Published in El Pais, 8 September 2020.
With the quarantine in the last few months, it was impossible to go shopping and find a gift for my wife. Two meters distance, masks, and one-way routes even in the smallest store just was not my idea to go shopping. So, one night when our nine- and ten-year olds were sleeping, we went shopping online. Occasionally we buy something on eBay, or local sites here in Holland, but never clothes. Thinking it was the same and having seen a lot of ads on Facebook, we made the purchase by eBay.
I must say that the photos and clothes are very attractive, you can also see many models and designs in a short time. And for those husbands who are normally afraid to go shopping for hours with their indecisive wives, they can rest in their house chairs until their wives choose.
A terrible trap are the prices. You found something for a great price, you choose the size or color and the price doubles or triples. It is also worth looking closely at the size of the clothes. My wife is not Dutch size, but compared to Chinese measurements, she is a giant. So, if you normally buy S, you might want to increase to L or even XL.
Payment is easy and secure because they allow you to use PayPal. I never use my credit card for security reasons. From the payment you are notified that it may take between four and six weeks until delivery. Yes, online shopping from China requires a lot of patience.
When the clothes arrived, we were totally frustrated. None were of the expected size or the material observed in photos. The size XL was still very small, and the fabric was of low quality.
My goal is not to ruin international trade, but I believe there are opportunities and challenges, for local sellers and for online sellers. Until this is standardized, I think it is safer to buy things by trying on.