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Tales of Shopping Online & In Stores

While many tout the convenience of shopping online — and in most cases it is very convenient — my wife Marion and I had a couple of cases recently that showed the travails of online shopping.

My wife saw ads on TV and online for a lightweight garden hose and ordered it online. It was supposed to arrive in five business days and it took longer than expected.

Why? Instead of one 100-foot garden hose, we received two 50-foot versions for the same price. OK, to avoid packing it up and sending it back to the manufacturer we decided to keep it. I followed the directions on how to connect the hoses, began watering our backyard plants and, almost immediately, one of the nylon/rubber houses split from the nozzle in shreds. Suffice it to say, we had to pack the hoses in the original packaging and return them to the manufacturer and are waiting for a refund.

A couple of days later we ordered a toaster oven since our old model stopped working. Marion found one with the same stainless-steel look of our kitchen appliances.

When the toaster oven arrived, the pictures on the boxed looked exactly like the item we ordered. Except when we opened it up, the top and sides were black, and only the front and back were stainless steel.

We wanted to return it immediately, and Marion blurted, out of frustration, “I’ll never buy anything else online again!”

Well, cooler heads prevailed, and we figured out a way of using and keeping the toaster oven, but now she is gun-shy about ordering online, at least for a while.

Speaking of cooler heads, right after that we found out we were in the market for a large room air conditioner (Yes, it has been an expensive month!) as our present unit began spewing rusty water.

This time we researched for the A/C, a 12,000 Btu unit, online and knew the brand we wanted and who we wanted to buy it from – P.C. Richard & Son.

We went in, armed with our research, and quickly placed the order. We requested a specific day and we were told that the morning of the delivery we would get a call with the time it would be installed. They would also remove the old unit.

Well, the next morning we got a call saying the AC would be delivered between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The delivery of the correct product was made around 11 a.m.; the installation was completed quickly, and they took the old AC with them as promised.

P.C. Richard has won our loyalty when buying major appliances because of its delivery and installation performances over the years. The products we have bought there are competitively priced too.

Internet-only retailers may be convenient and priced correctly, but there is something to be said for consistent delivery, installation and service.