Shopping at

by admin on 10/07/2007

Yesterday I lost my favourite earmuffs. Yes, I still had one of these old fashioned keep-my-ears-warm things with two round cosy fluffy ovals that cover your ears and are connected by a plastic strip. They are not meant to look good, their only reason to exist is keeping freezing ears nice and warm. I lost them at the bus stop, apparently IN the bus, but the girl who found them just asked the woman in front of her if they were hers and when she denied the bitch threw them out of the bus door again instead of handing them over to the bus driver. When I returned to the bus stop later on they were long gone. Today I spent two hours looking for new ones in all kinds of shops, but wasn’t particularly successful. There is no such thing as earmuffs available in New Zealand, at least not in Wellington. So I decided to get some new earmuffs online, and that’s where the odyssey begins:
Apparently you can’t get the original 80s-style earmuffs anymore, and honestly, I really wonder why, because they do an awesome job keeping someone’s ears warm in winter. The only product that I could find (except from heart shaped ones or little teddy bears!) was a medical ear protection for elderly people. No, that wasn’t what I was after. But I found something that I once read about in a German magazine before: Ear Bags. A swedish product, almost the same concept as my old ones, but without that plastic strap – you just pull the ear bags over your ears and they stay there without support and keep the cold wind away. I’m not sure if that will have the same effect as the old ones, but they are not very expensive, so I thought I’ll just give it a try. I checked a couple of online shops but couldn’t find one that delivers to New Zealand. Finally I ended up on the manufacturer’s homepage and was happy to see that they have an online shop, too, and they deliver worldwide. I strolled around a bit and decided to get a pair of ear bags they call “advanture” which have a security string you can clip to your clothing so they can’t get lost (seems to be the right product for me!). The shop itself is ok on the first sight: you always know where you are, the products are pictured, payment methods are visible on each page, information on shipping and delivery as well as all other terms and conditions are easy to find and you can chose from six different languages for your navigation. The only thing that annoyed me was the fact that you can’t get a close look at the different colours that are available for their standard product, but that’s just a small nuisance compared with what was waiting for me. The next step irritated me so much that I almost gave up on buying something. It was just a little oversight on my part and they probably never ever thought about having a careless user like myself, but it almost ended in me not buying anything. If it wasn’t so cold and uncomfortable in Wellington today, I swear I would have given up! What had happened?

I checked my shopping cart and there I had the chance to either log in as a registered customer, or to give them my name and billing address. I didn’t have the choice to “create an account” with them at that stage. So I gave them my contact details and an email address I usually use for online orders and newsletters and stuff like that. They sent me a friendly activation email: “click here to activate your account”. At the bottom of that email they gave me a user name and a password, but I didn’t read the complete email. I wanted to get the order finished quickly, my normal experience is that there are hardly ever any additional information in an activation email so I didn’t read a single word of that email but just clicked the button to activate my account. Back on their website I wanted to go on with my order but they wouldn’t let me unless I’m logged on with a proper user name and password. As I thought I didn’t have one, I tried to create one. But the system realised that I already gave it my contact details and told me that my email address is already in use – if I couldn’t remember my password I should press the “Lost Password” button. But to request a new password you must know your user name and as I was still convinced not to have one, I became slightly annoyed. It would have been a very easy thing to avoid this situation: they could have mentioned that the user name and password had been sent out with the activation email and everything would have been good. But they didn’t and so my only option to finalise my order was to create another account with a different email address. That finally worked and I hope to receive my ear bags soon. But I will always have the strange feeling that the shopping experience wasn’t a good one.

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