COLUMN: Online Black Friday shopping is like eating cold turkey


One week post-Thanksgiving, the turkey comas have finally worn off – almost enough to make us forget the damage done. However, the damage from Black Friday shopping can never be erased. 

At first, your inbox full of email banners screaming “40-percent off” seemed like the good friend who always texts you when Free People is having a sample sale. But now as you awake from your online-shopping daydream with that 40-percent off shirt and a credit card bill in your mailbox, you might realize a painful reality.

While scrolling through hundreds of Free People sequins on a screen is a great high, your drug of choice always has a crash. Strangely, sometimes that means the worst part of online shopping is actually receiving your purchase, the hangover of your Black Friday fun.

Sure, this idea seems a little off at first. If getting our shopping in the mail is so bad, why do we continue to spend our class lectures flipping through eight different tabs of Urban Outfitters crop tops?

After all, the changing game of retail shows online sales’ accessibility and time efficiency often beats the traditional experience of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

Instead of being chased by a store employee who needs to make her commission, you can simply pull up a brand’s website and be greeted by a lovely animation letting you know the best sales. Rather than sorting through the Black Friday stampede’s leftovers on the floor, you can browse a variety of perfectly Photoshopped images of any piece online.

And while at the mall you may have to weather long lines of disparaging shoppers before they’ve had their morning coffee, there’s no human interaction required on a computer. (If that’s your thing.)

But when you do shop in store, you have to admit nothing is better than immediately taking your purchases in hand.

In this case, your shopping and purchasing experiences match up. Both exist in the same comforting space of a well-lit store where a Starbucks and Cinnabon are always nearby.

But sadly, online shopping doesn’t work as well in this department, as your online experience will always be better than your receiving experience at home. You may have been treated to cheeky animations, aesthetically-pleasing product displays and a limited-time requirement on a website but actually receiving your purchases just isn’t the same.

That shirt, while gorgeous on the website’s size-zero model, ended up pinching under your arms. That dress material you blindly trusted ended up being as cheaply made as your second-grade friendship bracelet.

The store employees who would have made you feel better about shelling out some serious cash are long gone. There’s not even a nearby Starbucks to revive you from the exhaustive process of ripping open the FedEx box.

In this case, your shopping experience may have been grand, but receiving your purchases alone on your wet doorstep is kind of a letdown. Frankly though, you should have known better – your Thanksgiving turkey is always better on Thursday’s dinner table than when it's cold and dry in Monday’s refrigerator.

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