Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Out of Stock

How many times did you have to browse through online shopping sites, choose something just to find out that the item you want is out of stock?

I am sure you have experienced this as much as I have. The first few instances I told myself, “wow, I´ve got really good taste, all the stocks that I want have been sold out”. After a while, I felt like I was bullied. I know I´ve got great taste, now give me my item!

Everyday, hundreds of online shopping sites are born. They offer us the moon and the stars for sometimes, ridiculously low prices--- Something that we can’t say No to. As we check our daily emails, we can find at least 5 new online stores wanting us to sign up with them and get the crème de la crème of the retail world in a just one click. But whether the stocks are available or they deliver on time is another problem. As the demand grows it gets difficult for brands to double their supply. Where lies the problem? Do we need another China to mass produce products so we can cater to everyone? No, thank you very much.

Two months ago for example, I badly wanted to buy a watch online and low and behold, the item was unavailable. I contacted their customer service to ask when they can have it back and they said it would be two months after. Two months after? The desire would´ve been gone at that time and financial priorities would have changed.

Now, we are talking about an international shopping site here. If we talk about Spain, it would be a near death experience. A friend of mine wanted to buy a 32 inch HD TV of a specific brand. We scoured different stores that usually stock them, in vain. No one knew when the stocks will be available again. None of them knew, not even the main supplier in Madrid. Only God knows, as we say. And to be honest, don’t even bother to contact Spanish customer service especially telecom companies---they just don’t have any idea what customer service is, period. (And I stand strongly on this matter. How long do I have to wait to get a telephone line in my new apartment? Answer: Since September and still counting. They don’t even apologize for the inconvenience!).

A certain Spanish online store where I signed up releases new merchandise every Monday at 7am. Of course, I would check it say around 7:30 and I am always as sure as hell, my size was not available any more or the items that I want were all sold out. Now if it’s Jimmy Choo for H&M, I could understand the panic buying extravaganza that will happen but no, this is not Jimmy Choo and definitely not H&M.

All of us hate queuing in a crowded store with screaming kids at the background and mothers with their pushcarts ready to elbow, kick and beat anyone who stands on their way. Thanks to virtual stores, we now can shop in the comfort of our bedroom in our pajamas and literally shop till we drop and doze to sleep. However, if every time you fell in love with a pair of crystal encrusted stilettos all you get back is an “out of stock” message, I would rather be with the sea of people, pull hair and teeth until I get what I want rather than settle to something I don’t want for half the price.



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