Online Shopping

Hello World

What is all this online shopping really about

What gets us hooked into online shopping

How many of us are addicted to online shopping

How many of us love the comfort of online shopping

Why are people all over the world choosing online shopping at epic proportions.

Would it be true to say that most of us – the masses who have a smart phone or another digital device subscribe to online shopping as it is part of the tech culture.

Next – a few facts

GLOBAL

2018
1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online (1)

47.3%         Digital buyers’ penetration worldwide  
This means as a percentage % of Internet users who are buying online (2)

$2.8 trillion US dollars – Global e-retail sales (1)

2021
$4.8 trillion US dollars projection growth (1)

2.14 billion people worldwide expected buy online goods and services (3)

Hello

$2,800,000,000,000
Is this just a number to us

Can we get our head around this figure

This is what we were spending last year and we are being told that this will go up within just two years to $4,800,000,000,000.

2,400,000,000 people will be online shopping

There are no words really that can bring the depth needed to say this is big bucks and a lot of bucks if we are being Honest.

It is speaking volumes to us about our shopping habits and how we have created another worldwide epidemic.

ADD to this ALL that we do not know, or statistics cannot tell us like purchases made on the dark web, which most of us know does exist and has its own world operating underneath the Internet.

WHY are the global statistics telling us that online shopping is here to stay as we are demanding it.

WHY is online shopping such big business with the industry growing at epic proportions.

WHY are our delivery people always knocking on our door as we have a habit of doing online shopping most days.

WHY are we always asking our neighbours to take in our deliveries as we order so much online.

WHY are we happy for someone to do our shopping instead of going to the supermarket and feeling what to buy and not buy.

WHY do we want things at the tap of a button in the comfort of our home, instead of making the movement to actually go to the shops.

WHY would we rather look at a screen and be fed those images in our head and then press buttons instead of having the tangible experience of shopping in real life.

WHY do we habitually go online shopping as we just want to avoid having another FOMO episode.

WHY do many of us never bother to check how much we spend with this online shopping stuff.

WHY do we get so desperate to find bargains on Black Friday and Mad Monday.

WHY are we told in the media that Christmas Day  online shopping is at record high levels. (4)

WHY is there a Singles Day when people buy themselves a gift on 11 November. (5)

WHY have we got Cyber Monday and what happens with online shopping the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

WHY do we get hooked into buying things from a screen and never thinking about the consequences.

WHY have we made it normal to order different sizes just to ‘try on’ as this suits our lifestyle.

WHY are we the first to complain about this, that and the other when it comes to online shopping.

WHY is this online shopping stuff full of choices choices

Researchers have found that being overwhelmed with options can cause an adverse experience called “choice overload” (Sheena Iyengar) or “The Paradox of Choice” (Barry Schwartz, 2007).

We gravitate to companies that offer more options versus fewer ones, because we believe a large selection will maximise our chances of finding the best fit. But we can become paralysed in making a decision with all of these options and avoid making choices altogether.

When we do finally make a decision we are more dissatisfied and regretful about whatever choice we have made.

Research has found that when participants choose from many options they felt more invested in the decision: their hearts beat harder and faster but their arteries also constricted – a sign that they also felt less confident about their decision.
(Saltsman, Seery, Kondrak, Lamarche & Streamer, 2019)

Even minor exposures to this kind of cardiac activity are believed to have long term health consequences if they happen enough; they’re connected to certain types of Heart Disease1 and Hypertension. (6)

Hello

Is the above telling us about a no win situation

WHY are we overwhelmed in the first place

WHY do we become paralysed in making decisions

WHY do we then avoid making any decision at all

WHY are we gravitating towards these companies

WHY is all this stuff not really making any sense

WHY are we not stopping to ask some Questions

NEXT –

If we are being very Honest – how many of us are actually suffering from this “choice overload”.

Are we aware of the physiological impact this has when we do our online shopping.

Do we get it – even a MINOR exposure to this type of online shopping can have serious health consequences.

NEXT –

Is the hardness in our heart, which of course is trying to communicate something, causing the arteries to constrict because it feels pressure because our heart just knows SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.

Is this something we need to consider as it is important

WHY are we being unrealistic with our online shopping purchases.

WHY do we override the gross inconvenience of returning goods as they are not what we want from online shopping.

WHY do we never stop and ask how come we are always returning items and it has become so normal to do so.

WHY have we subscribed to paying additional costs for online shopping so we get next day delivery.

WHY are we willing to pay the extra postal costs just so we can have our online shopping delivered sooner.

WHY have we made online shopping which involves little movement our preferred way to purchase.

WHY is India now taking over with top sites when we google about online shopping.

GLOBAL

2017

China  
Highest online shopping penetration rate – % of people that shop online (1)

E-Commerce
Commercial transactions conducted online
We are involved in e-commerce whenever we buy and sell using the Internet (7)

Top 10 Countries
Retail E-Commerce Sales – % of Total Retail Sales

2018

18%                   UK  

16.6%                China

12.7%                Norway

12%                   South Korea

11.5%                Finland

11.2%                Germany

10.8%                Denmark

8.9%                  US

8.2%                  Canada

6.7%                  Japan (2)

Hello

What are these figures actually telling us

What is driving the high percentage in UK that puts them at the top of the chart.

Is there a correlation with high online shopping sales and a rise in heart conditions in the UK.

Are we going to wait for more research or can we at least consider this pertinent question. 

37% Age 30 – 39 shop online at least once a week (2)
Clothing Most popular online shopping category
Smartphones Number 1 device for retail website visits

In recent years, mobile shopping has been on the rise, with customers increasingly using their mobile devices for various online shopping activities. (1)

Convenience and competitive price are why some choose to shop online

Digital buyers can be influenced by brand emails and product reviews (7)

USA

One of the leading online retail markets (8)

2018                        

$517.36 billion – consumer online spending with U.S. merchants (9)

UK

2017

£586 billion   Value e-commerce sales (10)
£80 billion E-Commerce sales went up in 2016 – 2017 (11)
19.9%  Online retailing accounted for % of total retailing
  July 2019 (12)

2021 

93%   Internet users expected to do online shopping
  Highest online penetration rate in Europe (10)    

More Empty Shops on UK High Streets (13)

2018   1 in every £5 spent in UK shops is now online
2013 1 in every £10

3 shops closing on UK high streets every day
Online competition a factor

“Internet shopping is clearly extremely popular with consumers because of its convenience, though it does take a toll on the high street.”
Laith Khalaf – senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown – investment service

50%    Over 65s now shop on the internet (14)
2029 Internet expected account for 53% of retail sales

25 – 44 age group far more likely to buy clothing, books, electrical goods or food online compared to those over 55. (15)

1 in 15 online purchases made between 12 midnight and 6am

Nocturnal shoppers spent the most on flights and holiday bookings

10 most searched for items – duvet covers, sofa beds and headphones
Research by John Lewis Partnership Card (2019) (16)

Hello Hello

We have 3 shops closing every single day on the high street in the UK.

What about all the job losses

What about all the unsold stock

What about all the empty shops

How does this really affect the towns and the people who live there.

Next –

What is all this online shopping at night time all about

Have we considered that online shopping could be a self medication because we are not able to Sleep.

Have we worked out why sleeping aids is a multi billion dollar industry in our world today. (16)

Does it make sense to do online shopping in the middle of the night when we KNOW we have sleep problems.

Is staying up shopping in the night going to add to the exhaustion we feel during the day.

Is our online night time shopping like a Drug and we just want more of the same to get the buzz we need.

Are we aware that online shopping at night when our body needs rest and sleep is having a harmfull effect on us.

Are we booking Holidays at night as a form of escape in our minds as we are way too tired to think clearly.

Are we joining the dots and adding up that shopping online at night will have an affect on our moods the next day.

Are we using online shopping at night simply because we are fighting what is natural – Sleep.

Could it be possible that choosing to do online shopping at night instead of sleeping is going against our natural cycle and this will have an effect on our body.

Dear World

What we ALL know is that our body is not made to stay up at night and we ALL know that sleep is natural and very important.

Trying to go against something that is natural will have consequences and so it is no surprise that we have a world full of Solutions to help us sleep because we have lost our way when it comes to sleep.

Reading the forensic blog about Sleep on this website will leave the reader in no doubt of the value of sleep and adhering to this natural cycle.

If we are Honest – how do we feel about having to consistently return items which is such an inconvenience.

If we are being honest – how do we feel when the package arrives at an inconvenient time.

If we are to be honest – how content are we with life in general and does something trigger us to do online shopping.

If we are being very honest – how do we feel about the unopened packages sitting in our hallway, because we have no time to open them as life is way too busy and that is why we are doing online shopping, but somewhere along the line our strategy is not working and instead of stopping and asking Questions we just continue our habit of buying.

If we are being totally honest – how much time are we wasting if we add up the whole thing with online shopping.

Example – we buy several sizes and then different colours or even different styles just to see what we want. That means one item needed but we order heaps more to cover all the choices we want. Not once have we considered what resources are needed to make this happen.

NEXT –

Do we use online shopping to fill a void – an emptiness inside us that just won’t go away.

Do we use online shopping to give us that buzz which stimulates us as life without that is flat and dead.

Do we use online shopping because it’s quick and easy and the plastic card always takes care of it.

Do we use online shopping because we have the money so why not just spend it.

Do we use online shopping with no meaning or purpose but simply because it stops us getting Bored with Life.

Do we use online shopping as a Priority to keep up with the latest trends we see on Social Media.

Do we see an ad and want it regardless, so the best and Fast way is to go online shopping for it.

Do we use online shopping to get ahead and have it first before others do.

Do we use online shopping to buy cheap stuff and sell it on so we can profit in this way.

Do we use online shopping hoping we can make a quick killing by getting cheap prices.

Do we use online shopping with the responsibility of knowing that there is a purpose to what we are buying.

Do we ask our partner and neighbours to deal with our online shopping returns as this is not a task we want to take responsibility for.

Are we the talk in our street as we have deliveries arriving daily from our online shopping behaviour.

Are we up for doing online shopping for others as we just like this way of shopping in front of a screen.

Are we living with someone who is constantly buying online and has no desire to change their shopping habits.

Are we Bored on the train journey home so we spend our time shopping online, even for things we don’t need.

Are we putting up with things from online shopping because the thought of re-packaging and returning the goods is way too much effort for us.

Are we piling up the unwanted stuff from online shopping and it is taking up space in our home and we have no intention of dealing with it.

Could it be possible that online shopping is giving us what we are demanding.

In other words, we want this type of experience and so the suppliers supply to the demand.

Online Opioids Scandal
September 2019

Online pharmacies are prescribing powerful Opioids without consulting GPs in breach of new regulations – Times newspaper investigation has found.

Undercover reporter bought hundreds of painkillers from five registered internet chemists, without providing details of a doctor.  All of them dispensed the drugs. One pharmacy issued 200 tablets of dihydrocodeine – an opioid twice as powerful as codeine, without consulting a GP.

The newspaper was able to order another batch from the same company the next day, in breach of its own policy.

Britain’s top medical bodies have demanded an urgent investigation in light of the findings.

2,000 fatalities each year – more than five every day
Due to the powerful painkillers – up by 41% from ten years ago

Number of Britons taken to hospital after overdosing has almost doubled in the past decade.

April 2019 – after an increase in the number of people addicted to opioids, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) tightened regulations for online chemists over drugs liable to abuse.

The council required that the prescriber must have contacted the patient’s doctor “in advance of issuing a prescription and that the GP has confirmed to the prescriber that the prescription is appropriate for the patient”.

Each of the pharmacies in this investigation agreed to dispense the drugs without speaking to the reporter’s GP first.

All that was required was to fill in an online questionnaire and a photo of a passport.

The questionnaires are assessed by a doctor, often based elsewhere in Europe due to a loophole, before a prescription is issued to be dispensed by a pharmacy. The drugs can be fast tracked to arrive the next day.

During the questionnaire, a red message flashed up if answers were entered that would lead to the drugs not being prescribed. The answers can then easily be changed.

The Royal College of Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called for an urgent investigation into the findings and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) praised the investigations.

Experts have warned that online pharmacies are helping to fuel an opioid epidemic. (17)

Is online shopping so easy for us that we can literally get what we want anytime.

Have we realised that whatever we need, there will always be someone out there selling it to us.

Are we blaming suppliers or can we admit they only exist because we the customer are demanding it.

And finally –

Dear World

What are we avoiding when we choose to hook into online shopping habits.

Can we admit that we are using online shopping as a form of self-medication.

Are we joining the masses and following what has now become the norm with online shopping.

Are we stopping long enough to contemplate the consequences of our shopping behaviour.

Is online shopping the actual issue or are there more Questions now for us to consider.

Could it be possible we have deviated from the good old fashion way that worked, where we had real connection with those who offered us goods and services.

Our world today has become a place where we can literally get anything we desire at anytime because online shopping has been created.

At what cost

Is it worth it

 

References

(1) Clement, J. (2019, March 12). E-commerce Worldwide – Statistics & Facts. Statista. Retrieved October 1, 2019 from
https://www.statista.com/topics/871/online-shopping/

(2) Saleh, K. (n.d). Global Online Retail Spending – Statistics and Trends. Invesp. Retrieved October 4, 2019 from
https://www.invespcro.com/blog/global-online-retail-spending-statistics-and-trends/

(3) (2019). Number of Digital Buyers Worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billions). Statista. Retrieved October 2, 2019 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/251666/number-of-digital-buyers-worldwide/

(4) Morley, K. (2018, December 19). Shoppers Predicted to Spend £1bn on Christmas Day for the First Time. The Telegraph. Retrieved October 6, 2019 from
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/19/shoppers-predicted-spend-1bn-christmas-day-first-time/

(5) Blackley, N. (2017, November 9). China’s Singles Day Retail Phenomenon Will Blow Black Friday Out the Water. Independent. Retrieved October 5, 2019 from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/how-china-s-singles-day-black-friday-a8043346.html

(6) Saltsman, T. (2019, February 10). Why Having Too Many Choices is Making Us Miserable. Fast Company. Retrieved October 3, 2019 from
https://www.fastcompany.com/90411925/having-too-many-choices-is-making-us-miserable

(7) (n.d). What is Ecommerce? Ecommerce Guide. Retrieved October 3, 2019 from
https://ecommerceguide.com/guides/what-is-ecommerce/

(8) (2019). Number of Digital Buyers Worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billions). Statista. Retrieved October 2, 2019 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/251666/number-of-digital-buyers-worldwide/

(9) Ali, F. (2019, February 28). US Ecommerce Sales Grow 15.0% in 2018. Digital Commerce 360. Retrieved October 2, 2019 from
https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/us-ecommerce-sales/

(10) O’Dea, S. (2019, July 31). E-Commerce in the United Kingdom (UK) – Statistics & Facts. Statista. Retrieved October 3, 2019 from
https://www.statista.com/topics/2333/e-commerce-in-the-united-kingdom/

(11) (2019). E-Commerce Sales in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2014 to 2017 (in billion GBP). Statista. Retrieved October 3, 2019 from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/282162/e-commerce-annual-sales-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

(12) (2019, August 15). Retail Sales, Great Britain: July 2019. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved October 3, 2019 from
https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/july2019

(13) Simpson, E. (2019, September 11). High Street: How Many UK Shops Have Closed? BBC News. Retrieved October 4, 2019 from
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49349703

(14) Morley, K. (2018, August 16). One in Every Five Pounds Spent with UK Retailers is Now Online, Figures Show. The Telegraph. Retrieved October 4, 2019 from
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/16/one-every-five-pounds-spent-uk-retailers-now-online-figures/

(15)  Butler, S. (2019, July 9). Half of UK Retail Sales Will Be Online Within 10 Years, Report Predicts. The Guardian. Retrieved October 1, 2019 from
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jul/09/half-of-uk-retail-sales-will-be-online-within-10-years-report-predicts

(16) Barrett, C. (2019, September 14). Rise of the ‘Nocturnal Shopper’. Financial Times. Retrieved October 4, 2019 from
https://www.ft.com/content/acc799c0-d62e-11e9-8367-807ebd53ab77 14

(16) (2015, July 31). Global Sleep Aids Market Will Reach US$80.8 Bn by 2020: Persistence Market Research. GlobeNewswire. Retrieved October 7, 2019 from
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/07/31/756724/10144080/en/Global-Sleep-Aids-Market-Will-Reach-US-80-8-Bn-by-2020-Persistence-Market-Research.html

(17) Ellery, B. (2019, September 28). Online Opioids Scandal. The Times. pp. 1 – 2

 

 

 

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Comments 7

  1. Thank you for this excellent blog.

    Recently, I have been very conscious of the fact that online shopping has become a distribution method for some smugglers.

    This is because someone I know committed suicide recently by ingesting Nembutal that was bought online.

    Nembutal is a barbiturate that is used for lethal injection at prison executions in some American states. In the UK, it is a controlled substance that is sometimes used for the euthanasia of animals.

    The person I know who bought Nembutal online purchased it from a supplier in Mexico who posted the drugs in packaging designed to make this controlled substance look like a cosmetic product.

    So, following an online purchase, a lethal poison came half way around the world disguised as a facial cleansing product.

  2. Post
    Author

    iNews – 22 November 2019

    https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/compulsive-shopping-left-me-17000-in-debt-and-unable-to-buy-a-house-1319533

    Researchers say compulsive online shopping should be treated as an addiction and mental health disorder. The study was published in the Comprehensive Psychiatry Journal which showed 33% showed signs of addiction to online shopping and they linked it to more acute levels of anxiety and depression.

    Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year sales all mark the start of one of the most intense seasons for consumerist spending.

    According to this news story, a lot of this will take place online and this is set to increase.

    93% of purchases in the UK are expected to be made online in 2021.

    Buying Shopping Disorder (BSD) is an extreme form of craving and patients buy more consumer goods than they can afford and are not needed or they are not frequently used.

    The excessive purchasing is primarily used to regulate emotions – for example to get pleasure or relief from negative feelings.

    Parallels are being drawn between BSD and gaming disorder, which was classified in 2018 by the World Health Organization.

    Evidence shows similar changes in the brain as you get with substances in gambling, sex and porn addiction.

    The article mentions different real life examples and one that sticks out is a woman saying shopping addiction for her is the same as drinking alcohol, which she used to numb overwhelming feelings and in her case it was anger as a single mum having to give up work and look after her son with a complex medical history.

    I am no medical expert or a kingpin in the world of academia but I do have a lot of lived experience, wisdom and common sense.

    I was a shopaholic and it was my drug of choice during my days when I could not admit I was deeply miserable and lived with the agony and undealt with hurts that I carried from my younger days. Blame, frustration and resentment were emotions I felt and the deep need for recognition plagued my life for decades.

    Shopping gave me a relief, something to plan and look forward to with eating at a fancy restaurant. I could see no point getting the plastic out and having loads of shopping bags unless taxis and fine dining were on the agenda. With shopping, I could totally forget about all the ugly stuff going on in my head and in my life.

    We could wait for the National Health System to rescue us or provide a service but we could be waiting a long long time due to lack of funding and the current mess they are in.

    What I did was change my behaviour because if I didn’t then things were going to get really serious as I was spending way over my budget.

    Roll on to today and shopping holds little interest for me and I can simply not hang around shops all day or even go for fine dining. It’s way too boring and has no value or meaning for me.

    I need to have purpose and if I cannot feel the purpose then my body will not shift gear and get going.

    We are going into Christmas soon and I was known for shop shop shopping non stop and now I just see the whole thing as something in the calendar with time off work for many and an opportunity for me to catch up on odd jobs and things that may not have got the attention needed on the home front. Indulging in shopping at this time is not on my radar and my body and wallet are better off because of my choices.

    It is super rare for me to buy online but if I do I know what I want, go to the site and purchase. No dilly dallying, straying, surfing or looking at the other ads and offers flashing on the screen.

    If it is not the price I want or there are hidden extras then chances are I will close the screen and move on with no attachment to wanting the item. This confirms to me that I am no longer owned by those hooks that got me to shop and buy because I now feel free.

    It really is like a drug and you have to wean yourself off but to do it forever, one needs to get to the root cause of WHY they started shopping in the first place.

    With great honesty as a starting point, we can get there and nail it and knock it out, as that is what I did and have never looked back.

    Of course I have not been double blind tested or scientifically used in a research study but nevertheless real life anecdotal evidence here is saying it as it is.

  3. Our obsessions and dependence on online shopping means that we have created gadgets that ensure we no longer miss ANY parcel delivery.

    We can now see the courier arriving at our home in an app via CCTV cameras, whilst another lets us answer the front door from our desks. An alert is received when the bell’s sensors detect motion and via a speaker we can ask the courier to put our parcels in a secure place.

    This is quite extreme and reading this article about New York City where 1.5 million packages are delivered per day this arises great cause for concern.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/27/nyregion/nyc-amazon-delivery.html

    If one city in one country (USA) that has 50 states can have that many deliveries each day, how many daily deliveries is the whole country receiving and what about the whole world?

    We have created an unprecedented situation with all of this online shopping leading to the chaos of gridlocks, pollution and road safety concerns, due to the excess vehicles on the road delivering.

    The New York Times article goes on to talk about apartment blocks and how they are dealing with all of this.

    A large complex in Manhattan had to turn a nearby retail store front into a satellite package centre. Stickers are left on building mailboxes notifying residents of a package but the stickers fall off, or get pulled off and packages go missing.

    So this solution has not worked.

    Even more crazy is the fact that buildings without storage space have resorted to piling boxes in their lobbies. In one building two plastic shelves were created in the entrance way to store residents’ packages but boxes still spill over onto the floor.

    Another building has the packages in a locked cage with the doorman guarding the key.

    Here we see the extra staff and resources needed to deal with this modern day mayhem.

    Some of us may feel that this is a good thing, as there are many jobs that have now become available, through the growth of online shopping – delivery drivers, couriers, staff needed to look after the packages, people needed to pack the items, etc, etc

    However have we considered that if this industry was not here there would be other jobs for us, jobs that provide much needed services that humanity need?

    On that note – on two occasions in the last year I have spoken to people who have worked in the warehouses of a large online retailer and they have complained about the poor treatment that they receive including working long hours 6 – 8 hours without a break.

    Is this really what needs to be happening so that we can get the goods that we want, when we want and at the price that we demand?

    Have we truly considered the consequences of this click and deliver lifestyle?

    Have we ever stopped to consider the impact on others and the environment from our quick click and purchase or insatiable appetite for more?

    The number of daily deliveries to households in New York for example tripled to over 1.1 million shipments from 2009 – 2017.

    As Mr Jose Holguin-Veras from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems says – “It is impossible to triple the amount without paying consequences.”

    Holguin- Veras asks: “What percentage of your deliveries are truly urgent – 5 percent or 2 percent? We as customers are driving the process and to some extent creating these complications” referring to the build up of deliveries in apartment blocks.

    This is seriously out of control and the well-being of our environment and societies will not improve, if we continue on this ill road.

    Is it time for us to seriously re-consider and review our relationship with shopping particularly shopping on line and what the driving force behind it is?

  4. Thank you for this brilliant blog.

    Recently, deciding that I needed a couple of new summer shirts, I did some online clothes shopping.

    Following doing some searches online, I stumbled upon a menswear website that was having a 60 percent off sale plus free delivery. On their shirt section, I found a shirt I liked and ordered it in my size.

    A few days later the shirt arrived. I tried it on and it was too small, despite being my normal size. The fact that the shirt was a bit too small didn’t surprise me as I had never bought anything from this brand before and so was not familiar with the fit of their shirts.

    What did I do then? Did I carefully fold the shirt, return it to the packaging and look for the company’s returns instructions?

    No, I carefully folded the shirt and placed it on a pile of clothes I had cleared from my wardrobe that was going to a charity shop.

    I considered the incident later and asked myself, why couldn’t I be bothered to return the shirt and get a refund if I was able to do so?

    It dawned on me that I had never really been interested in the shirt – it was the fix of buying something that I had been pursuing. Once I had achieved that fix, I had lost interest in the article that I had bought.

    Since that incident I have tried to be more conscious when I shop online. I ask myself, “Why am I buying this?” . Whereas before, the only question I asked when I saw a potential purchase online that I liked was, “Can I afford it?”

  5. The Daily Telegraph – 20th June 2020

    Teens Rack Up Debts in ‘Free Money’ Splurge

    Teenagers have exploited a credit loophole to go on “free” shopping sprees as an alarming security flaw at Britain’s biggest ‘buy now pay later’ firm is exposed.

    The lender has been forced to overhaul its security system after a 16 year-old girl was able to open up an account on the website and rack up debts of more than £500 through buying clothes online.

    She was able to do this by using her own name but her mother’s date of birth. This fooled the credit check system into thinking the girl and her mother were the same person, even though no one of that age, name and address existed on the electoral roll.

    It has exposed an alarming security flaw at the increasingly popular service, which is strictly for adults only and the company has now introduced new security measures.

    This is not the first time that teenagers have hijacked “free money” services. An Australian provider came under fire in 2018 following media reports that teenagers had infiltrated the website and spent hundreds of dollars on alcohol.

    Similar stories of misuse by minors in Britain have raised questions over the robustness and security and affordability checks at “buy now pay later” firms, a relatively new form of credit provider that has grown rapidly in recent years.

    Britain’s biggest firm doubled its customer numbers in 2019, with orders made via the firm every 1.3 seconds. It has partnerships with more than 5,000 retailers, including top high street brands.

    A spokesperson for Experian, the credit checker, said it should not be possible for those under the age of 18 to get access to credit and all regulated lenders had to enforce the rules.

    StepChange, a debt charity, said such misuse of credit by minors had added to concerns, they said: “Such services could remove the friction from the process of paying and encourage individuals to put off thoughts of affordability until a later date. This is more concerning when attached to a product that is incredibly popular among young people, who tend to have higher outgoings and less secure incomes.”

    A Telegraph Money investigation in February had found that 30,000 people had damaged their credit file because of missed payments to this company.

    According to Comparethemarket, the comparison website, almost a quarter of those aged 18 to 24 have turned to “buy now pay later” services to fund their spending since March, when the coronavirus lockdown began and online shopping boomed.

    When I read this article, as I had never heard of these “buy now pay later” schemes the first question I asked myself was, what is the difference between this and a credit card as it sounds just the same.

    I found out that it is a new form of credit where we get can get our items without paying for it at the checkout.

    As one top brand put it: “It’s for people who wanna cop some new gear but can’t wait until payday.”

    Another brand says that when buyers reach the checkout, they are asked to pay with a debit or credit card, PayPal or “pay later”. Pay later says it lets you “sit back and relax” and will notify you when payment is due.

    This company was set up in 2005 and is currently valued at about £2 billion. Last year its profits tripled to £29 million. It launched in the UK in 2017 and recently announced a $20 million partnership with another retailer.

    This company allows people who shop online, at hundreds of retailers, to “try before you buy”. Shoppers accepted by this company have 14 or 30 days to pay (dependent on the retailer) to pay for their online order. This means you could get a pile of clothes delivered, try them on and return any you don’t like, then only pay for what you keep.

    Is it possible that schemes like this simply perpetuate the notion that it is OK to get into debt?

    Is it possible that schemes like this do nothing to help us with maintaining a budget of our finances?

    Is it possible that schemes like this simply encourages the ‘I want it now’ brigade and make it very easy to buy items that we can’t truly afford?

    As someone who had been in debt for most of my life – chronic debt at times where I was constantly overdrawn and having to pay bank charges in what was a never ending spiral – debt is something that should not be encouraged or made easy at all.

    As humans, our desire to have the ‘latest gear’ overrides our ‘responsible head’ and before we know it, we are thousands of £’s in debt.

    As humans, we like to think we are in control, but the allure of having the latest gear and ‘having it now and paying later’ will be too much for some of us.

    We go into this thinking we will be able to pay it off easily but a few months down the line, we find ourselves in the beginning of a debt spiral that is hard to break free of.

    Of course, we can put the responsibility firmly at the feet of these firms to ensure they provide adequate security and affordability checks, but, if like many businesses, there goal is to make as much money as they can, how stringent will be they be on adhering to their checks?

    As is always the case, it is our choice to enter into these contracts but is it possible that the temptation of “free” stuff will be too much for us to ignore?

  6. Online shopping is our new normal because we have a pandemic and most of us are not going out, even with the lockdown restrictions lifted.

    I have come to realise what a huge responsibility this online shopping business is.
    You order and it’s not the right size or fit and then it has to go back. This involves our time and effort to get the thing packaged and fill out the returns form and then post office where there are jumbo lines of people queueing up (probably doing the same thing as you – returning items from online shopping) or we have to arrange for the delivery company to collect and make sure we are in or give instructions where we will leave the item(s). It does not stop at that.

    We then have to check our bank or credit card statement to be sure the amount we paid gets refunded. Of course this is not immediate so you have this ‘pending’ thing in the back of your mind or if you are super organised a pending tray or some kind of diary note on your phone or computer.

    We all complain about not having enough time so on that note, is this type of lifestyle choice consuming our time and resources?

    For the record, I choose to buy very little online and to be honest find the whole experience not enjoyable but with the way of our world now, it has to be done for certain things.

    I was talking to a guy recently, who tells me they have a cupboard full of stuff which are just online shopping items (mainly clothes) that were wrong size or fit and with the “can’t be bothered” attitude, it gets delegated to a space inside their home to deal with one day in the future. Of course with their attitude, we know that it is not going to happen and it may take a house move to action or it may never get to see daylight, so to speak. I also observed in a large house, lots of items near the front door ALL waiting to be returned following online shopping. This was not a one off but a way of living that is accepted. In other words, the hallway area by the front door taking up space with boxes and packages most of the time.

    As a world, we have become consumed in buying and shopping and there seems to be no end to our appetite for wanting things now. Saving and waiting before we go shopping is a thing of the past. 24/7 click a button, pay extra and it’s with you the next day is like a dream come true for many and a way of life we have become accustomed to.

    My question is – how much of this do we really need and does this type of behaviour support us in anyway to evolve?

    We all know that not having the money to pay for something is simply not an issue as the solution is plastic cards because a whole range of credit is available and that only requires a few clicks. So we have the solution and the suppliers are just waiting to take our business.

    Let us not forget that the demand – that is us wanting to buy has to be first and then comes the supply.

    If we stop buying the products and services then suppliers would not be able to sell us anything because we wake up and realise we really don’t need much and living simple is easy and hard to comprehend, but actually very very joy-full in every way. I know because that is how I choose to live without perfection of course.

  7. A mega UK “online supermarket grocery specialist” have made the decision to cancel a deal with a giant supermarket and replace it with another big supermarket. The transition has taken 18 months as this is how long it takes to empty out their warehouses with the stock of the supermarket they no longer want to do business with.

    One national newspaper did a comparison and the first thing that is flagged is the mega online supermarket has robot run warehouses.

    The supermarket that no longer is with them employs humans and they call their staff ‘partners’ and profits are shared among employees. They have been around a long time and weathered all sorts of economic changes over the past 120 years.

    88% of the items ordered online are picked from the actual stores and they recently invested £10 million to improve their online business. During the pandemic there was a 50% increase with online orders.

    Their executive director says that they will now become the number one connection with customers online and can communicate with them about the brands they sell and everything else that makes this supermarket different.

    What we can all say is that a global pandemic has given rise to online supermarket shopping and the convenience at a click of a button appeals to the masses. It seems the majority of us are not bothered about the quality of what we receive knowing that robots are doing the job and not a human. We are also looking for cheaper ways to save money, so if robots replace humans that seems to be ok for us as it would mean paying less.

    So is artificial intelligence the way to go in the future or will it come with bigger problems that we may not yet have thought about?

    Are we ok if the robot does not see the quality of what it chooses or do we like the knowing that a human hand and touch was involved and so that would make all the difference?

    What customers need to consider is the bigger picture and weigh up everything including the fact that robot run mega supermarket charges 7 bucks for delivery and the human service is Free delivery.

    What if the bigger picture is that artificial intelligence may have a place but not for our food shopping because our body needs the quality, a vibration so to speak that does not erase human connection?

    What if a supermarket that calls all its employees ‘partners’ is speaking volumes about how we are all equals regardless of our position and that there is another way to run a business where it is not solely about numbers and profit?

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