December 11, 2020 |

Shopping Online: Charged Up

By Rami Hilan

Image from iOS.jpg

I love shopping. I’ve always loved shopping. My neighbourhood grocery store is my happy place, local mom-and-pop shops make me feel warm and fuzzy, and big beautiful malls have just about everything I need in the world. Something about going out somewhere and coming back with something new just feels so refreshing to me. My bank statements don’t feel the same way, but that’s something to deal with later.

To quote Nicki Minaj, “I’ve got a shopping problem, got expensive taste.” Obviously the pandemic we’re in has changed a lot about our world, but one of the biggest changes for me, has been the way I shop.

Gone are the days where I can wander aimlessly around grocery store aisles searching for a new soup mix or turkey baster. Now I order my groceries online and have them delivered to my house. There have been a couple mix-ups with products and I’ve had a hard time letting someone else pick oranges for me (nobody picks better oranges than I do), but overall it’s been a fairly positive experience. The biggest change hasn’t been grocery shopping, though, it’s been shopping for everything else.

Since I’m at home a lot more now, I’ve had to find some new hobbies to keep busy. Buying instruments, workout gear, tools, books, video games, and pretty much everything else you can think of has now gone fully online for me. I’d flirted with online shopping before but never done it to this level. Just the other day my mom was telling me she needed a new charger for her phone since hers was starting to wear out. A few clicks and a few days later she had a new charger, just like that. It made her happy which made me happy, but she was unsure about something. How safe could all this be? Good question, Ma.

Finding the Store:

The first thing I had to do was figure out where I was going to buy the charger from. Small tech gadgets like that are pretty easy to find, so I went onto Best Buy’s website. They’re a name I know and have bought from in the past, so it seemed like a reliable option. I checked the web address once I typed it in and saw that it had an HTTPS connection and the padlock icon, both good signs.

Finding the Product:

Most online stores have categories in tabs that you can flip through to filter for the type of product you’re looking for. Best Buy was no exception, so I went to the cell phone tab, then the cell phone accessories tab, and finally, the phone chargers tab. I found a few chargers that fit the description of what my mom needed. Once I had it narrowed down to a few options it was time to read the reviews. I always make sure to check for reviews that the website verifies as customers so that I know the reviews are coming from real people rather than promoters or advertisers. The more reviews the better.

Making the Purchase:

Once I’d found the right charger for the right price with the right reviews from the right store, it was time to buy. I don’t like getting emails from stores once I’m done with my shopping (I don’t need reminders to spend more money) so I put in an NCF disposable alias as my email. That way I had somewhere to receive the confirmation, receipt, and shipping tracker emails, and as soon as I got the charger I could get rid of the alias and not hear from them again. I also used my VISA Checkout account to autofill my payment info for me. Digital wallets like VISA Checkout or MasterPass are more secure than just inputting your bank information to a website directly, so I get an extra level of safety and comfort using them.

Once that was all taken care of there wasn’t much left to do. Between using a secure and trusted website, checking product reviews and details, using a disposable email alias, and a digital wallet, my security and privacy concerns were pretty well covered. Then it was time for the worst part of online shopping: the waiting!