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By Gelene Peñalosa
With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us from going outside and the lives we once knew, we have gotten more and more acquainted with online stores and e-commerce apps. Groceries, supermarkets, and other businesses have shifted their services online to help in curbing the increasing cases of the virus. Just a few taps and slides on your gadgets and you’re done. No need to go out, spend hours in traffic, and line up for the counter. Shopping has never been this safe, fast, and worry-free.
Of course, shopping for essentials isn’t the only reason why we keep adding stuff to our carts. It can be the convenience of buying items that are normally hard to find in stores; or wr’re getting Christmas gifts for our loved ones (and ourselves); or, maybe, we’re all just bored and all this time at home moves us to overindulge. This is why it’s very important to weigh the pros and cons of online shopping before giving in to the temptations of retail therapy, especially during the quarantine.
PRO # 1: It keeps us safe during a pandemic.
Since this pandemic urges every one of us to follow health protocols such as social distancing, online shopping does great help in implementing this. As stores and businesses have been readily shifting to serve their customers online, they limit the number of people going to their physical stores. By doing this, they keep their customers and employees safe from the virus while still being able to operate.
PRO # 2: It helps small businesses thrive during a pandemic.
The lockdowns imposed by the government have especially hit starting and small businesses and startups. On the flipside, small online businesses have been emerging due to the closure of some. The sudden shift to online transactions might have been tough for some of businesses, but over time, they were able to bounce back from their earlier deficits thanks to the support they’ve received from customers, new and old. Through online shopping and delivery services, these businesses were able to gain at least a bit of their normal income.
PRO # 3: It’s a more convenient way of shopping.
Gone are the days where you have to look through every store or every aisle just to find what you need. Online shopping is a handy alternative to going to shopping malls to buy both necessities and wants. Everything you need, from baking supplies to electronics, is one e-commerce app. Fan of international brands? Pasa-buy or buying in bulk is all the rage these days to reduce the cost of shipping and handling for purchases from global shopping sites like Amazon.
While there are other positive notes on online shopping, there are negative reactions to it as well.
CON # 1: It leads to impulse buying.
Impulse buying happens when we purchase items while in the “moment.” The phrases, “this looks cute!” or “what a steal!” are just some examples of a “moment” where we feel obligated to buy things that we like—regardless if we need or not. Impulse buying can hurt our pockets if we don’t pay attention to the things we buy. If it gets out of control it might also lead to unnecessary credit card debt.
CON # 2: You might catch the virus from delivered packages.
With packages coming from different places, there’s a possibility that some of these could be contaminated; The World Health Organization (WHO) has cited evidence from laboratory research, stating that the COVID-19 virus can last up to 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on steel and plastic (e.g. bubble wrap).
Most of us rely on online shopping to ensure are health and safety. Our efforts would be in vain if we get the virus from a package. As an extra precaution, it’s recommended to leave delivered packages outside for a few hours and, of course, to wash our hands immediately after opening them.
CON # 3: We don’t have the guarantee of receiving a good quality product.
While online shopping is convenient, the prices aren’t always reliable. Most of the time, low prices don’t guarantee good quality. And shopping for authentic and high-quality products online requires a lot of research and scouring through sections of the site.
Online shopping does have its perks and can seem like an escape to the kind of situation we’re currently living in. What’s important is that we be more responsible with our decisions by weighing out our priority purchases and necessities before hitting “Check out” on our online shopping platforms, right?
Gelene Peñalosa is a Content and Engagement Writer Intern from De La Salle University-Manila, with International Studies – European Studies as her degree. She has a penchant for any kind of coffee, drinking at least 2 cups each day, and an interest in international relations, history, and culture. She also has a taste for fashion, beauty, KPop, and makes Youtube videos in her free time.
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