It’s time to start Christmas shopping again, this isn’t easy if you can’t leave the house or walk around the shops. Shopping in a wheelchair is hopeless, you can’t see anything and you go where the person pushing you wants to go and whizz past anything you might be interested in. When you get tired and or overwhelmed you zone out and miss everything anyway. Using a scooter and looking at things at the same time can be exhausting and not something I do very often.
Online shopping is the way to go, but it’s still not simple. Some sites are complicated to use, you can’t tell what size something is, the true colour of something or the quality of the product. Delivery rates vary hugely as does the quality of the packing. High street stores are names you can trust (most of the time), but how about all the ones that pop up on your Facebook feed or in adverts tempting you with beautiful looking goods? Or even some of the charities?
During the summer I was looking for a jumpsuit, but none of the high street shops were quite what I wanted. I spent days trawling the internet and saw something I liked and decided to buy it. Only 5 minutes later I saw it somewhere else a fraction of the price!
I tired several times to cancel the original order, but the company never responded. More fool me I also bought the cheaper one, as the original company offered free returns, so I thought even if it arrived I could send it back. Ha, turns out they were both cons.
When the second item arrived it was nothing like the picture, I complained and they ignored me. I had paid with Paypal so I took it up with them and the company then contacted me and sent a refund. The first one took weeks to arrive and was also nothing like the picture. My many emails to the company were ignored. Searches online showed them to be a con and actually it looks like I was lucky to get anything at all. This item was paid by credit card. I reported the company to my credit card, the credit card issued a refund whilst they tried to contact the company, this was in July, we are both still waiting for an answer and I am not sure if the amount is still refunded on my credit card as I don’t have the login details for it!! (Rob does)
I have been looking at dresses in the last week or so, mainly as I haven’t had the energy to do anything else. Again I haven’t seen much that I could wear or afford, except in places I have never heard of. This time I did internet searches about them first and most of them are probably cons.
In the summer I also got ripped off by a charity site. I bought an item from them and then they took another payment from me for a subscription, which I never asked for, this was also covered by and dealt with by Paypal, who said they had, had other complaints about the company, so again if it’s not a mainstream charity be wary. If in doubt or if it is somewhere you haven’ heard of check out reviews on Trust Pilot.
Knowing where and what to buy for Christmas is a nightmare. I try to buy several items from the same place, that way you can save on delivery, but it varies, some places offer free delivery over £20, others it can be £75. Yesterday I placed an order that I needed to pay delivery on and then realised I forgot something. I can’t add to the order so had to place another order and pay another delivery. On Amazon you can cancel orders if you do it quickly.
We have Amazon Prime. It is £79 a year and means you don’t pay delivery on Amazon items, but be aware not all items on Amazon are sold by Amazon and are not covered by the free delivery. On some items you can get same day or next day delivery, handy when you need something urgently! Prime also includes some streamed TV and films, similar to Netflix, Photo storage, many free kindle books and free First Reads and Unlimited music. Amazon Prime can be linked to multiple Amazon accounts in the same household so you only need to pay once.
The other problem with shopping online is that you are relying on someone else to do the shop and send it to you. I get really fed up with missing items, damaged items, wrong items, it happens to me a lot. My first instinct is to blame myself for a mistake in my order, but it has never been my fault. It is difficult to make contact with some companies, they don’t make contact details easy to find or they say they will only accept phone calls. I can’t use the phone so have to wait until someone can ring for me and then there is often an issue as the person who rings isn’t me and the company wants to speak to me! It gets very frustrating.
Online shopping is amazing and is a lifeline for those who can’t get out, but it is not as easy as it should be and I find it rather frustrating.
I placed an order a few weeks ago with a charity site and there was an item missing, thankfully they were easy to contact and they arranged to send the missing item straight away, but I feel it’s an unnecessary use of my energy, when things are already so hard.
Another downside of ordering anything online is they they then have your details and will email and ring all the time, unless you have ticked all the correct boxes which are worded in such a way that they confuse you and you don’t know what you have agreed to. You will also be inundated with their catalogues unless you contact them on their very elusive contact details to ask to be taken off the mailing list. It’s frustrating and such a waste.
If you see branded items you like, it’s worth looking at sites like Amazon and Ebay as you might find them cheaper.
If you are looking at High Street stores at specific items you cal always ask someone to look for the item when they go shopping. I get my Mum to look in M&S. This is helpful if you want to avoid postage costs or if you want an opinion on what the product is like before you buy it.
I use Price Spy to find the cheapest place for many things, but watch out for added delivery costs. I have got some good bargains on Lego with this as it emails you when the price drops. I need to set it up for the things Emily wants for Christmas. I have just tried this and they are no alerts available for the things she wants.
I like to buy things from fellow crafters, many of who also have health problems. I do make some things myself, but I have a limited repertoire and there are only so many bracelets and framed creations you can give people. I always run out of time too. I do sometimes knit gifts, but not much.
Some of the sites I shop with are;
Conscious Crafties an online shop for people with health problems or who are carers. There are some amazing creations.
Argyll Sea glass, an online shop selling gorgeous jewellery made from sea glass. they are very friendly and helpful.
Leprosy Mission, an online and catalogue charity, my Grandma used to support this charity and I try to buy some stuff for their each year.
M&S is quite easy to use and you know that they will be good quality, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
I use Book people quite a lot too, they have some good offer and you can never have too many books!!
Boots always do 3 for 2 offers on toiletries and gifts in the run up to Christmas, a quick look now shows they have 1980 items in the offer. You can always give the 2 you pay for as gifts and keep free one for yourself 🙂 I took Emily in Boots last year and she chose quite a few things for people, saved me trying to decide as I can never decide if it’s the right thing and will talk myself out of it. At least that way if the person doesn’t like it, it is Emily’s fault!!
For myself I love Joe Browns and they have good sales.
I have a friend who makes memory bears and other gifts, Whole Lot of Lovely, she gets very busy. Her items are great and she is so friendly and helpful. There is a list of Craft related sites on my links page
For many years we have had a family photos taken with Whitebox, you get all the photos on a CD and can them print your own or use a service like ASDA photo to get prints and gifts made. Emily always has a school photo in September which we also send out at Christmas. This year none of the packages fitted with what we wanted. It’s a different company to the one used at Primary school, but they had an option to buy the photo licence and print your own, so we did that. We haven’t decided yet weather to print our own or use a service like Asda.
I can’t share all the sites I use as it might spoil peoples Christmas presents. Maybe in the New Year I can share them.
My issue at the moment is that I have bought some stuff and can’t remember who I have bought for, so now need to get everything out again and sort it out. I should be more organised when things arrive.
As I am sharing other websites I should plug my own! Crafty Jane’s for cards and gifts. There are a few items in my shop, but others can be made to order.
I occasionally do supermarket shopping online, but I find it hard work and often confusing and there will always be something missing or substituted with something not suitable. It takes me longer to do an online shop that it does for Rob to go to the supermarket! The only good thing is that if I do an order I get a say in what we get, but I usually end up spending more too!
Would be great to know what online shopping sites others use and who they recommend.