Confessions of an online shopper

Photo by Serge Kutuzov on Unsplash

Every woman I know is puzzled as to why they put fluorescent lights in department store dressing rooms. Guaranteed to make one look awful, they are pure, unadulterated evil. These stores spend a great deal of money on design and marketing. You would think somebody would tell them to get the fluorescent lights out of the room where folks on trying on clothes to see if they’re interested in purchasing.

Really basic, right?

I particularly dislike when the ballast begins to go bad and the light flickers. If one is trying on a bathing suit, the effect is especially horrific. I look slightly blue in such light and every bit of cellulite is exposed and blemishes accented. It reminds me of that scene in Twin Peaks when Agent Cooper is examining Laura’s body at the morgue. Brutal.

For this reason, I quit trying on clothes at the store. Nobody needs that kind of hit to their ego. I would buy them, bring them home, and try them on with the appropriate shoes and other accessories. I returned that which was a no. I much preferred this method.

I eventually transitioned to Amazon for clothing. It’s hard for me to find things long enough. Did you know that clothing manufacturers make clothing of a certain length to fit the demographics of a region? The same brand of pants you buy in one part of the country will be shorter or longer than in another. It’s true or it used to be true. I haven’t kept up with such things since switching to Amazon with descriptions that include the inseam/length/etc.measurement.

Lately, I’m starting to have some twinges of guilt about shopping at Amazon. What started as a great, socially responsible company has turned into a behemoth that allegedly treats its employees badly. As a hillbilly diva, the proper outfit for the situation is important to me. I have been searching Amazon’s site for clothing from small businesses and independents. This hasn’t been fruitful. I refuse on principle to pay shipping charges, and I want a 30-day return window. I am incorrigible.

The shipping thing is basic to me. If one is operating an online business without a brick-and-mortar store, shipping is just one of the costs of doing business. Suck it up. Add the cost to the price of the item. Whatever, but do not tack on a shipping charge. I won’t buy it except in the direst of situations.

I want what I want. I am many things, but I am also a hedonist.

Online shopping has felled a few giants of department stores. Sears and Kmart are gone. JC Penney’s is floundering, and I’m told Macy’s is a shadow of its former self – at least here in West Virginia. Bookstores took the first hit and Amazon was largely to blame. I’ll admit I first started buying books at Amazon in 1996. I am a poor person with a book addiction. Discounted books were heaven-sent.

I’m told independent bookstores are making a comeback.

I’m glad to hear it. I miss bookstores. I’m ashamed to admit that I used to go to them, find the books I wanted, and then go home to purchase them on Amazon. I hang my head in shame. I’m a writer and realize that such practices mean less money for the creators of the wonderful stories I like to get lost in. I’ve heard terrible tales of shoppers exploiting online return policies to take back books they read as a cost-saving measure. Such behavior is theft as far as I’m concerned.

The internet is largely responsible for my not leaving my house on weekends. I buy everything online that I can. The pandemic brought online shopping to grocery stores, and I was thrilled. I love food but hate grocery shopping where they too utilize fluorescent lighting. The produce appears discolored, and the meat looks like roadkill.

In general, I hate fluorescent lights. In my office, I never turn on the overhead lights. I have lamps with soft lighting. I also have candles, music, and a coffee pot. All of it was bought online. Look what my hatred of fluorescent lighting has wrought. I am a hedonist and I love online shopping, but it is beginning to make me feel guilty. And we can’t have that.

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