Despite being a Net user for over a decade, my experience with Net shopping is still at its nascency. I’m glad to report though that I’m slowly and steadily warming up to the idea.
About four years ago, when I managed to successfully pay for a set of Tintin comics on Indiatimes, and saw them getting delivered well wrapped, my faith in man-created mechanisms increased manifold. I made a few more book purchases through the site but after several unsuccessful searches, I felt compelled to revert to my trusted Oxford bookstore in Qutab Plaza or Midland in the Shopping Mall in Gurgaon.
Then, about a year ago, I got conned into paying India Today for a set of Britannica cds that was supposedly bundled with a free kit-bag. More than a year and several reminders later, I haven’t got either. What I did get in abundance were their colourful paper catalogues that attempted to entice me to lose more and more of my money to them, but the company didn’t realise that they had lost a kind-hearted customer for good! Now they spam my mobile relentlessly and earn my wrath even more, and I’m so upset with the brand itself that I don’t consider it deserving of any more business from me.
More recently though my trust in online shopping skyrocketed when I managed to procure a good brand of 4GB MP3 player from Ebay. At a little over Rs2400, the gadget was priced very competitively, and using a discount coupon from one of their mailers, I couldn’t believe my luck for getting it for some Rs1800 or thereabouts. This well-packed hardware arrived a few days later and worked smoothly. Since then, Ebay’s regular mailers have uplifted my spirits further and I’m sure glad they’re around despite several online businesses having disappeared. They will continue to find me as their faithful customer provided the same service continues.
And yesterday, while browsing one of the blogs at MINT, I was happy to know of more options for buying books. The one that appears to top that list is flipkart. On a test of their collection, searching for books by a photographer author that Kishore thinks highly of — Bryan Peterson, I saw at least 10 titles whereas other sites showed only a couple. Shipping was said to be free for orders above Rs100 and the time required for most books was 18-20 days — but also 2-3 months in some cases. I know that’s long but at least one can now sit tight and get these books delivered at home instead of making a trip to Singapore or the U.S to buy them.
Aren’t we glad to be living in times when we can experience the technology (and trade) affecting our lives so positively?