Chronic Compromises 2 – Online Shopping

Chronic illness can lead to a whole world of compromise. That is why I have started this series – to show compromises I have had to make and hope they can be helpful for others.

A few weeks ago Hubby and I were in the mood for some junk food and couldn’t decide what we wanted. He suggested we go to the local mall’s food fair and we could choose whatever we felt like. I realized it was the first time I had been at that mall since we moved a year ago!

The truth of the matter is I rarely go shopping anymore. I mentioned in the first part of this series that I have had to start ordering prepared meals for the days I just can’t cook. I have been shopping for the rest of our groceries online for a few years now as the grocery store exhausts me. At first we had it delivered until that became the most expensive item on the list. When we moved, the local store only did pick-ups and not delivery (which they now have). Pick-up is free and either Hubby or my Care-Worker can pick it up for me. I have even gone myself as it is about four blocks away.

There are downsides to this, however.

  • You can choose to allow your “personal shopper” to choose substitutions if an item isn’t available or you won’t get anything. If it is an important item, this means going to another store.
  • Each shopper does things a bit differently. Our shopper recently changed to another store and we have been breaking in a new one ever since. They like to self-tie plastic bags instead of using twist ties and I can’t open them with my arthritic hands. I have asked for twist ties and sometimes I get them and sometimes I get knots. I cut off the knot and then have to transfer the item to a different bag.
  • You can miss specials if you don’t check the flyer first whereas when you are in the store, sale tags are all over the place!
  • There is no social interaction. You use a computer to order and pay. If someone else picks it up I don’t even get to say hi to the shopper when they bring the order out.
  • It can be easier to forget something because if it isn’t on your favourites list or you see it while looking for something else, it isn’t right there in front of you at the store.

My online shopping is not limited to groceries.

I have started buying my clothes online. This has its pluses and minuses as well. I have to guess that something will look good on me and what size to get. Most of the items (dresses) I get come through the US, and I made the mistake of picking a “free” courier instead of free postage. The company didn’t charge for shipping; however, the courier company charged for duty and handling. Each of the five dresses, which were ordered together have come one by one with each having a $23 CDN courier bill. By the time the fifth one comes, I will have paid enough to buy at least one more dress if not two!

Amazon presents a whole different set of problems. You give them your credit card or PayPal information and then you can buy things with “one click”. Before you know it you have racked up a high bill for a bunch of “really good deals”, some that you may never use.

Some companies (Disney Movie Club and Storyblocks stock images for example) will not let you remove your credit information online. You have to call them to do it. With my anxiety issues, this can be very daunting and I put it off as long as I can.

I order our gluten-free bread weekly as well as Miley’s dog food by phone and either Hubby, my awesome worker pick it up, with or without me in tow. There is very little that I actually walk into a store and pick out myself.

I always liked shopping. When I got my driver’s lisence at 16 my Mom trusted me with the grocery shopping for the family. I had gone with her for years so I knew what brands and quality she wanted. I wasn’t like my Dad, throwing things in the cart like cookies or ice cream (unless it was on the list 😉 ). She would give me the list and the money and I always managed to come in under budget. That was something I was proud of.

Though, that was before the bipolar kicked in taking away all inhibitions when it came to spending. I have for the most part got a handle on it again, but it takes work.

The one store that I can’t phone in my order or do it online is Costco. We have cut down a lot of our spending there but still do get certain items there. My hubby could do it on his own from my list, but we always have a cheap dinner there, often with his brother. This last time we went I ended up having an anxiety meltdown because my new cell phone carrier wouldn’t give me enough bars to make a necessary money transfer. My days shopping there may be numbered as well. Or, I may have to use one of their electric scooters!

So if chronic illness of any kind, whether physical or mental, stops you from shopping, know that there are a lot of options out there to help. They may not be perfect; however, they are better than getting stressed, fatigued or in pain from going out to shop.




2 Replies to “Chronic Compromises 2 – Online Shopping”

  1. Ouch about the courier bill when ordering those clothes online. An interesting piece because there really are fantastic upsides to online shopping but also various negatives and potential pitfalls. You’re right though, there’s lots of options out there so your world needn’t be as restricted as you may think if getting to the shops isn’t possible. Great post! x

    Liked by 1 person

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