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Travails of an online shopper

December 9, 2012

I’ve been sidelined for going on three weeks with the multiple “epizooties” which means Christmas shopping has been placed on the back burner. After hearing about the explosion in online shopping and all the great deals in Cyber town, I figured that route may be the only way I’ll get to check off Santa’s gift list this year.

So, I gathered up my courage, pulled out my credit card and let my fingers do the walking. I had seen these cute battery operated lanterns advertised on television which were billed as “must haves” for folks who like to camp. My neighbors just bought a new RV and this could enhance their camping experience. Perfect!

These vintage looking lanterns could be hung in the trees or be mustered into action in case of a power outage. Very romantic. They were advertised at $12.99 for one or $20 for two. I placed them in my pretend “cart” and keyed in my credit card information.

Wow, this was a breeze. I proceeded to check out and a window popped up thanking me for the order which totaled $65. 

Say what? How did that happen? Apparently, shipping and handling on these lanterns was three times the value of the order.

Do they pack them in 18-carat gold peanuts or something?
I began punching buttons to try to cancel the order but “poof” — the screen went black as if the company no longer existed.

I called my credit card company but they said they couldn’t deny payment and all I can do is return the product and dispute the charge. I’ll still be responsible for the shipping costs which was the bone of contention from the get-go. 

Why do these things happen to me? I’m a trusting soul who believes most things I read but it’s high time I outgrew that flaw in my character. But this sad story has a trick ending. I was whining to my neighbor, Brenda about this injustice and she became very quiet. 

“What?” I demanded as she assumed her “poor pitiful Emily” face which appears more and more frequently these days.

“I think I saw those lanterns just the other day at CVS on the aisle where they stockpile all those 'As Seen on TV Specials,' like skin tag removers and lighted house slippers."
“Are they above nine inches tall?” she asked.

“Heck no, the ones I ordered had to be at least 24 inches tall,” I retorted. But doubt was building in the back of my medulla oblongata. Did I even see any description of the size of the lanterns? They looked huge on the TV screen.

I walked the 1,000 yards to the CVS which I can see from my house. Sure enough, there were the lanterns — perfect for a doll house! For this I was paying $50 in shipping and handling? I wanted to scream, but was afraid the men in white coats might try to take me back to the hospital which is where this whole fiasco began.

My only other online purchase was also a failure. The item is out of stock until April 2013, but they don’t tell you that until you’ve placed the order.

Hey, those lighted house slippers at CVS sound pretty interesting. I have this vision of my family sitting around the fire on Christmas Eve. We can cut off the lights and aim our glowing shoes at each other.
Now, that will be a Christmas to remember.
 
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a blog for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at http://www.deludeddiva.com.

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