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What would you NOT buy online?

By Chris Dawson April 10, 2012 - 11:25 am

I’ve been looking at new beds and mattresses and decided that whilst I’d happily buy a new bed on eBay, Amazon, John Lewis, Dreams or any number of other websites there’s just no way I’m going to buy a new mattress online.

A mattress is something that you can’t tell how comfy it will be without trying it out. Yesterday I popped down to my local Dreams store to look at mattresses and whilst I didn’t buy one on the day I probably will later today by phone. However having found a very comfortable mattress for under £400 I tested out some others. One that was double the price was absolutely awful and for some reason did it’s best to roll me off the side of the bed. If I’d purchased that mattress online I’d have been very disappointed although someone must like it or they’d never sell any.

This got me thinking though, what items is it impossible to buy from a picture and a description? There aren’t many things I wouldn’t buy online and in the past I’ve bought everything from books, DVDs, clothes, a garden shed and even a couple of cars all sight unseen. A mattress though I want to try before I buy and I certainly don’t want the trouble of sending it back if it’s not comfortable to me. The only circumstances I would buy a mattress online would be if I’d already seen it in a shop previously.

What wouldn’t you be happy to buy online without having physically seen? What items just can’t be described in words or illustrated in pictures well enough for you to part with your cash sight unseen?

  • st georges dragon
    10 years ago

    A Cornish PASTIE!

    • whirly
      10 years ago

      Wise.

      Can’t really think of anything I wouldn’t buy, but I can think of lots of things I wouldn’t buy on eBay.

  • 10 years ago

    Love…

    • 10 years ago

      You might not be able to buy love online, but James Blunt sold his sister online and she married the winning bidder 🙂

    • 10 years ago

      If only I had known you could marry a guy with a helicopter if you sold yourself on eBay….

    • 10 years ago

      Want me to list you as a damsel in distress? 😛

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      If you are really in distress and totally desperate – well there is always me in deepest darkest Cornwall. 60 odd years old with some bits still in working order. Been divorced for years. But my guess is that you will be looking for somebody much younger and fitter.

  • Stuart
    10 years ago

    I actually would never buy food online, never have and never will!

    To be honest my online spend has really dropped this year, just been buying more stuff in shops. In fact it has dropped so much with Amazon I cancelled my prime membership (well that and the last two deliveries that I did need next day took three days to arrive)

  • paddy
    10 years ago

    I don’t think i’d ever buy my clothes online. Being a larger shape means I prefer to try on in store before buying.

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      I am also a larger size. 52inch chest, etc. My problem is that I can very rarely find anything in my size in Shops – How do you manage?

      Even online I have problems. I find a promising looking site and it asks me what size I am looking for. I type in XXXL or whatever and I am given a choice of 1 item and it is usally totally horrible. Again How do you manage?

      In the past I have often found by accident items in my size and then I have usually bought a few because I know that the next time I find anything in my size could be weeks or months away.

      Even simple things. I have size 13 feet(when I left School in 1968 my feet were size 11, then over the years they have continued to grow(my feet and my stomach) until now they are size 13 but from the feelings in my feet I think that it will not be long before I have to go up to size 14. I never fail to be amazed how many shoe ranges only go up to Size 12. Again if you are a more generous size and shape Do you have the same problem. Indeed is there anybody else out there with a similar problem?

    • paddy
      10 years ago

      How do I manage, with due respect I’m not as big as you Chris! I usually buy XL or XXL clothing and find that most shops have my size. The only problem I ever seem to have is jeans but even then I can usually get a pair after going to a couple of shops.

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Yes my 52 inch chest is far too large for most shops(and online retailers) to cope with. But it is not only my chest. I am also 6 foot 4 inches. Why do retailers always seem to think that if you have a big chest measurement you are also 4foot tall?

      As far as jeans are concerned I used to be 48inch waist and 33 inch legs. I have lost a bit of weight and my waist is now 42inch. But again its the combination of waist and long legs. Retailers always seem to think that if you have a large waist you have short legs.

      My late father was a Doctor of Analytical Chemistry. Years ago when I was growing up(remember I was 6 foot tall when I was 11 years old) he got hold of some scientific formulae which basically showed that at certain ages you were so many percentage points of your final height. He calculated that I would end up being 6foot 8. I failed but imagine me trying to get clothes if I had also had a 52inch chest and 42inch waist and probably 35inch legs.

      And you think that you have problems. Years ago I turned round to see my van rolling down the hill(a J4 reg VXD805G) the hand brake had failed. It was not rolling very quickly but I stood in front of it and it stopped when it rolled into me(I was 23 stone at the time). I remember getting some very peculiar looks from bystanders.

  • 10 years ago

    Fluorescent tubes! Been there done that.

  • Terry
    10 years ago

    Anything from ebay, Anyway you cant download the lastest chart albums from ebay.

    Oh and food, I like to wander around sainsburys like a lost sheep lol

  • JohnC
    10 years ago

    Well, surely if it’s a branded mattress, you pop down to the retailer, try the mattress out there, then buy it on-line cheaper from somebody else.

    Isn’t that why they’re all going bust?

    • 10 years ago

      Trouble is, it’s like buying many electrical white goods. The shops are getting wise to the competition and have own branded or minor variations to models simply so that you can’t compare and buy elsewhere.

      I and two of my friends have dishwashers identical in every way bar the brand. It also allows shops to have the old “If you can find it cheaper in any other store…” price promises – they know you can’t because the model is exclusive to them!

  • Toby
    10 years ago

    In Canada, struggling Best Buy recently quietly added a new category to its website – mattresses. Sold online only, I suppose the margins are pretty attractive compared to the latest ipad etc.

  • Matt
    10 years ago

    Im currently doing my dissertation for uni and it looks at people buying holidays on ebay. The majority have said they would be interested depending on prices/extra quality but what do you guys think? Also would i be able to publish my questionnaire link on here?

    • 10 years ago

      Hi Matt

      You won’t find many people selling holidays on eBay due to the legal restrictions
      http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/policies/air-tickets.html

      Personally I think most people going on holiday would have difficulty buying off an eBay listing due to the way holidays are normally sold – i.e. choosing dates, destinations, accomodation plus extras such as insurance, in flight meals, baggage charges etc.

      However feel free to post your link as a comment

    • Matt
      10 years ago

      Thanks Chris,

      Although you make a very valid point regarding the compexity of everything involved with booking holidays, companies such as Thomson and Continental Airlines have tried (and since withdrawn) selling on ebay so I wanted to find out if it could happen again with a major company. Also your blog (2010) about the deal with Octopus Travel has got a mention in my dissertation which I hope is ok with you.

      Heres the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XJPZG89

      If a few people could fill it out that would be great.

    • 10 years ago

      Octopus travel have a feedback score of 14

      nuff said 😉

  • 10 years ago

    Booked 4 different villas on eBay in the last few years. Every purchase has been gold. No complaints.

    Flights booked separately, never tried a package deal though.

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