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    Online shopping’s woes & wonders

    There was a little hiccup with my order. Illustration: Dominick Wienand

    By Linza de Jager

    Fear of catching Covid-19 caused my marriage to online shopping. There was no courtship. No romance. Just the nuptials. One did not need to be a marriage counsellor to predict that things were not going to go smoothly…

    It started out surprisingly well, as I have said before. I was able to choose from a dizzy array of products online, the payment process was easier than expected, it was A-okay.

    But then something happened with my second order. It was a biggie and so it was split into two parcels. And this is important to know because this messed with the courier’s head. Two parcels! Imagine that! And so he delivered one of the parcels to the wrong house. Perhaps it was pressure of work. Perhaps the pressure of driving about all day long and unpacking the van and then handing over parcels to strangers got too much for him. By the time he rocked up at my gate he was acting pretty strangely.

    He got out of the van and started to look for the parcel. It took a long time, a really long time. Then he called out: “I’ve got only one of your parcels here. I’ll go and fetch the other one!” And so he drove off without handing over a single parcel – and he did not come back.

    In fact, two whole days went by without him returning. During this time I called the courier’s office and was told: “It’s coming today,” “Do you want to phone the courier?” and “I’m trying to help you.” One did not need to be a modern Shakespeare to know that something was rotten in the state of Denmark, or in this case, with my parcels. (Parcels. Note the use of the plural.) And so I decided to phone the online shop and ask them what had happened. “Didn’t he tell you what happened?” the person on the other side asked me. And so she told me that the courier had delivered one of my parcels to the wrong address. It had been put to use in the meantime, she added.

    The shop bore the brunt of all of this: of my anger and of the financial loss. It replaced the contents of the lost parcel at no cost to myself. So, why am I writing this? I suppose it has to do with effort expended. And with the worry that was caused by this situation. A newbie ventured into the digital forest and nearly got burnt.

    But then the online shop came to my rescue. So, the question is this: Will I remain faithful to my online marriage? The one on which I embarked faster than you can say “virus”? I think I will stick to it, at least to some degree. I still hope to resume some of my pre-pandemic shopping habits. I still love the tactility of things and the treasure hunt. But I think that there is at least one online shop I will support in future, and it is the one written about above.

    Linza de Jager is a journalist, poet and painter. She is now also, much to her surprise, a member of the online shopping posse.


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