Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Shopping online

Funny thing is, I don't mind shopping online. I shop online quite a bit, but shopping online is not really that good in Ireland. Most of the time when I shop online I'm buying for someone in the US.

In Ireland, it's pretty bad. The choices are limited and often you end up in UK sites where shipping becomes grossly expensive. I don't know if it's a function of the small, off-shore market or Irish people's reluctance to take to the web, but online shopping's not that well developed yet.

Another oddity is that you have to pay Irish VAT (sales tax) of 21% no matter where in Europe you buy. I didn't know this until recently when I bought something from Amazon.co.uk. I thought I'd have to pay UK rates (which are 17%, I believe), but when it came time to check out they tacked on a few extra pounds for the Irish rate.

Shopping online should be ideal for Ireland seeing as shopping in stores is such a bad experience, but it hasn't really taken off here.

What's really frustrating is that I'm desperate to be rid of going shopping. It's a nightmare here. You have to remember to bring a bag with you because a lot of stores only have plastic bags, which you have to pay for.

And everywhere you go you have to pay to park. One trip to Tallaght a few weeks ago to a toy store (shopping for toys is not hell - I like that) really annoyed me because I had to pay - in advance - to park for 30 minutes. This is both aggravating and stupid because if I'm standing on line and my meter is about to run out, I'll just abandon my purchase rather than risk an excessive clamping fee.