I know its been said lots before by others, but wow, do I ever miss decent online shopping.
Its kidlets birthday soon, so planning a party (at home, activities, scavenger hunt and so on) and a few other things. Buying items on my list in preparation has proved somewhat tough going in person. But I am slowly getting there. However, its taken a good couple of weeks so far of searching stores, calling places, checking they carry certain items or have them in stock and more. In all honesty, paying money for a party elsewhere at some popular venue where they provide the entertainment, the party bags etc would have been far less in terms of hours of my time but cost more money, well, at this rate given the hours I've put in the rate may well work out the same . Its great to do a home based party though so not deterred, just jaded.
My bug bears, in no particular order
* Lack of decent online shipping timeframes and shipping costs being rather pricey. I order something from out of state, I don't want to wait 10 days plus for it to arrive at normal shipping costs. 4-5 business days yes, 2 weeks, no, sorry you've lost my business.
* Lack of a one stop shop website/company such as Amazon. I know Amazon has its faults, it does the little guy out of business and all that some say but given I buy from various sellers who sell on Amazon, I am supporting small businesses. Not all my goods would have been direct from Amazon itself but it helps when ordering from them direct with shipping costs, however, other sellers usually offer decent shipping rates and quick delivery. I pay one day, goods are on the way the next, arrive a day or two after that.
Here, I have to go through a dozen different websites and companies to find the items I am after and then again, factor in shipping costs and the slow delivery time, even within SA from each company/site and its a dud from my end tbh.
* Having to drive miles to get to the store that sells a range of whatever it is I am after. Not lucky enough that what I want can be delivered in a few days, its a case of jumping in the car and driving an hour and a half round trip to the store I tracked down that does stock and has in stock what I am after. And oh wait, whats that? Crap, the other item I need is at another store 40 minutes the other direction and they won't have it in stock till the end of the week.
* Malls - Great I find when window shopping, browsing for a present or two or a new TV say, but hideous when you have a list of items and you trawl KMart, Target, Big W and more to try to find them and lo, between all those big stores, you can only find about half the items. Resorting to making the others (yay, more online ordering for the stuff needed to make said things) and then finding the time to get up to the shed to make the blooming things.
* $8 to ship a $5 item the size of a thimble, actually, smaller and lighter than a thimble and it still takes 10 days? I instead spent an hour trawling websites and found what I was looking for in the third shop I looked in on the list.
* My local libary being fab with printing and laminating resources. I don't mind I have to pay a few more $$ for them to laminate (public not allowed to do this) as it means I get the bookmarks I need/want for the party theme to go in the kids party bags. Also the posters for the party and other things. Such lovely helpful people and doing a great job.
* The local candy store getting the chocs I needed in stock within 24 hours and having a great range to choose from once they got them in.
* The local geek gift store, not having what I wanted in stock when I went in in person, rush ordering the item and having it in within 2 days.
* Bunnings ftw! A mini workbench and jigsaw bought to make the items needed for the party (used a gift card toward it plus we needed the workbench anyways). Hubby spending his evenings busy making. Its time and effort but so glad we can make what we need as buying it wasn't an option from anywhere, here or online unless we spent a small fortune.
* Cheap as Chips - Yay, all the decorations I need in all the weirdest colours.
* Pinterest - I'm not a member but I found some amazing ideas for the party theme and can make a load of them at home with scrap boxes and stuff. Piñata will be homemade also.
The frustrating thing for me is that pretty much all the items I wanted/needed for the party I could find on Amazon UK and ordered many of them with free shipping or cheap shipping to arrive within 4-5 days. An hour of my time compared to, totting it up in hours, based on an 8 hour day, probably spent about 2 days on tracking it all down and shopping for it so far. And still not quite done. Thankful I only work part time and can do research in the evenings and when I am out on the run.
Anyways, it'll all be worth it come the actual birthday and party but wow has this been the hardest one to plan and shop for. Next year, its cinema and pizza for a handful of mates as not keen to do this sort of thing again.