The Internet Shopping Diet

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

It's hard to resist purchasing items at the store, but resisting on-line is even more difficult. High internet sales suggest that consumers are finding it hard to curb their internet spending appetite. Maybe it's because the internet offers so many great desserts.

I Do It Because I'm Bored

People eat when their bodies are passive, and they shop for the same reason. On-line shopping offers something that no store can ever present: 24/7 shopping without the need to leave the house. Ebay often is a strong lure for the boredom shopper. It's interesting to watch the auctions and keep tabs on selling prices for items. Yet, the prices are often low and thus luring to bidders. Plus, there's a strong addiction associated with eBay. The lure of watching an item, raising a bid, and winning is a game in itself which can prove quite costly. Like any on-line catalog, only search for what it is that you want to buy and avoid riding the cyber wave.

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I Don't Ever Gain a Pound

There is one strong deterrent to even the most committed mall shopper. When a person's arms can carry no more bags it's time to go home or at least stop at the car. The extrinsic motivation behind shopping is that immediate reward. However, on-line purchases do just the opposite. I pay now and wait two weeks for the item to arrive. There is no reward for my efforts, and so I continue to search and purchase more and more. My hands are never full because I'm not buying anything tangible at the moment. Likewise, I'm paying electronically and not using real money.

The Whipped Toppings

Catalog shopping is great; however, on-line catalogs offer extra perks. There are sales bins, and often while ordering special sales flash upon the screen tempting fate. Some sites even create a personal shopper which lists items of interset. A great way to resist these sales gimmicks is to make a list of items that you want to purchase and only look at those items. It's like going to dinner without looking at the dessert menu; you can't be tempted by it if you don't see it.

I Forgot to Count the Calories

The delay between internet purchases and their delivery causes many people to forget what they bought. One teen purchased two pair of jeans which took two weeks to arrive. In the meantime she went to another on-line store and purchased another pair of jeans, forgetting about the first two pair. Keep a detailed list of all purchases near the computer so that double buying doesn't occur.

Although internet shopping is a blessing, it can also be a burden. Like any powerful tool, use it wisely. There is no difference between internet stores and retail stores; they all want people to spend money. Know the problems associated with internet purchasing problems and counterattack them. If it becomes too much to handle, avoid on-line buying completely.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at Englishteach@rcn.com or visit her website at http://users.rcn.com/wesavedamutt/Writer

May 1, 20060 found this helpful

great article...so true

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May 1, 20060 found this helpful

I have started the Wal-mart Fast......I have even stopped using their pharmacy because I have to walk with two kids through half the store, and end up buying stuff because I am waiting in line! Walgreens Drive thru from now on, and I save two bucks on my prescription!

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December 21, 20100 found this helpful

If I'm shopping at a site that has a wishlist, I put things I'd like to have on it. Having put them on the wishlist, I've taken action, and I can forget about it. A few weeks or months later when I visit the site again, I pull out my wishlist and look it over. If I see something I've been desperately looking for and forgot I found it here, I'll go ahead and order it. Otherwise, I make a mental note of it (taking action, again) and close the wishlist. Seems like just looking at pictures of things satisfies my "wants" in a lot of cases, and knowing I can come back and look at it again makes me feel, secure? comfortable? Maybe I'm nuts, but it works for me. :)

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