Ebay, Online Shopping, and Kicking Tyres

Online shopping has certainly changed the natural purchasing process we go through. As I drift further and further into the Grumpy Old Man phase of my life, I avoid retail shopping as much as I can. Anything I can buy online, I do! Once I know my size in grandpa polo shirts from Rodd and Gunn, there is no way you can entice me into the store… Why would I? The stores are always out of the colour or size that I want.

I have also given up on jeans shopping – I know my size and length at The Gap and now just take the punt and order them direct from the USA.

Plenty of waist sizes, 4 length options (plus a fifth under the "Tall" tab) - what's not to like except the shoes the guy has on!

Getting jeans in the right length is a massive time and cost saver. The reluctance to step foot inside a G-Star Raw shop is mutual, I believe… The sales people look at me like I am carrying a highly contagious anti-fashion gene, and I laugh when I see the price tags… More than $150 for a pair of jeans? Not on your life! (well, at least whilst I am married – when my wife finally wakes up to the con-job I have done on her I suppose I will need to shop for fashionable clothes, get a decent hair cut, lose some weight – and improve my general politeness).

There are some great places to shop online, and some so-so places. Amazon is usually fantastic. Everything turns up in good nick, and on time, as described. I have had mixed success on Ebay. Some second hand stuff has been way better than the description, and some new kit clearly returned stock or similar. After yet another Paypal dispute this week, I am wondering if I am just expecting too much?

I bought another of those cool bluetooth speakers I blogged about a few weeks ago. Instead of going to the Apple Store, this time I tried Ebay. Got it for a few bucks cheaper, as you would expect, but the item turned up in a random plastic bag and bubble wrap. No original packaging. It is clearly a returned item. no mention of this was made on the ad. The seller is insisting it is “new” but in “bulk” packaging. I am saying “if it ain’t in the original packaging, unopened, it ain’t new”. It just frustrates me when things aren’t explicit on the description. Why not just put “returned stock, 100% guaranteed” and knock a few bucks off. I would still buy the one in original packaging, but I know plenty of people who love this kind of bargain.

I question and now avoid sellers who have a generous returns policy. I do not want something someone else has already sampled. Sellers should charge a 20- 30% restocking fee, then discount the product by the same amount. I suspect a lens I purchased “as new” was a return. I asked for, and received, an appropriate discount. Why would anyone return a lens unless it was broken or you never intended to keep it? Why would anyone buy the bluetooth speaker and return it, unless of course, it was broken???

In the second hand photography gear market, having the original packaging for the item can be a big deal. There is a fairly lucrative market for second hand empty packaging for this reason. I could probably sell the boxes my Xpan came in for $150 as it significantly increases the value of an item. Maybe I could put the money towards some of those funky G-Star jeans? Most of my photo buds buy gear to use, and don’t care about the boxes. Hence why it is fun to get online and ask “do you have the original boxes?” on their auctions. Trolling is an ugly pastime… but meh…

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