If you’re looking for quality supplements, head to your local health foods store where you can chat with professionals. Buying online carries a world of problems. You may not get what you actually think you’re getting and could do more damage to your body than you think.
Also, supplements online tend to be higher priced than those in stores. Lastly, because they’re not regulated by the FDA, supplements are best used when you’ve consulted your physician about dietary nutrients/additions to your diet. In many cases, those can come through legitimate vitamins or foods.
It should go without saying but still has to be said. Buying any illegal substances is a bad idea online--or offline, for that matter!
These sorts of things just aren't worth the risk, and if you're desperate to seek them out, you should spend some time thinking about why that is.
Exotic Fruits and Vegetables
Hear me out--many exotic fruits and vegetables are imported by legitimate means and sold in your local supermarket. If you’re seeing fruit or vegetables on sale online, ask yourself, “I wonder why these aren’t sold locally?”
The answer might be that they are on a banned import list by the US government and haven’t met the rigorous port inspections to keep our food supply safe. Pass on that exotic kiwano and shop your local markets for unique additions to your diet.
There’s a huge used instrument market out there for all the beginning band kids, but steer away from online purchases. You may end up with a damaged item that costs you more than you bargain for, and little Suzie doesn’t have the appropriate flute.
Instead, head to your local music instrument store where all the band parents sell back their gently used instruments. There, a seasoned professional can help fit your kid with the right instrument, and you’ll definitely have peace of mind.
DIYers love to paint, but online is a poor substitute for shopping in person. Not only will color swatches appear a different color online, the quality of paint and actual color may be something entirely different.
Don’t spend the rest of your life looking at dusty blue when you meant cornflower--you could have chosen it, obtained samples of each, wall tested in your home, and decided before the paint actually arrived in the mail.
While cell phones and computers are insanely expensive, skip the ‘refurbished’ sites and head to your local big box stores or even Facebook marketplace. Locally, you can test the products, ensure their working status, and you’ll likely get a discount in the process.
Your big box stores will even sell floor samples or returned items at a discount and provide a valid warranty--something you’ll likely not get online. Your peace of mind and convenience are worth a little more, especially when it comes to phones and small electronics.
Skip the designer dogs for your local shelter. Puppy mills and questionable breeders are known for overbreeding dogs and creating flawed bloodlines. Shelters are full of hopeful animals looking for a second chance.
If you must have a labradoodle, find a reputable local breeder and visit them in person. There’s no substitution for a loving, caring environment for a breeder and seeing it firsthand will help relieve your anxiety and likely produce a quality pet breed.
While online mattress shopping has become all the rage, what’s not so cool is when they don’t work out. A slew of companies have popped up in the last 5 years promising you a good night’s sleep. What they often don’t explain is how you get that warranty honored if the mattress doesn’t feel good.
Ever try to stuff sausage in a casing? Try that except with a king size, memory foam mattress into the 10’ x 10’x10’ box it came in. You’ll also have to prove that the mattress doesn’t feel good--and they’ll only exchange for another one. Head anywhere that sells mattresses locally. They’ll match that online pricing, and you’ll get the pretest first with a guarantee to pick up if it doesn’t work out.
We’ve all seen the cool car vending machine ads, and you may have even passed an "online dealership" and seen it in person. And the car is a great deal--it's under budget, full of bells and whistles, and it's being shipped free to you. So, what’s the catch?
It’s likely a salvaged title--meaning that it was previously wrecked and fixed. And without that all-important test drive, you may not realize that it pulls to the left until your transaction is complete and the auto shop tells you that it’s a warped axle. Shop locally or regionally in person for cars, and be prepared to travel up to 200 miles to find a better deal.
I know we love home sites with unique furniture, but buyer beware. Those cheap couches or cool coffee tables are likely inferior quality and terribly uncomfortable. Who wants to sit on a fabulous looking sofa if it feels like a rock?
Furniture has a notoriously high markup anyway (before you even include the outrageous shipping costs), so make sure you’re testing it just like a car before you buy. And keep an eye on garage sales and local big holidays--furniture is like everything else and has a sales season--your best deals can be found during large 3-day holidays.
It’s the one thing women HATE to try on in public changing rooms, but it’s a necessary evil. The swimsuit market is enormous online, but it comes at a cost. Sizing standards are not enforced, and what looks good on screen will likely be the wrong color, shape, and size.
If you hate store dressing rooms that much, buy locally and take home and try on over your underwear. Do not remove the tags and return/exchange as many times as you need too. With that online swimsuit, you’re never exactly sure where it’s been or what it’s made of. Your comfort of fit and coverage is too important to trust to a rogue website.
For the same reasons you don’t buy swimwear online, don’t buy formal wear. As it's for a special occasion, fit and quality are paramount. Why chance a poorly sewn suit or dress by overseas exporters with their own size charts when you can shop locally, support your community, and ensure that you’re looking as fabulous as you need?
When size and quality matter, let someone with knowledge help you make the decision to guide the investment. You’ll also find much more competitive pricing locally than you’ll find online--especially on returns that didn’t work for someone else.
Cheap Designer Purses
Unless you’re buying reduced inventory from the actual brand, stay away from 3rd party sites offering you "designer brands" at warehouse prices. They’re likely great imitations, but that’s exactly what you’re getting--an imitation.
Buying locally at discount stores or perusing your local thrift is the best source of designer handbags, where you have your phone handy to look them up and ensure that the labels/logos/numbers are real.
Being considerate of your skin is a good thing. Buying subpar products that could damage your skin is not. Your skin is your biggest organ--taking care of it and using approved products is important.
Sunscreen for sale online can be really hit or miss. Big brands on big-name websites are probably fine, but beware of cheap sunscreen from brands you've never heard of--these have been known to not be as powerful as they advertise.
Like sunscreen, self tanner and other tanning products can be really hit or miss when you purchase them online. Tanning products will likely be akin to brown/tan dye.
Shop at your local pharmacy/discount store and stick with the brands you know.
You’ve got your prescription in hand and want the coolest frames at the cheapest prices--so you head online to purchase them. That’s great, but return to a real, live local optician to have the glasses fitted with your lenses.
Online opticians are notorious for misfitting your lenses- adding in costs that you may not need, and you’ll end up with glasses that are useless. Your local optician will fit you and ensure that your prescription is right the first time.
Oddly enough, it’s weird that people choose to have this shipped to their home. Carbonated drinks are almost always cheaper and fresher locally. You have no idea how long that Coke or sparking water has been sitting in a warehouse.
It will lose it carbonation due to heat, direct sunlight or damp/flooded places. A 36-pack of Sparking Ice is no good if it's DOA. No one like a flat drink, especially if you’re mixing it with your favorite spirit. Fresh soda is the only way to go.
Your most precious human needs the best you can give. And buying formula online is fraught with danger. The formula may be diluted or infested. It may be expired or sour. It may be impacted by warehouse conditions.
Always buy formula locally at your local warehouse or grocery store. Their stock is turned daily, and expired products are quickly reduced for quick sale or returned for credit to the manufacturer. Don’t get stuck with buggy milk when you could have saved both time and money with manufacturers coupons locally.
I know they seem innocuous, but batteries are an item that can also go bad. The other challenge with online batteries is shipping, which require additional handling precautions. There’s a reason they’re asked about when you send a gift--exploding batteries are a real thing.
And it’s usually after they’ve arrived at the destination that it happens. So, skip online batteries and add them to your next grocery run. If you need a lot, head on down to your local discount store or specialized battery store. You’ll be glad that you did.
Online flowers are so appealing. They’re always competitively priced and the arrangements look amazing. Here’s the catch--you’re paying a 3rd party service for something that will already be prepared locally.
And in those instances, your local florist will use the older flowers to recoup the broker fee they had to pay to be part of the network and save the really great blooms for the local customers. Always shop at the local florist in the town of your recipient. Their experience will be better, and you’ll skip all the little add-on fees that catch you at checkout.
The antique market is rife with imposters, and that’s doubly true for online antiques. If you’re an antique enthusiast, then you know to skip the online shopping and stay local or regional, where you can have your piece appraised and inspected. Antiques are notoriously expensive anyway, which makes it doubly difficult to purchase and ship online.
You’ll pay for premium shipping, and unless you also insure that shipment, damage in transit is not a recoverable expense, and your piece will be ruined. Negotiate and secure your own pieces in person.
The heart of the kitchen is your food preparation devices, and used appliances can be sketchy at best in person. Due to the significant investment of a large appliance, hands-on is always the best approach.
Add the mystery of online shopping and you’ll end up with a poor fitting, abused used appliance that you think you saved money on--only to find that it doesn’t cool, cook, heat, or wash the way you need it too. There are lots of local discount appliance stores that have the dented merchandise for much lower cost than the full cost.
Looking at real estate online is far different than purchasing it online. Pictures can be altered, and measurements/amenities can be off. Real estate should always be viewed in person, inspected, and appraised prior to purchase.
It’s one of the largest things you can buy, and doing it online offers ZERO buy back options. So, instead of purchasing that oceanfront property in Arizona, make sure you’re in a coastal state before you buy and go see your potential purchase in person.
If you’re online and you’re buying a cheap brand of cosmetics or one you’ve never heard of before, stop. There’s no return policy for them and you have no control over the color, quality, or quantity of what you’re buying.
There’s no substitute for an in-store experience where you can color swatch on your hand and ensure that your cosmetics are meticulously wrapped and intact, free from being tampered with or impure. You’re not saving money if you look like a clown (unless that’s your occupation).
The savvy gardener will tell you that there’s no substitute for buying plants in person. Those lovely, green, and vibrant plants you see in pictures will show up weathered, thirsty, and likely dead from long shipping times and improper packing.
If you ordered begonias and end up with vinca, you’ll be unhappy just the same, and most of the online nurseries don’t offer refunds--just another shipment of dead, poorly grown plants. Head to your local farmer’s market or nursery where you can lay eyes (and hands) on the freshest plants to landscape your life.
It doesn’t matter what the picture looks like online, if it arrives in a different condition, size, or quality than you originally thought you're out of luck. It makes more sense to create art at home or shop local artists for this reason--you never know what you’re gonna get. You may have loved that landscape online only to end up with a garish, poorly executed piece.
With the subjectivity of art, it's hard to return without return fees or exorbitant shipping costs. Look for new, emerging local artists in your community or region. Better yet, visit a gallery for inspiration and create your own pieces with your kids. You don’t have to be an artist to create compelling art pieces that compliment your style.
I love browsing home good stores for inspiration, and it's difficult not to add them to my basket. However, I’m always disappointed by what I get, and it's often not what’s pictured. Online stores play fast and loose with pictures, colors, and dimensions.
There’s something relaxing and satisfying about browsing and curating your own style personally--you get to see the merchandise and mix/match on the spot, ensuring you achieve the vibe you’re seeking.
Gold and Other Precious Metals
If you’re interested in the precious metal market, skip the online stores or offers and head instead to your local pawn shop, jewelry store, or gold & silver exchanges. While those may even be sketchy to you, at least you have the advantage of handling your merchandise in person.
With that online purchase, your likelihood of getting scammed just increased by 400%--and no one likes to be a fool for their gold. Skip the fraud and anxiety of online purchases that "disappear" during shipping and go pick out the metals for yourself.
As you might imagine, this is a horror of an idea to begin with before you add in the online aspect. You’re having to ship a dead animal to be preserved--and you may or may not get the same one back.
Why open a box to find someone else’s 4-point, cross-eyed buck when you sent a 9-point, pristine head. There are also laws against shipping dead animals across state lines and you may get caught up in a sting. Find a reputable, experienced taxidermist to preserve your trophy instead.
For the love of your life, skip Amazon and head to your local jewelry stores, pawn shops, or discount warehouses. Buying any piece of jewelry online is a giant waste of time. Your stones/gold/silver will likely be fake, lower quality and you’ll not have the ability to return them.
Also, because of poor sizing standards and the personalization around jewelry, you may pay a lot for nothing at all. Isn’t your special someone worth a trip in person to see and get reassured that you’re buying the real thing?