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Old 10-23-2007, 02:47 AM
 
5 posts, read 10,227 times
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I just hate driving around in holiday traffic an fighting the crowds so I'm shopping online this year.

I don't like bouncing around on search engines trying to find what I want so I use shopping portals like Ebay, Amazon and Online Malls.

Anyone have any good suggestions?

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Do you shop online and if so where?

Last edited by Yac; 10-26-2007 at 06:01 AM..
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Old 10-23-2007, 09:35 AM
 
Location: New England
786 posts, read 904,188 times
Reputation: 553
I shop online extensively year-round for the very reasons you gave. And I use lots of different sites, depending on what I'm looking for.

Ebay is OK... but you have to set your standards as far as who you're willing to buy from. In order to induce me to bid, I want the seller to have a minimum of 100 positive feedbacks - and I check a sampling of recent auctions to ensure they were legit auctions and not "spiked" by a plethora of $0.01 sales - with a minimum positive feedback ratio of 98%. Also, I only bid by sniping on Ebay. That ensures I actually think about what my real maximum bid is before setting up the snipe - enforces price discipline and helps avoid the dreaded "winner's curse" - and it also doesn't tip anyone else off that I am interested and can help avoid a bidding war if other bidders are only "topping" the current bid by the minimum allowable amount rather than putting in their true maximum bids.

Amazon.com... Amazon is great.... prices are generally very competitive and, for stuff shipped by Amazon directly, shipping is very fast. I paid the $79 or whatever it was for Amazon Prime, so I don't pay anything for shipping and get 2-day UPS as my standard shipping ($3.99 additional for 1-day overnight). I have found I buy enough stuff from Amazon that it makes that worthwhile. Their standard shipping, by ground, is a bit slow, though... if you don't go Amazon Prime and buy enough to get their "free" economy shipping... that can ship rather slowly, taking 3 to 4 days to leave the warehouse, and then more time to reach you. It's OK if you can wait, but if you want to get your stuff a day or two after you place the order, it's not going to get it done for you.

For all sorts of clothing: men's, women's, and kids: Lands' End is great. Sizing is very consistent and quality is very good. And they are very good about returns. Standard shipping is by UPS 2-day. I also buy a fair amount from LL Bean, which also has very good quality. I have found Bean's winter clothing for adults to be particularly good.... and snow suits for kids are really good, too. I have found Bean's regular kids' clothing to be a mixed bag... some of it has been great, while at other times, there have been sizing issues and other times, the stuff just doesn't look as good coming out of the box as it did online. But Bean is really good about returns.

For kids' clothing, I definitely have my favorites. Hanna Andersson, as I have noted in another thread, is one of my big-time faves. Sizing is very consistent and quality is consistently top-notch, too. Plus, the stuff usually looks bettter coming out of the box than it did online. They ship out of Kentucky, so I usually pay a small premium on shipping to get 3-day UPS from them, as it can take a week to come by ground. They are very good about returns, too. Watch for their semi-annual sales (they run 2... one in June, and I *think* one in December). Good deals to be had on in-season stuff there.

Also, for kids' clothes... Gymboree is really good quality, too. Sizing is very consistent and they have slim and husky sizes. Once you are confident which size to buy for your kids, the sizing is consistent enough across all lines that you can order with confidence. They are good about returns, but they want the ORIGINAL receipt to make a return... this can be a pain if you place a big order and get a lot of stuff on one invoice, discover some stuff you want to return, make that return, and then subsequently find more stuff you want to return. Gymboree will not do an exchange by mail, either. Because of these anomalies, I feel their return policy is clearly a step below the return policies of Lands' End, Hanna, or LL Bean.

For pet foods, I order from Merrick Pet Foods. I got turned on to them by my vet when the Chinese were sending the poisoned pet food over here earlier in the year. Merrick is located in Texas and manufactures everything here in the U.S. Their canned food almost looks good enough for human consumption. Definitely pricier than supermarket pet foods, but it's top-shelf stuff. I belong to their pet club, so I get 10% off their listed prices, which include shipping.

For sports equipment... SportsDepot.com. They ship out of New York City. Good prices, quick shipping. Only gripe I have had with them, was when I ordered some football equipment and paid for UPS Blue (1-day overnight), and they shipped by USPS Express Mail. I sent them a blistering e-mail for that one... UPS will drop the package on our front portico, but USPS wants a signature, so when USPS attempted delivery and no one was home.... it goes back to the PO along with a note for us to come get it. Sports Depot refunded the whole shipping charge without my asking for a refund because I was so ticked off. Other than that, they have been great.

Shoes... I use Zappos.com. They're tough to beat. Prices aren't really a bargin, but they're not a rip-off, either. And prices include 1-day overnight shipping. Above all, selection is absolutely huge. You just need to be fairly confident of your sizing and you don't need to look anywhere else for shoes. No problems with returns, either.... I've done that a few times without any issues.

Eyeglasses... I use Frames Direct. Brand name frames. You just need to be fairly certain of your correct temple length. You can measure your own pupil distance... have someone else mark the pupils on an existing pair of glasses you're wearing, then use a metric ruler to get the measure. It sounds hard, but it really isn't. Their deal is, you get a good price on the brand-name frames... but you pay full boat retail on the lenses. But everything is brand-name if that is important to you. And I could specify Marchon Airlock frames with Zeiss high-index progressive lenses and Crizal Alize anti-reflective. I have ordered sunglasses from them, too. prescription sunglasses.... the quality beats anyting I have gotten from a b&m optician. But again, the only deal is on the frames themselves. No issues at all on quality, though.

Those are the biggies I can think off off the top of my head. If you have questions on any specialty stores, perhaps I can help with those.... this was really just a partial listing of those that I have used most often, but is by no means a comprehensive list of all online vendors I have used over the years.

I CAN tell you I have had rotten luck with the online flower vendors. One of those advertises heavily on the radio... ProFlowers... yes, it was definitely Proflowers.com .... those were some of the crappiest flowers I have ever ordered. They had clearly been frozen at some point and were clearly very old. After Valentine's Day they sent me a survey asking what I thought... I blasted them on their quality and never heard back. What I HAVE had good luck with for flowers, is both Teleflora and FTD. I tend to prefer FTD, even though they tag a hefty premium for going through them, because they have a really good selection and they make it very easy to quickly select a respectable arrangement for any given occasion... and the order is ultimately placed through a LOCAL florist, so I have had much better luck with the quality going this route as compared to some big, national warehouse like ProFlowers.com.

Last edited by shuke; 10-23-2007 at 09:50 AM..
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Old 10-23-2007, 01:40 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,383 posts, read 41,218,787 times
Reputation: 13262
Shuke, that was really a helpful post.
Last year, because of where we were living, I did almost *all* of my shopping online.
This year won't be quite like that, but I sure do find Amazon helpful.
Along with Land's End, I have also had good luck with Eddie Bauer
and Pottery Barn.
Coldwater Creek sometimes has some different selections that you don't see anywhere else.
Acorn has interesting stuff from across the Atlantic.
There is also Patagonia for environmentally conscious, well-made outdoor clothing.
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Old 10-23-2007, 01:50 PM
 
Location: New England
786 posts, read 904,188 times
Reputation: 553
Thanks, cil.... yeah, my wife is big on Eddie Bauer and Coldwater Creek.

I'll have to check out Acorn, though... sounds interesting!
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:59 AM
 
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 23,001,744 times
Reputation: 9287
I discovered Etoys several years ago. My DH died a month before Christmas and I didn't even think about the holiday until the very last minute. I have been doing my Christmas toy shopping with them ever since.

That first year I paid extra to have the toys come wrapped.

Amazon is good and I have used them for years, but I don't like that when you get a coupon from them, it's hard to know which purchases are official Amazon purchases (to apply the coupon) or which are not. The same for their free shipping options.

Coldwater Creek, dermstore.com, and Oriental trading for trick or treat bag items, birthday goodie bag stuffers and personalized pencils for teacher gifts.

I love the convenience of shopping online and do so whenever possible.

Now you've given me some more sites to check out. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,858 posts, read 45,052,970 times
Reputation: 58644
I don't mind actual shopping crowds....I just hate waiting in long lines after I've decided what I want to buy. Give me a FAST check out and I'll probably shop at your store. Give me a slow check out and I'll probably go online and buy site unseen.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:49 AM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,081 posts, read 13,133,354 times
Reputation: 10691
Except for groceries and gas, I buy most everything on line.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:27 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
34,454 posts, read 43,293,594 times
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This will be the 3rd Christmas in a row that my buying will be done 100% on-line. For the same reasons the OP said. Plus selection available.
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