Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

May 17, 2006

Online Shopping Sucks because....

As essential as online shopping has become for me, there are quite a few problems I find with online shopping, as much as it is great. Here are my person favorites:
  • Touching is believing: I still want to touch/try on/look at closely the thing I'm purchasing. Texture, drape, and quality of the garment are incredibly important to me. If I'm in the store, I can reject in about 10 seconds something that is overpriced for quality, ugliness, the wrong color, etc. Sure, I have to lug it home, but there's less of it to lug.
  • I want a normal shopping experience too: Who the hell wants to feel completely left out of the shopping loop? It completely sucks to walk into a store and realize you really like their clothes, but everything, and I mean everything, is way too big. As one oh so helpful salesman at a Brooks Brothers snarkily told me, "you should be grateful that we even carry petites, even though it's a little big on you. Frankly, our stores lose money because we don't make enough of a profit from people your size."
  • No instant gratification: I need something now. Or tomorrow. For now, I just can't wait to have the thing sent. For tomorrow, no, I don't realy want to pay an extra $30 for rushed (and sometimes not guaranteed) overnight delivery. If that's even possible.
  • Sizing charts online lie: They lie a lot. Especially for small sizes. Check out the chart below from Banana Republic. On a super thin day, I maybe have a 23 1/2" waist, 28 1/2" around the bony bits of my hip. So, according to this chart, I'd fit a 0P reasonably well. Wrong. BR offers a size 00P, which is still too big for me. The skirt I ordered from them is also below, in a 00P. It hits a tiny bit past my hip bone, which I guess I can wear, but I really don't like to. Measured straight across the waistband, it's exactly 28". I still have a silk skirt I bought from them in '99 that is exactly 24" in the waistband, and it was a regular (not petite) size 0. What the heck? This size chart is about 7+ years out of whack.

  • Unavoidable Returns: You gotta lug all that stuff you just mail ordered back to the physical store or post office. Because they lied about the size. Or because it's uglier than you thought possible.
  • Environmental anguish: You just killed 1/100 of a tree for the shipping materials and probably a gallon of gas having this stuff shipped from their distribution warehouse in Ohio. This is a very similiar feeling to the horror I felt when one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, told me he regularly orders Q-Tips online because Amazon offered free priority delivery if you pay a flat rate for the year.
  • Overbuying is easy: You forget how much you got because you don't have to carry it around to the cashier. So you return it or you wind up paying a lot more than you wanted to. You often buy multiple sizes of the same thing because you aren't sure about fit - which is a return guarantee.
  • Online Selection still sucks: I still can't really find things that look good on me and/or fit online. My friends know that I keep talking about going to Asia to go on a crazy shopping trip. Completely not practical unless you're willing to blow a lot of money for a very very long plane ride. With no guarantee of anything once you get there.
For a fair shake for the other side, please read here.



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