#296–Convenience & frustrations of online shopping . . .

On my front porch, I had a crummy looking, faded plastic planter. Every few years, I would replace the plant. But plants did well there for years at a stretch. Then the planter developed cracks, and I had to replace it. I got two lovely pots, one slightly larger than the other. I got plants that looked great. But over a matter of a couple months they died. I got new plants and again within a couple months, they failed to thrive and just withered. After the third time, I decided to go with fake plants. Something, I never thought I’d do.

An Areca Palm.

They look so realistic these days. I found a company online called Nearly Natural,  and wow! Their plants look very real. I spent more than an hour looking and deciding. I finally decided on two totally different plants. And got a really good coupon deal, so it didn’t cost as much as I thought it would. I decided on what I wanted, ordered them, and they are on the way. That’s the way shopping online is supposed to work. Later that day, I had a different experience.

I live at the coast where a really warm day in the summer gets into the 70s. Most days are in the 60s and the afternoon wind makes it seem cooler. I don’t have summer clothes and winter clothes. I just wear one less layer in the summer. I wear sandals in summer but with socks. There’s maybe one day every other year when air-conditioning is needed. A really warm day is rare. Therefore, I am not at all acclimated to hot or even warm weather.

Not only am I not used to hot weather, I don’t have any hot weather clothes. And this summer I’ll be gone on a trip to Montana, where we’ll be in some really hot weather. And since I burn easily and don’t need any more skin cancers, I need to have very little skin showing. That means, no tank tops. That means long sleeves. I checked my clothes and decided I needed three cool day time tops and two pairs of pajamas that are cooler than my flannel ones.

This is a Hoya.

So, I went through catalogs looking for light-weight, long sleeve tops and cotton pajamas. I went through Soft Surroundings, Land’s End. L.L. Bean, Coldwater Creek, and Cuddledown. I spent more than an hour going from catalog to catalog, changing my mind over and over. I finally decided on light weight gauze tops heavy enough that you can’t see through. Then I found the styles I wanted. I got out my pants and decided on just the right colors. I even checked the size charts to see which size for sure I should order, since I seem to be between two sizes. I even read reviews on the styles I had chosen. Then I did a similar search for pajamas. I decided on traditional, button top with short sleeves and cropped legs just above the ankles for the pants.

I had done my research, knew what I wanted, and was pleased that most were on sale. I got my credit card. I was ready.

I went online and found the catalog, the category, and the item for the first of two tops. And I was going to get two of the same type in two different colors. Then I hit my first roadblock. They were out of both colors. So I got the one called “Crema,” which I assume is the color of cream and will go with everything, but not what I wanted. I moved onto the second top and ran into the second roadblock. It was out of stock and not expected back until September, which would be too late. Geez! This was turning into a thrill a minute!

Some of many catalogs.

I went to a third style that I had considered but passed on earlier. It was not on sale, but they were still sold out of my first choice in colors. I felt I needed more cool tops for the trip. So, I ordered two in different colors.

I wanted three gauze tops and that is what I got. I got one of my choices in style but neither of the colors I wanted. And I ordered a top that was not one of my top two choices with totally different colors. Everything should work, just not my first choices.

Then I went to the pajamas. The ones that I had chosen were on sale and sold out. In fact, everything I liked was either on sale and sold out or they didn’t have my size or the colors/patterns I wanted. I kept searching. I think, I looked at every pair of pajamas that was available on several websites. I finally found two that I liked both cotton and one was on sale. And, miracle of miracles, both were available in my size and in patterns that I liked. Each one said that I was getting the last one available. Normally, I wouldn’t believe it; I’d consider it a sales gimmick. But this time, I believed it.

It took most of the day, and by the time I was done, I was punchy. Shopping online is convenient but can be so very frustrating.

The waiting game has begun. Will the plants look natural? Will I even like them? Will I like the clothes? Will they fit? Tune in next week!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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