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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Online shopping has become a way of life for most people. A Pew Research article by John B. Horrigan reported that the number of online users either buying or researching products online since 2000 has roughly doubled ( Since online shopping has increased, I assume online-purchase problems have also increased. My online-shopping problems have been few, thankfully. However, I have learned that resolving online-purchase problems requires timeliness, persistence and patience.

First, in late winter, I ordered a keyless deadbolt lock for my garage door. Because I was in no hurry to install the deadbolt (The original one was still working most of the time.), I waited until the weather was warmer to have it installed. The new deadbolt did not work; it was defective. My son-in-law suggested I return it and order a different one. When I checked on returning the defective deadbolt, I discovered that the timeframe for returning it had expired. So, I threw away the defective deadbolt (worthless, but costing about $75) and ordered a different brand which was installed upon arrival. I found that timeliness is critical regarding returns. Lesson learned.

Second, a few months ago, I ordered an outdoor wall light for the back of my house to match the others I had changed out around the garage area. When it arrived, one of the glass panels was broken. Rather than shipping it back, I boxed it up and returned it to the nearest store. Since it wasn’t in stock within the store, it was reordered. It should have arrived in mid-July. In our most recent conversation, customer service said it will arrive August 12. Ensuring that I get this outdoor wall light is developing my tenacity or persistence.  Naturally, I hope that the replacement has unbroken glass panes and works, thereby concluding this specific problem.

Third, in early spring, I ordered green tomato cages, matching some green ones I already had. They arrived in a timely fashion, and I used all of them this year. Then in June, I decided I wanted a few more tomato cages, so I ordered a second time. The second order did not come. I got online, asking for a refund. Since the cages had been shipped (likely from another country) and the merchandise was provided by a second party, the supplier did not immediately refund the cost. So, through a rate-the-product format, I reported the situation online – twice. Ultimately, payment was refunded. I learned that dealing with some online-shopping problems requires patience (mixed with persistence).


Will I continue to shop online? Yes, I will. In my experience, online-shopping problems are manageable, even though they are aggravating. However, the lessons I’ve learned – timeliness, persistence and patience – have resulted in greater caution. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”


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