Picture this: my husband decides to embark on a bargain hunting adventure a couple of years ago. He spots these fitness watches online, priced at a mere €50 each. Bargain, right? Without a second thought, he clicks that “Add to Cart” button and eagerly awaits their arrival.
Fast forward 10 weeks later, the long-awaited package finally lands on our doorstep. Excitement turns into confusion when we discover that these watches are about as useful as a chocolate teapot! No way to charge them, no instructions in sight and, to top it off, we couldn’t even figure out which website he bought them from in the first place.
Needless to say, I made an executive decision this weekend – after two years, the watches had to go. Straight into the bin and, sadly, destined to become landfill.
Now, let’s talk about the trials and tribulations of bargain hunting. It’s a jungle out there. We’re bombarded with offers of discounted goods, miracle products, and cures for all of life’s woes. And with prices going up faster than we can keep up with, how on earth do we find the products we actually want? The ones that give us the best bang for our hard-earned buck?
Here are a few tips to navigate this treacherous terrain:
Don’t let those discounts impress you. Take a moment to pause and wonder when something seems too good to be true, especially online – maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Discounts can be tempting, but they often come with a catch. You might end up with a slightly outdated product that’s only slightly useful or something of inferior quality that someone found hard to shift to start off with. Be sure to know exactly what you’re getting a discount on.
Be an informed buyer. Get your detective hat on and do some research. Make a list of what really matters to you when making a purchase. Is it the product itself, its size, colour, quality, or how durable it is? If it’s textiles, don’t forget to consider the washing instructions too, unless you want your new favourite shirt to shrink to doll-sized proportions. Once you have your priorities straight, reach out to the store for some good old-fashioned service and information. Give them a call, send a WhatsApp, or an email. Most reputable stores nowadays offer multiple ways to get in touch. Alternatively, go to your favourite search engine and start narrowing down your options. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.
You can search for a specific brand, model number and/or ‘price compare’. But be prepared for the fact that the price variation on different sites can be quite dramatic.
Narrowing down your selections: May the best product win! Remember, research is key, or you might end up with a company that has customer service as responsive as a snail. Do read the details of the description or you will find your product costs less because it is less, it may be smaller than you think or if it’s tech – it may have no Bluetooth. Now check delivery details and costs. These are all standard tips that become second nature when buying online.
It can also be worthwhile searching for discount coupon codes: you can save a few euros off your purchase.
It’s decision time: You’ve gathered all the information, consulted the reviews, searched for coupon codes … Now you need to find out where those goods are coming from, my savvy shoppers. Trust your instincts but make sure you are buying from a country (within Europe and one that can speak your language so, in the event of a problem, you can speak to someone). Don’t forget that customs charges apply outside of Europe (Euro Zone) and, therefore, you may have to jump through a few hoops when it arrives at customs in Portugal and pay a tariff too, which can be the entire value of the item purchased.
Now, let’s talk about feedback … Let’s talk about reviews and scores. They can be helpful but don’t just settle for the top-scoring ones. Scroll down and dig a little deeper. Sometimes the real gems are hidden in the lower reviews. You might stumble upon gems like, “It took 16 weeks to arrive,” or “It was two sizes too small, and now I’m stuck in this fashion disaster,” or even “I’m still waiting for my money back, and I’ve aged three years in the process.” These not-so-glowing reviews might not dissuade you completely, but they can give you valuable insights. Maybe it’ll help you choose the right size or figure out if the products are being shipped from the moon.
And there you have it! your journey to finding the perfect product is fulfilled. Happy shopping, and may your bargain hunting be successful.
By Karen Love
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