The Negatives of Online Shopping

Is it really worth it in anymore?

After a long stressful week, the best thing anyone could ask for is some good ol’ fashioned retail therapy. And what could possibly be better than jumping online and getting to do it in your underwear? With more and more stores selling their products online and with websites like Amazon, online shopping is becoming an ideal method for everything from retail therapy to Holiday shopping. But there are so many negatives to online shopping that makes some of us question – is it worth it?

When we look at the models on our screens, every piece of clothing looks gorgeous on them. With photoshop and airbrush, ever tiny flaw is hidden. The general population is not built like that, so when we buy clothes based off of a model that had been changed and edited, we realize the clothes look differently on ourselves. Of course, most of these stores offer free returns but I have not known a single person who has actually returned their clothes. Most of the time its stuck in their closet as nothing but a reminder of wasted money.

We also have a tendency to overshop even when we’re in stores in person. If we’re shopping online, we don’t have the added benefit of having an entire shopping experience of trying on clothes and carrying it through the store to think about our purchase and change our minds. Because these stores so cleverly made it easy for us to check out, we don’t think twice about our purchase and make choices we wouldn’t have made in person.

Beware of Memberships

I’m a big fan of athleisure and I swear by Lululemon leggings. But when I saw that Fabletics was having a sale where you could get 2 leggings for $25, I jumped on it immediately. I selected my leggings and was about to hit buy when I got a nagging feeling to read the fine print. It told me that I would be charged $50 a month for a membership and I would only get the discount if I became a member. Of course, you could skip every single month if you wished, but there is always a risk you would forget and you would be out $50.

And this doesn’t just apply to clothes. When my parents bought wine off the internet, they were charged $40 for 8 bottles of wine. But then they delayed their shipment of bottles by a few weeks and sent their second shipment almost immediately after. That second shipment of bottles was $150 for 6. It’s so easy to get swept up in membership fees or hidden costs until after it’s too late. That was collective $200 we wouldn’t have wanted to spend. Shopping in person would’ve been easier.

Convenience vs Connection

There’s a certain charm with shopping in a store, talking to other people, and getting to touch and feel the products for yourself. When shopping for Christmas presents, some of my friends refuse to set foot in a store and do all their shopping online. It’s convenient. But I want to be able to see the things I’m buying.

I put a lot of thought into my gifts for my friends and family and being able to make a real decision on size, color, weight, and overall appearance is important to me. When shopping for nail polish or makeup, for example, seeing it on a screen is never the same as seeing it in person. Unless it’s something ordinary and standard, there is always a slight difference in color.

When you’re shopping for something important like a laptop or even something as simple as a household appliance, the feel of it is as important as the look or technical aspects. Being able to hold your laptop, type on it, and picture yourself working on it is a crucial part of the buying experience that is impossible to do online.

And then there’s the added bonus of going outside in the fresh air, talking to other human beings, and getting in a little exercise. Walking around a mall for a couple hours is exhausting and having to carry shopping bags on top of that can be a real workout.

The number of stores that are closing in 2018 might break a record. Although they all might not be because of online shopping, many are attributed to it. And going alone with stores closing are more and more jobs. If retail stores continue to close, hundreds of jobs will be gone – many of which are a way for people to put food on the table and pay the bills.

And the cherry on top is the increased pollution online shopping causes.

The number of cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and amount of carbon emissions caused by online shopping is massive. Transportation beat powerplants in carbon emissions for the first time in 2016 since 1979 – and much of that is attributed to deliveries for online shopping.

People have started to stop their Amazon subscriptions because they argue that they’re paying so much money to buy things they can buy at any store. With stores price matching their products, it might not be worth it to shop online anymore.

There are many benefits to online shopping – the biggest being convenience and accessibility to products you couldn’t even dream of. But the more we consider it, the negatives might outweigh the positives.


Jen Garg is a student at Arizona State University studying Journalism and...