Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

The joy sublime of shopping online

The lazy person's guide to retail therapy

person shopping online on their laptop with a credit card
Last updated: 15 October 2019

Retail therapy. Flashing the plastic to get elbow-deep in oversized carry bags of designer goods is the panacea for all manner of modern ills for many of us. However, I'm seriously treatment resistant. Or to put it another way, I HATE going to the shops.

Which is why, for me, online shopping is manna from heaven. Heaven being Amazon. Or eBay. Or any number of sites offering to save me from the tedium of purchasing in person – driving to the shops, parking, battling crowds, and traipsing from store to store only to be told by bored sales staff shouting over the incessant doof of the speaker that no, the thing I was assured is definitely in stock when I called ahead specifically is not, actually, in stock.

How much do I hate shopping? I would rather buy clothes online, find they're the wrong size, throw them away and buy (and pay for) them again than go to a shop to try them on. That's the depth of my loathing of the retail experience.

I'm also lazy, and online shopping is great for lazy people. Why spend the time and effort getting to a physical store when whatever I need comes straight to me with just a few clicks on the couch or, let's face it, at my desk on the boss's dollar.

Why spend the time and effort getting to a physical store when whatever I need comes straight to me

And shopping online means that in many cases you can curve the Australia tax – international goods are often way cheaper, even with the GST included (thanks Gerry. No, really, thanks), and you can choose from a much wider range, because you're shopping globally. What's not to love? 

I'll tell you: the lack of instant gratification. Shop on the high street and you have the object of your desire in your sweaty little hands immediately – you don't even need to wait to get home. But buy online and there's a lag for delivery, leaving you living in limbo as your purchase takes on Schrödinger's cat-like overtures.

package left on doorstep

Factor in delivery time.

When delivery is fast it may arrive the next day, but sometimes it's positively glacial, and on rare (but not rare enough) occasions it's non-existent. Did you order Gorman, or Godot?

This is the trap for the lazy consumer – if your purchase is pressing, like a present for your partner, then you must factor in delivery time. And if you're a lazy shopper, you've probably left it too late, meaning you either give the gift of disappointment (again), or have to pony up to the shops in person, cursing because you're paying more than if you were organised, and also wondering what to do with the gift you did order online when it eventually arrives.

So my tip is: if you're in a last-minute present purchasing panic, lest your loved one leaves you, choose anything other than your impending online shopping delivery, so when it does arrive, a day late and a dollar short, you can save it for next year.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.