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Is Online Shopping Worth It Right Now?

As we brace ourselves for several more weeks of isolation, many of us have looked to the internet to fill the social void. Whether it be communicating with friends, to playing games to pass the time or mindlessly scrolling through social media, we’ve all used the internet as a way to cope with quarantine. And while this online alternative has its perks, many of our wallets would have to say otherwise. With nonessential businesses closed, and our economy hanging by a thread, retailers have been desperate to persuade consumers to buy their products. Day after day, new sales pop up, enticing us with free shipping and promotional deals. But is it worth it? Some might say yes, but look deeper and you’ll see that retail therapy may not be the best choice. Here’s why.

As previously mentioned, our economy is in rough shape. Amid COVID-19, it’s estimated that our unemployment rate is around 13% nationwide, almost three times that of last month. For many families, money is tight at the moment. It may not be wise to buy that new pair of shoes right now, especially when it’s uncertain as to when we’ll be able to wear them out. On top of that, expenses like water and electricity are to the roof, as staying home has increased our daily use of such utilities. Financially, it is just not practical. However, businesses that are struggling to stay afloat have gone to great measures to exploit the current pandemic. Fashion Nova, a popular Instagram clothing brand, sent a widespread message to their subscribers, urging them to spend their stimulus checks on the latest styles. Although it’s understandable that they are trying to stay afloat, encouraging customers to spend the little money they have coming in on their mediocre designs lacks class.

If you are in good financial standing, this may not be a problem for you. With such good deals flying around the internet, you may see shopping now as a smart investment. However, that is exactly what they want you to think. Their best deals have yet to even be offered. The longer quarantine goes on, the lower their prices will get. Not only that, there is an entire aspect being ignored: how will prices look once retailers reopen their stores? It’s estimated that we will be staying at home at least until June or July. If this does occur, that gives shops only a month or so to get rid of their spring and summer collections before fall fashion arrives. It may be smarter to save up for such sales, especially because many of us could start working again at that time. We will also be getting even better deals than advertised now in the midst of the crisis.

Now of course spending is good for the economy right now, and this is not to say you should not spend it if you can. There are many small businesses in dire need, and for those of us who can afford to help, by all means, should if they are compelled to. However, it is important to be mindful when shopping, whether in quarantine or not. One should be smart with their money, and buy things for other reasons besides boredom or how cheap it is. We should genuinely want the product, and make sure it will be put to good use once it’s ours. On top of that, we should also prioritize more essential purchases, such as food and hygiene products. Once important expenses are covered, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself during such a tough time, as long as we will continue to appreciate it and those who delivered it to us. So the next time you get a package on your doorstep, remember to be thankful to those who are still working to make sure your package arrives on time, and be grateful that you can afford to purchase nonnecessities during these challenging times. For those who can’t right now, be on the lookout this summer for what should be incredible deals!

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