Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thrill of the Buy

The Shopping Experience
Shopping is one of the most mentally stimulating activities I can think of. It starts with an idea where I think of a need or want that can be fulfilled with the purchase of some product. This usually proceeds with hours of browsing stores or websites followed by hours or days of narrowing the options down. A research marathon ensues: specifications, professional reviews, and customer reviews.

What is available? Where can I get it? Which one is better? Which is cheaper? Do people like it? Do I like it?

It rarely goes smoothly either: I research, make a decision, doubt myself, research some more, doubt even more, and eventually buy something.

After the Check Clears
Buying doesn't end when the check clears. With online shopping, there is the free order cancellation window that may be an hour or more long. This is a time when self-doubt and regret usually hits me the hardest. It is the last easy way out with no need to pay shipping fees, deal with a return, go to the store, or get in touch with anyone in customer service. Do I stay or do I leave?

Then the purchase arrives. The return period has now kicked in. Should I open it and risk a restocking fee? If I break the seal, the regret and analysis goes into overdrive. This is the definite last window to cut my losses. It may be cumbersome to return it, but at least I'd get my money back.

Are the problems I read about online true? Do I really want it? Will I use it? Damn it, did I just blow $100?

Throughout the return period, I obsessively check prices online. Did I miss a sale where I could have gotten it cheaper? Will my store match the price of the sale somewhere else now?

Stuck with it Now
Honestly, the best feeling in the world occasionally occurs when the return period expires. Short of pawning the item on Craigslist, for a substantial loss in my experience, there is no way out. The purchase is now over. What a rush.

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