online adventures of a shopaholic

As I missed yet another package and I feel like strangling the UPS girl on the other side of the phone line, I thought I should write a little review about the on-line shops I had a pleasure (or none) of dealing with.

Need supply:
Unless I’ll discover an amazing treasure, I’m afraid I won’t be shopping there again. There’s nothing wrong with the site, but unfortunately they use US Postal Service, which is initially not too expensive, but the custom fees are the absolute horror. Here in Belgium (and back in the days) I paid 21% of total cost, plus I waited for 8 weeks for my package to be delivered! The reason behind this is the process at the Belgian custom, since the transportation from the US only took one week.
Now the product tax has been lowered to 12%, but still the time you have to wait is inappropriate.

It’s incredibly straightforward, and the Royal Mail Service can be trusted! The payment is made easy with PayPal and therefore more secure than just typing your credit card number. They also have a tracking number for all orders, so even if it’s a regular snail mail, you can follow your package. No approximate delivery date though, but if you are not at home, the local postman will leave a pick-up notice for your local post office, which in my case is just around the corner, and picking up a package after work has already become a habit. So ASOS is a pleasure to deal with, I just wish their product would be a bit more intriguing.

Get ready for a packaging horror story. I believe I already shared that one before, but here it comes again. I guess there shouldn’t be too much trouble with t-shirts and alike, but I ordered a bowler hat, easy checkout, PayPal, tracking number – all as it should be. A few days later arrived a flat cardboard box. Well, as oppose to a beanie, a t-shirt or a pair of socks, stiff bowler hats should never be folded! But apparently Topshop is not entirely aware of that. Good news though I got a refund, and luckily it was the Royal Mail again, so not too expensive to send back (as the continental deliveries accept returns, but you will have to pay the postage back yourself). And even the initial postage has been refunded to me. So at least this story has a happy end.

I bought some sale items only once and quite a long time ago, but there was absolutely no problem with this purchase. I remember the delivery took about two weeks, the garments were sent in a thick envelope, so they arrived safely – very creased though, but that’s ok.

Opening Ceremony:
No PayPal, UPS, and no size charts…make the shopping slightly complicated. Many online boutiques give measurements of the model and which size she’s wearing on the pictures as a rough guideline. Many brands provide you the garment measurements: chest, waist, hips...
But unfortunately at OC it is very hard to judge how the garment is sized as they provide no info whatsoever. So you either have to know the brand or do some research.
The fact that there’s no PayPal is just a little bit annoying, as I don’t like to fill in my card number every time. PayPal is like an account, so I can keep track of what I spend easily, so any store that uses PayPal gets thumbs up.
The UPS is the biggest issue though – it costs a fortune and their tracking is never up-to-date. The OC package arrived one day before it was scheduled, and it wasn’t even myself who collected it. They don’t check the ID, so it could have been my neighbour and I would never see my Chloe Sevigny shirt (saying this, the Royal mail, for instance delivers to your local post office if you are not able to prove your identity, so the pick-up is only possible when you show your passport).But more on UPS later.

No size charts either, and I never fitted a WoodWood garment before, so I’ve made an educated guess ordering a shirt. I would have actually bought many more items, but I did not want to risk ordering the wrong size and then having to return them all – no exchanges on reduced orders is no good! No postage refund either, since they are using UPS.
It only took one day to be shipped, one day in transit and here it was this morning...just when I went outside to get some stuff from a pharmacy! Great! I called the customer service (had to google for the number, as they don’t show it on their site), explained that I wasn’t there, and I’ve been given two options – collect it myself in Diegem( that’s like an industrial/office village on the outskirts of Brussels, at least an hour drive from here, and no public transport going that way) or have a delivery rescheduled for Monday. I asked to change the address (which was basically the same, I just had to give my mom’s name), and it took the operator about the quarter to fill it in, getting every number wrong, and she couldn’t even spell the street name in French, saying that she cannot change the delivery address to The Netherlands. Where the fuck did that come from?
She asked: What’s the name of the recipient?
I spelled my mom’s surname: b-r-y-s-i-n-a
She answered: Sorry, the shipment address can be only within Belgium, I can’t change it to The Netherlands.
I thought: Dumbass!
Well, after three delivery attempts they will return the package to the sender. And how am I supposed to be there to collect it as the approximate delivery date is not given and the package status says: ‘Exceptional’ ( the pop-up explanation window says that there’s something wrong with the package, but this is the most up-to-date info). The driver operates from 8am to 6pm – that’s when all the decent people are at work, unless they’ve got mumps…

Every time it’s a different seller, so just look out for clear descriptions and avoid dodgy photos. I prefer to see the object rather than an image of it from internet. But so far I had stuff delivered from UK (always pleasure), Honk Kong (the Chinese are smart, they mark the package as a gift and you don’t pay any custom fees), France and Canada(the only place where I paid the tax). If you are transparent and honest, and communicate with your buyers and sellers everything goes very smoothly. I used to have a vintage shop up there and had only happy buyers.


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