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Rated: E · Essay · Internet/Web · #1854120
My first essay since high school, 40 years ago. Please help me with some criticism.
The Online Shopping Experience

    Do you dread facing the crowds at the mall during holiday time? Is it exasperating to run from store to store looking for exactly what you want? Nobody needs that kind of stress! Instead, imagine yourself sitting in your padded office chair, your feet are up, you are wearing your most comfortable pajamas and holding a steaming hot cup of coffee. You look up to realize you are at the mall and some helpful soul is pushing you from store to store as you find everything on your shopping list. Twitch your nose three times, like Samantha from “Bewitched”, and you are back at home, waiting for your purchases to be delivered. This is essentially the online shopping experience. Online shopping offers convenience, a plethora of choices, and many other advantages over the stressful frustration of shopping at the mall.

    There is simply no more convenient way to shop than online. Shopping online requires no dress code; one may sit down at the computer wearing absolutely nothing and not a single “dot com” would mind. Imagine never having to drive to the mall again and search for a parking place, only to get beat out by another aggressive shopper. At the mall, one cannot simply show up, but must wait for the store to open. Then, shoppers must wait again for a clerk to be free to help with locating a particular item or making a purchase. However, it is possible to get one’s shopping done online as quickly as a television commercial break. This means there is no longer any need to fit a shopping trip into a busy schedule, or to wait for the snow or rain to stop. Over at the mall, one is forced to carry all of one’s purchases until returning to the car; but online purchases are delivered to the front door at home.  Online, one need shop for an item only once, mark it as a “favorite”, and find it again instantly at any time. If buyer’s remorse has occurred and one wishes to return an item, then another trip to the mall is necessary. However, online purchases usually come with a return label, or one can be found online and printed at home. Return policies allow for at least 10 days grace, so packages can be mailed whenever the next errand trip occurs. Shopping just does not get any easier than this! 

    Everything on store shelves is available online. Unfortunately, one must trudge from store to store at the mall in order to find what is available, which store has it, and at what price. Even though many stores advertise, they do not include every one of their items. However, on the Internet, one can enter the name of an item and have it appear on screen in moments, along with its price. Also, there are sites, such as bizrate.com, which will search other sites and show on a single screen every site that offers a certain item and how much it costs there. Even groceries can be purchased online, with perishables arriving frozen.  Another benefit of shopping on the Internet is the ability to shop at out of state stores. Actually, no matter where it is in the world, any store that has a web site is available to all shoppers. To the delight of every online shopper, the choices are overwhelmingly limitless.

    There are many other advantages to shopping online. Coupons are ubiquitous. Instead of hoping to find one in the newspaper or mail, one simply Googles “coupon”, and a list of all the coupon sites appears. Online coupons are coded. At checkout, the code is entered and honored. A little-known advantage, that also reduces the price of an item, is the subscription. Many web sites will arrange to send an item, such as facial cleansing cream, at regular intervals without separate authorization. The guarantee of continued custom allows them to reduce the cost, and shipping is free. Also, one can receive e-mails from favorite sites, which are notifications of special sales. Simply clicking on them will bring up the correct site and, at checkout, the discount will be automatically applied. Another fine advantage of shopping online is that there are usually no taxes to pay; except when the buyer and the seller are in the same state. Shipping charges are the one thing that makes shopping online cost more than shopping at the mall. However, sellers are aware that this is a deterrent for some people. Shoebuy.com never charges for shipping in either direction. If the shoes do not fit, just print a postage-paid return label from the web site. At Amazon.com, shoppers can purchase an Amazon Prime membership and never pay shipping charges. As a Prime member, I accidently ordered two copies of the same paperback book. I went online to request a return label and was told that I would receive my refund without having to return the book! I assume that it would have cost them more to restock the book than it was worth. Sellers again save money by not having to distribute to stores the items that are purchased online. Many pass this savings on to their online buyers. Thus, the price, including shipping, will compare favorably to the price at the mall; especially when gasoline costs are figured in. Coupons, tax freedom, and gasoline savings are just some of the many advantages to shopping on the Internet.

    The convenience of shopping online simply cannot be underestimated. Once a shopper becomes familiar with the basics, that person will be saving time, money, gasoline, and eliminating a source of stress and frustration. Weather is never a concern. The choices are endless; and discounts, memberships and subscriptions are readily available. Do you suffer from insomnia? Use that time to get your shopping done. Check your e-mails for the latest sales, or grab a coupon off the Internet. All of the online sites are open 24 hours, seven days a week. Heat up some milk; settle into your desk chair, and check “shopping” off your “to-do” list. The pleasant feeling that comes at the completion of a dreaded chore will have you nodding off and dreaming of how you are going to spend all the extra time and money you just saved.

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