Here you go, another of my It’s My Life column’s in the Irish Examiner. I tried what I thought was a foolproof way of saving money.
As my bank account is suffering a drought I’ve come up with a new way of saving money. I’m avoiding shops. After all, everyone knows the secret powers shops have. You go in for a sliced pan and half an hour later you’ve a trolley full to the brim. It’s not until breakfast the following morning you discover toast is off the menu as you forgot to buy the bread.
So, I decided shopping online would be the perfect solution. How could I possibly lose the run of myself if I stayed at home?
First off, I decided to give grocery shopping a go. I chose my supermarket of choice and filled out the registration form. Before I’d bought anything, it asked me to book a time to collect my goods, then rebook a time as I must have done something wrong. Finally, I clicked into ‘start shopping’.
I thought I’d be faced with a few headings such as ‘bread’ or ‘fruit’ and that I would click what I wanted and fly through my list. Wrong. It was even more tempting than being in the shop, although I may have been partially at fault for immediately clicking ‘bakery’.
Instead of seeing a list of goods I was faced with adds showing croissants filled with ham and cheese, eclairs dripping with cream and a selection of cakes, all of which I immediately ‘needed’.
Reluctantly, I clicked out of the shop before I emptied our bank account, and faced the fact that online grocery shopping was not for me.
However, I needed a new pair of walking shoes. I’d put off purchasing before Christmas, preferring to nab a bargain in ‘the sales.’ Unfortunately, I was too busy eating mince pies to attend the sales, but returning home from my new year resolutions walk, wheezing and with wet feet was a timely reminder.
I have only once before bought clothing online. That was last Summer for my brother’s wedding when he’d decided on a 1920s theme. This had caused a rush to the internet by guests, which was a steep learning curve for most of us. One friend had no idea she’d enabled ‘one click’ ordering on her Amazon account. Pressing a button to view the numerous dresses and accessories resting in her checkout she discovered her order ‘had been successful’ and in one click she had spent over €150.
In some ways she was lucky, as her order did arrive on time, unlike another friend who bought two dresses, just in case, and a number of accessories. With only days to the wedding all she’d received was a headband and necklace!
Opening my laptop I typed ‘walking shoes’ and clicked into the first site I found. There were pages of shoes and joy of joy most were, ‘on sale’. I was immediately drawn to a pair which were I’m told, nearly €200 but were now selling for €66.
I clicked ‘buy’, imagining what a top-class hill walker I’d look in my swanky new shoes. There followed a frantic search for my bank card and glasses to read the card. All details were double checked by my better sighted children, before finally receiving my ‘order completed’ notification.
Three days later I couldn’t believe it when my shoes arrived looking exactly as described. I kicked off my boots and pulled them on. And then I pulled and pushed some more, but not a hope could I get them on. Yes, they were a size 6 but not my size 6.
Today my fancy new shoes are winging their way back to the internet. It’s cost me €13 to return them. Tomorrow, I’m off to a real shop, to buy real size six shoes, which if necessary I can return for free.
Internet shopping and I are finished.