Jill Cataldo

Jill Cataldo

According to an NPR study, 69 percent of people shopped online for at least one item last year.

The convenience of online shopping can’t be beat for many products, but are there times for which it’s better to physically head to the store to buy?

Last week, I shared a reader’s experience of buying a printer cartridge online that did not work when it arrived – because it was 14 years past its manufacture date!

Without the opportunity to hold the item in her hands and inspect it before purchasing, she learned there are some instances where heading to the store may result in a better experience than shopping online.

My readers continue to share some experiences where they’ve learned it may be less than ideal to shop online, as well as some success stories, too.

“Dear Jill,

I bought a lipstick online in a color I have not been able to find in stores.

When it arrived, I learned that my color must be discontinued, because the lipstick, while new in the package, was quite old and waxy.

I did not buy this on an auction site, but at a large, well-known online retailer, so I would not have expected to receive something so old. I have accepted that my lipstick of choice is no longer in production.

I lost money on this because the website would not accept my return after I opened the product.”

Bev H.

“Dear Jill,

Shopping online has enlightened me to the fact that when you shop from the computer, you are entering a true world marketplace.

Clothing sizes are not standard around the world, and my eyes were recently awakened to this. I purchased a dress to wear to an anniversary party. It was Asian in origin and really lovely. Plus, the price was excellent considering it was coming from halfway around the globe.

When the dress arrived, I realized that the size ‘large’ in its country of origin would be a ‘small’ or perhaps ‘extra small’ in the U.S.

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The website I purchased from did not share the exact dimensions of the dress, so this error is on me.”

Catherine D.

Not everyone has negative experiences shopping online, though. There are many positive benefits to shopping online, which these readers have discovered.

“Dear Jill,

We have discovered that online shopping can be a real lifesaver. My wife broke a bone recently and has been laid up healing and unable to grocery shop. We were aware that our supermarket offers grocery delivery, but we had not tried it until recently.

Is it ever something!

You can search the store’s website by brand names or products, and we even built a list of our most-used items that we consume every week, such as milk, bread, and fruits and vegetables. Once we completed this list, we can now go in and click it again to add all of those items the next time we want a grocery delivery.

There is a small fee for delivery, but if you choose a long, four-hour window of time, delivery is free. We use this option, and the driver even brings all of the groceries in the house.

You will appreciate, too, that the store’s website alerts us to any coupons for the items we are choosing to buy. At times, we even get a bonus item for spending a certain dollar amount. This has been a boon for her as we are able to plan meals just as before.”

Milt W.

“Dear Jill,

I celebrated a significant weight loss recently and fit into an old pair of jeans that I have had for at least 10 years. They fit so well that I wished I could go back in time and buy more.

Did you know that there are websites where you can purchase older or discontinued blue jeans?

Even though my jeans were a department store’s own house brand, I found two previously worn pairs in excellent condition for less than $20 per pair.

The Internet is an amazing thing, isn’t it?”

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Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@supercouponing.com.