as the consumer…but that’s no different from shopping elsewhere.

I rarely buy clothes online because I’ve often found that size charts don’t work. I can normally find a top that fits right, but jeans/trousers are a real pain. Socks, on the other hand… πŸ™‚ well, there’s almost nowhere to buy socks.
.-= Mrs. MicahΒ΄s last blog ..Why Care About Debt Freedom? =-.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 09:10:49 }

Awesome comment Mrs. Micah, I think supporting smaller online businesses is a huge plus and a pretty big deal. I was once one of those! πŸ™‚ The place I bought my Japanese cooking stuff was AsianFoodGrocer.com and they are a pretty small company. They have an active twitter account, and great customer service so I really enjoyed buying from them. Thats another thing I like about some of the smaller online shops, they are small, friendly and down to earth. That usually comes with good service and if there is a problem, they usually understand.

I agree about the clothes..I’ve thought about buying shoes online, some swear by it but it makes me nervous. The first pair of shoes I try on never fits right so my guess would probably land me with a useless pair that needed to be returned.

» YanaNo Gravatar said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 09:10:31 }

I’m not sure where I draw the line when shopping online, although I don’t buy many clothing items that way. I don’t like clothes shopping in person, but I have to try on whatever I’m considering. It’s hard for me to find pants that fit, but I did once purchase a pair of jeans online that fit just fine.

The most I’ve spent on one purchase online was around $1,900 for a food storage supply; other than that it was a netbook for around $800. I love amazon.com, and am currently waiting for Nido powdered whole milk from them. I do buy certain food items there. The greatest appeal of online shopping is no sales tax along with free shipping. I generally won’t buy an expensive item if I have to pay sales tax. When I absolutely must buy a new desktop computer, it is likely I will do in online at amazon or J&R Electronics. Though I might look locally at Staples first. I was and still am very happy with the computer setup I bought there a few years ago.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 16, 2009 - 11:10:37 }

I think that’s pretty lucky to buy jeans online that fit. I can’t find any that fit even in person πŸ˜‰

Curious, what did you buy for your food storage that was $1,900? I assume it’s one total purchase amount with many little things making up the price, but food storage interests me so I wonder what kind of things you store. I currently have flour, sugar, steel cut oats and a few different kinds of rice, all in 25lb amounts.

How do you like the netbook? What kind did you purchase?

I agree about the sales tax. I used to live in California and there was sales tax changed even on online purchases if the retailer was based in California but I don’t have that problem now and it’s really nice to have tax free purchases.

I would suggest Newegg.com for buying your next desktop. HP’s are really great, but I would stay away from Dells. I’m in the IT field by trade so if you have any questions in that respect, please don’t hesitate to ask.

» YanaNo Gravatar said: { Oct 16, 2009 - 02:10:13 }

As far as the food storage package, I got the Freedom Unit at eFoods Direct. That was last year, and I liked their website better back then. It was plain and not flashy. Also ordered a water filter, but didn’t like it and returned it. I only know of two such online sources for this kind of food, the other one being Nitro-Pak. I checked out the ingredients and content at both, and decided against the very high sodium content at the other place. Locally, I stock up when there are sales. I have 20 lbs of sugar in the car right now, because I haven’t got room inside! The Freedom Unit came with reduced fat dry milk, which I think is gross. That’s why I’ve been ordering Nido whole at amazon. It’s pretty good. I should quit drinking it, else I won’t have any when there actually is a food shortage.

The netbook has Linux, which I thought I wanted to learn in order to have a spare computer without having to get Vista. It turns out that it is just too much for me to deal with, because my favorite software programs won’t work on it. It’s an Asus Eee PC. I gave it to my husband and got the same thing with Windows XP for around $300, and it suits me very well. I upgraded the memory when I bought it, too. I like the long battery life and the fact that it doesn’t get hot. I got a Logitech wireless mouse, because I couldn’t get comfortable with the pad.

I’ll keep Newegg in mind. I was actually considering a Mac, when I’m forced to buy a new desktop, but then a techie friend of mine said Windows 7 is not bad, and mentioned compatibility issues with Macs. He still prefers XP, and that is what I will continue to use until I have no choice.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Interesting, I had a friend that drank powdered milk his whole life. That’s all his mom would buy because it kept and was lower fat or something, I’m not sure but I always remember eating cold cereal that tasted a bit off because of the powdered milk. We have a pantry dedicated to food storage but its pretty tiny and almost full.

Linux is a bit to take in at first but the power and flexibility is beyond anything Windows can offer and most software apps for Windows can be installed on Linux with a little tweaking (Google Wine) or have a free Linux counterpart. Mac will be just as bad as learning Linux. It’s a whole new experience and very pricey on top of that so I would pass on Mac if it were me. I agree Windows 7 is pretty decent but XP is still more stable.

In reality, Microsoft will end support for XP (again πŸ™‚ ) but they can never make you stop using it. You have the license and can continue to use it forever, there are still people out there using Windows 95 πŸ™‚

» MoneyMateKateNo Gravatar said: { Oct 20, 2009 - 11:10:39 }

I think of online dating sites as “shopping for a mate”, and I won’t do it.

I also agree with Mrs Micah about clothing – unless it’s something I’ve worn before, e.g. Old Navy Perfect Fit t-shirts, or something where fit doesn’t matter a whole lot, e.g. socks or sweatshirts, I will buy it in a bricks & mortar store. Which is a shame – it’s my least favorite kind of shopping.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 20, 2009 - 11:10:32 }


I had never thought of rebuying something online after buying it a first time in person, that’s a good idea, if you can find exactly the same thing online.

I agree about the online dating, all the commercials for it seem like the Progressive insurance commercials, “Tell us about you and we will pick a product that fits your needs”

» Tom @ Canadian Finance BlogNo Gravatar said: { Oct 26, 2009 - 09:10:00 }

I buy almost everything online if I can get a better deal doing it. And that’s saying something when I live 5 minutes away from the largest mall in North America!

There are a few companies that do deliver groceries through online orders. It’s similar to pizza delivery… you order online and they bring it to you your home. At least they don’t throw it on UPS!
.-= Tom @ Canadian Finance BlogΒ΄s last blog ..10 Ways To Reduce Your Cable Or Satellite TV Bill =-.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Oct 27, 2009 - 11:10:04 }

Tom, I’m the same way. If I can save money, I will buy it online, regardless of what it is. I rarely ever buy anything brick and mortar anymore. It’s so convenient to buy online for me since I’m online nearly 18/7 lol

I wonder if there are any grocery delivery services like that around here..

Thanks for the comment!

» OMG LOANNo Gravatar said: { Jan 16, 2011 - 09:01:21 }

I don’t think I will draw a line for online shopping, it’s convenient, it’s relatively safe and it’s cold outside atm. πŸ™‚

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ya got that right, it’s cold here too!

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