Attention Shoppers! Now’s the Time to Buy Stuff on the Net
My friend Jake is a study in contradictions. He’s afraid to fly, even though it’s proven to be the safest form of transportation. So instead he drives more often (which is proven to be the least-safest form of transportation). He’s afraid to eat a hot dog from the street vendor. Yet he has no problem eating the bacterially laden BBQ hamburgers that I serve up to him every July 4th from my outdoor grill (last cleaned Buy viagra UK when Kirstie Alley was thin. Yes, that long ago). He hates war and violence, yet loves football. He’s a fierce competitor and has a winning attitude, yet for some reason he’s a Mets fan. See what I mean?
Jake doesn’t like to buy things online for the small law firm he owns either. He fears that his credit-card information will be stolen and used for nefarious purposes. Of course, he has no problem handing over his card to waiters, shopkeepers and gas station attendants. Gee, I guess they can’t steal his credit card info either, right? Again, see what I mean? Contradictions.
Most penny pinchers I know aren’t like Jake. They’ve embraced online purchasing. Because there’s lots of stuff a business owner can buy online: office supplies, cleaning materials, computers, software, furniture, food, hard liquor, production materials. Buying stuff online not only saves a business owner money, but it also saves time. As long as it’s done the right way. And from the right places.
If Jake would stop being so overly cautious, I’d direct him to a few of my favorite online sites. For example, there’s Froogle.com (brought to you by the Google guys, who I’m pretty sure get a royalty whenever anyone types a word online with two O’s next to each other). On Froogle you can search for a product by model number, description or keyword and find out where it’s sold anywhere on the Internet. And here’s the thing – you can then sort the list by price and buy it where it’s sold the cheapest.
There are other sites that do what Froogle does, and even more so. For example, at Become.com you can also locate where stuff is sold online at the lowest cost. But on this site you can compare prices and also get product reviews and recommendations from other users. So before you buy that fur sink for the employee washroom you can check out how reliable it is.
On Bing.com/cashback, Microsoft’s search engine, you can also find cheap stuff to buy online just like Froogle. But when you sign up for this service you also create a cashback account. So buying from those vendors that participate (there’s a little cashback symbol next to the vendor when you search) you then get a percentage of the purchase credited back to your account. And after 60 days you can take the money and run.
Then there are the places you can go to buy other people’s stuff – like Craigslist.com and eBay.com. A couple of months ago I bought a used laptop from a guy on Craigslist and we met in the parking lot of a strip mall in South Philadelphia. Without exchanging a word I tossed him the cash and he tossed me the laptop. I then went back to the office, plugged it in, and it exploded. Just kidding. It worked fine. Once I erased all the porn on the hard drive, that is.
Froogle and eBay are great places to get bargains, but remember you’re on your own. Besides being full of contradictions, Jake’s also a bit of a coward. For example, he’s afraid to watch Joan Rivers on TV when she’s not wearing makeup. So I’m not so sure he’s got the courage to try these places. But for some penny pinchers these two sites are indispensable for buying stuff for their businesses.
Is Jake right about having his credit-card information stolen? Frankly, he is. Like anywhere else there’s a risk. But most penny pinchers I know who do online buying take some common sense precautions.