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Shopping online is a great “caregiver tool.” It is definitely one of my favorite ways to save money and time. BUT not always. If you have to return an item, it can cost you all the time you saved and end up being more expensive as well. It definitely pays to read the small print, even when you are rushing.
Recently I needed to buy some new tennis shoes. Because of the arthritis in my feet I practically live in my tennis shoes. I’ve found, for my feet, they are the only really comfortable shoes for my day to day caregiving. When I first started having feet issues, I spent over a year of experimenting before I finally settled on a Nike tennis shoe that was comfortable enough for my feet and my knees and wide enough not to hurt my toes. No narrow shoes for me!
For years I would just pop into my favorite running store and grab the exact same shoe in the exact same size. Sometimes Nike would tweak the style a bit and the number would change but never the name. When we made a coast to coast move, I found a store that carried my shoe but it was never in the right size for me. I ended up checking the online shoe stores, found a pair a half size smaller than my norm at half the price and gave it a try. Too small. My mom was thrilled, though, since I passed the pair on to her.
When I tried the local store again, I discovered Nike had made a more dramatic change to my shoe model and both the number AND the name of the shoe had changed. Afraid to experiment since these shoes are rather expensive, I tried a different brand of shoe the salesperson recommended. It worked so-so for a while but didn’t hold up as well as my Nikes.
I decided to try online shoe stores again. This time I ordered two pairs from two different shoe stores. One was a discount tennis shoe store and I got my pair for $20 off. The other online shoe store was Zappos, which I had successfully used before. Both companies sent me brand new versions of my shoe.
Zappos’ shoe was the newest model from Nike, while the discount store was an older model, which was fine with me. However that particular pair of shoes tweaked my right toe just a bit. I considered returning it for a refund until I read the small print I hadn’t had time to read when I made the order. If I exchanged the shoe it would be free, but to simply return it would cost me almost $10! The Zappos’ shoe fit fine and even arrived several days earlier than the discount store’s shoe, even though I ordered both on the same day! Not only that, if I had wanted to return Zappos’ pair, there would have been no charge!
Both online shoe stores provided good service and good quality merchandise, but if there was a contest, Zappos would have won hands down. Speedier service and better return policies are two of the reasons why they have earned such a great reputation online and on Twitter!
I’ve decided to keep both shoes and use a shoe stretcher on the tighter pair. It was such a minor thing, that will probably work. And in the future, since caregiving keeps me so busy, I’ll probably stick with Zappos. I would definitely recommend them, along with the advice to ALWAYS read the small print, even if you’re extra busy playing tag with those cute grandkids. 😉