Online shopping is wonderful. You don’t have to leave your house to buy stuff, which cuts down on exercise (which you know I hate) and running into people you went to high school with at Target (see: how I feel about exercise).
That being said, fuck online shopping. Have you ever ordered, say, a single envelope, and received a box the size of Afghanistan with a box the size of small child inside, only to find the thing you ordered is a novelty miniature version of what you thought you were ordering, hidden inside the 35th Russian-nesting-box? I certainly have. And as a lady whose landlord doesn’t pay for recycling to get picked up, I have become keenly aware of just how much waste online shopping produces…because it’s all sitting in my kitchen in a dangerous but semi-artistic tower.
I don’t even need to mention how far that stuff has to travel to you, wasting gas and womanpower along the way. So, here is a list of tips to help you save some world without spending way more money than usual and still getting everything you want.
- Use ya damn legs. If you’re buying something online that you know is available at a nearby brick-and-mortar store, you have no excuse. Ideally, walk there. Free steps, zero carbon footprint (unless you step in something gross along the way, then there will be lots of carbon footprints in your house later) and plenty of time to contemplate your futile existence. Or get cat-called, in which case drive, but try to stop at this store on your way to something else, so you’re not wasting tooo much gas.
- Buy used to save money. Sometimes the stuff you can buy on Amazon from Chinese wholesalers that will take three weeks and 1000 metric tons of carbon to ship to you is simply the best price you’re going to get. But there is a hell of a lot of stuff you can buy secondhand at disgustingly low prices. Thrift stores usually have very high quality wooden furniture for less than you’d spend on a crappy IKEA dresser that you will build improperly making it unsteady and ready to fall apart at the end of your six-month lease. If the used stuff is hideous, upcycle it. Those trees died for a reason. And that reason is to store all of your underwear and condoms.
- Plan ahead for gifts. I am the queen of gift-giving. Most everything you get from me is thoughtful, personal, and funny (or just a dildo, which depending on your personality is either all or none of the above). Sometimes that means that the only place that sells the thing I need to buy as a birthday present is located in Australia. In those cases, I’ll either bite the bullet and shop online, or I will plan ahead and do major research about where I can get something similar in person. If that doesn’t work, I’ll think of something else that can be bought in person, but it can take weeks to brainstorm something convenient and thoughtful enough. So just set a calendar reminder for three weeks before all of your friends’ birthdays and start early. Make phone calls to stores to be sure that they have whatever you’re looking for in stock before you go. If your present is lame and poorly thought out, at least write a funny card explaining why you chose it and include some inside jokes. It’s the thought that counts, really.
- If you must, choose Amazon Smile. It’s perfect for those of us who are lazy and can’t afford to donate to charity, but also conscientious and anxiety-ridden (just me? really? shit.). If you’re not aware, Amazon Smile donates 0.5% of the purchase price to a charity of your choice. This very sweet plugin for Chrome automatically redirects you to smile.amazon.com every time you visit the site. I’m not one to judge, because I know life frequently gets in the way of doing stuff the way you’re most proud of, so it’s all about compromise. Buying that phone charger from China that will ruin all of your devices eventually? At least a very tiny bit of that money you spend will go to St. Jude’s. Sleep easy at night, guys. And if not, Zoloft.