COVID consumerism – online shopping during a pandemic

During the early months of the pandemic, I often found myself walking around intentionally spending money to support local businesses. On those occasions, I always used cash and bought things I enjoyed, regardless of whether or not I needed them. Think takeout dinners, bottles of wine and cocktails to go.

There came a point in time, though, when I needed some practical new things in my life. My rain boots had begun to leak and my bikini exclusive bathing suit wardrobe needed to be diversified. Contact lenses, which I was wearing more frequently, demanded non prescription sunglasses for my somewhat light sensitive eyes. It was definitely time for some retail therapy.

It’s been many years since the days when I recreationally shopped at the mall in an attempt to escape my children be alone. These days, I prefer to rent my clothes and make many of my purchases online from my now quiet home. The pandemic lockdown on retail businesses made shopping from home necessary, a situation which I used to my advantage to maximize my savings with an app that I highly recommend, Rakuten.

Are you familiar with Rakuten? Previously called Ebates, Rakuten is a company that offers rebates, sometimes as high as 15% of your purchase price, to subscribers for simply using their site as a gateway to the retailer’s website. I’ve conditioned myself to always check their site for offers prior to hitting “Purchase” when shopping on websites such as Macy’s, Gap, Banana Republic, TravelZoo and Expedia. It’s easy and it really adds up. Since I began using the site a few years ago I’ve received checks totaling more than $700 for just beginning my binge shopping from their website.  I strongly encourage you to check it out.

Ever the optimist, in late March I splurged on a pair of RayBan aviators, picturing myself wearing them in July on a Greek beach. I imagine they’ll still be up to the task in July of 2021. Sigh. My consolation came from American Express and their “Offers” program which rewards cardholders for purchases made to select retailers, including at times Ray Ban. By combining an Amex offer and Rakuten, I took 20% off the original purchase price. Doesn’t the future look brighter now?

Despite my longing for sunshine, into each life some rain must fall and I was prepared for a deluge with my new Hunter green rain boots. I’ve always cheaped out on rain boots in the past, purchasing them from Target or TK Maxx, instead of buying better quality and longer lasting gear. No more, though! I love my new boots and find myself wishing for rainy days and puddles to stomp in. Thanks to a generous coupon (25%) and Rakuten’s 15% rebate I got a great deal on mine, which makes me even happier.

As for the bathing suits …I have to admit to falling victim to the vixen that is social media. For whatever reason, maybe I said the words “bathing suit“  out loud while my phone or iPad were nearby, my feeds were filled with advertisements for precisely those items. What can I say? Sometimes I’m susceptible to marketing and suggestion.

Bathing suit shopping is one of those occasions that can really stress people out. The dressing room lighting is usual awful, the mirrors are suspect,* and we generally do this sort of shopping pre-swim season, aka early spring, which guarantees pasty white skin. Not a favorite activity for most, trust me.

The advertisements for swim suits which seemed to consistently pop up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds were from a company called Andie. Their suits were classic designs offered in beautiful rich colors which I found appealing. They were not inexpensive, however, pricing out at about $100 each. I read online reviews of the company (founded by three women) and their products (consistently positive) and took the plunge (ha!), ordering the Mykonos in a shade of green that perfectly matched Cape Cod sea grass.

Mykonos swimsuit and RayBan sunglasses!

When it arrived in the mail approximately a week later, I was impressed with the quality of the fabric and the finishing of the garment. It definitely was not poorly made. Sizing is always a crap shoot and I’ve learned over the years that bathing suits tend to skew small, which prompted me to order a medium, rather than a small. In retrospect, that was a mistake because the suit is just a little too big. Not unwearable, but I do have to pay attention to ensure appropriate coverage and plan to add a well placed snap to give me more security, shall we say. I added a second style from Andie to my pool rotation, size small, long torso, in a beautiful shade of blue with which I’m also really pleased. I’m officially ready to pack for Wellfleet Week, 2020. The rain boots will stay at home because every day is going to be sunny.

*I swear that sometimes I think dressing room mirrors are sourced from fun houses causing reflections which don’t necessarily represent reality.

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