Gone are the days of bargaining exclusively by threat to mamas, “Ei daam e dile den naile jai”. Like every other sphere of human life, shopping has drastically changed due to the touch of the mighty internet. The venture of buying a product you can't check, from a life form on the other side of the screen can prove to be tricky. Here's how:
The most popular annoyance when checking out products online is the vendor's covertness. For some strange reason, the sellers on Facebook seem unwilling to disclose the price of the product publicly even when asked by numerous customers. Instead the customers are asked to “inbox 4 price”. There is an obvious profit scheme my lack of business sense can't figure out but for a customer who merely wants to do window shopping or look through all the options before deciding, this seems like a trouble uncalled for.
Some shops are, for lack of a better word, sentient. They not only set an outrageously high price but offensively argue like an angsty teen against whoever points it out.
A friend of mine ordered a custom t-shirt for someone's birthday. Despite being told that she would need it on a specific date, the shop fired back that they did not know it was “for someone's birthday” or they would have delivered it earlier. Even after that inexcusable unprofessionalism, they stopped replying entirely to her queries for 9 days and then barely sent a generic apology. Another friend of mine faced almost same horror but her poster did arrive unannounced by a rude deliveryman, days after the birthday, when she had already spent money on a backup gift. She had to pay for an 850 taka worth Tom Hiddleston poster which had a hideously disfigured picture of his perfectly symmetrical handsome face.
More often than not the delivery men are geographically challenged. Sometimes the customers have to send someone to meet them midway to collect the product which gives them no chance to check it before paying. They end up paying for a product of much worse quality than what is advertised online. My friend tried asking for a refund. Let's just say, she will never be shopping there again.
Of course there are shops where the owner is sincere and punctual, rather than inconveniencing the buyer they would be frank as to whether they can deliver quality stuff on time. The worst thing a shop can do is keep the customer waiting in anticipation and keeping their queries ticked “seen” on Facebook. A lot of variables render the rule of “buyers beware” ineffective in online shopping. Be prepared to be delivered faulty gadgets, shoes of wrong size and overpriced miniature outfits that might fit your cat but not you. If you ask me, online shopping is a gamble where there is only one thumb rule. Is it better than giving up your sanity to navigate Chandni Chowk in this heat that could fry eggs on the sidewalk? If no, then don't do it. You have been warned.
Anupoma Joyeeta Joyee is a perpetually sleepy Law student who emotionally identifies with ducks and occasionally sets out on writing sprees. Feel free to rant to her at firstname.lastname@example.org