Friday, March 7, 2014

The limits of online shopping

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I never realized that online shopping has its limits. I guess because usually when I buy stuff online, I have already decided or know exactly what I'm looking for and I buy that particular item online because it will get me a better price. Well, as a first time mommy trying to buy baby stuff online that I have never really taken the time to check out in a store, uh, it's harder than I thought. Why am I online shopping? Well, I live in China and many of the products that I think I want either aren't in China or are two to three times the price of the States. So, with friends coming to visit next month, I've been trying to buy stuff online to have brought over that we know we will need when the baby comes. In between moments of shopping bliss and complete frustration, I have realized that online shopping has its limits. 

Take for example online reviews. You can only rely on them so much! And then, which ones do you believe? The five star account telling you that it is the best product ever? Or the one star review saying that it broke within the first week of use? Being able to see the product in person would help to confirm a good or bad review. Especially for someone like me who doesn't like to do a lot of research. Reading review after review is tiring and overwhelming, not my favorite. 

Maternity clothes is another thing that is hard to buy online, especially when you've never gone shopping in person for them! Fortunately, I had a few friends here who had some maternity clothes that I could try on and see what sizes from which brands did or did not work for me. But, seriously, buying maternity clothes online when you don't know your size - not ideal. 

Some things you just need to see in person, like a diaper bag. At least for me, being able to touch and play around with and put things in a bag in person is way more helpful than reading a bazillion online reviews and looking at pictures and videos. And yes, they have helpful videos for diaper bags. But honestly, I just want to pick it out in person! 

Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful for online shopping. I just also wish that it had a feature where I could step through my computer screen and try out the product. Although, even if that  feature was available, it probably wouldn't be recommended for pregnant women. :-)


  1. i totally get it! one of the benefits of shopping online in the states is that you can at least return items you don't like. i imagine that's not very possible from china! or, not very cost effectively anyway. if there are any products you want to run by us "old" moms, let me know! i totally relied on my experienced mommy friends when i was shopping for baby gear. excited to see you soon!

    1. Thanks, Yolanda! The most overwhelming items to pick out online were a pack-n-play and a breast pump, but I got it figured out now. (I don't think you all want to bring back a pack-n-play to return it!) I just had to walk away from the computer a few times! And I think I'm going to try a Chinese brand breast pump.

  2. I know I only have 1 baby but if you need any must have ideas let me know. My favorite newborn item was a bobby pillow or some kind of nursing pillow. Helps out a lot!!

    1. Thanks, Carla! I've been mostly relying on my mom friends here since raising a baby in China can be a bit different in terms of what you use. I also snooped at baby registries online to get ideas. :-) My friend is letting me borrow her boppy pillow so I got a new cover - I agree, those pillows look so helpful!