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Online shopping provokes mixed feelings

On November 29, 2012

  • Professor Lee Yao poses for a photo. Yao continued to teach at Loyola throughout his illness until his death. Photo courtesy of Loyola Public affairs

Shopping online can be risky business, but some experienced online shoppers say that e-boutiques are superior to their real-world counterparts.
There is a lot of uncertainty when shopping online because it is not uncommon to be dissatisfied with the appearance, fit or quality of something purchased on the Internet. However, students like mass communications senior Ashley Irvin said that this unpredictability is neutralized by the equal benefits of online shopping.
"I browse every week, and I buy every two weeks. I shop too much; my bank account was literally so low because I spent so much money on two weeks ago," Irvin said.
When shopping online, Irvin said the best advice she can give to ensure you will get the product you intended is to consult the customer reviews.
"Here's the thing: All you have to do is look at the reviews because they will tell you what the item is like. I have purchased items based on reviews because they tell you if it's actually worth it," Irvin said.
Irvin said her favorite online shopping sites include Nastygal. com,, and

Others say that shopping online requires chances they are not willing to take. Mass communication senior Miranda Hernandez said that her petite figure makes it difficult to find clothes online that she is confident will fit.
"The clothes never fit me like they do the model. I've gotten clothes where the sizes from the website were off," Hernandez said.
Another complaint about shopping online is the deceiving product images. Hernandez explains that the thin models on the websites can make an item that would never look appealing on a normal-sized female appear flattering.
"The cute shirt online will more than likely look better on the 5'8 model than it will on me," Hernandez said.
Michelle Reinhardt, owner of Swap Boutique on Maple Street, attests to the sizing challenges of shopping online. As a consignment store that carries designer clothing for discounted prices, Swap has a lot of competition with online shopping sites of the same nature. However, Reinhardt said the shopping experience at Swap is superior because you will never have to second guess yourself on the fit of the clothing.
"People really enjoy shopping here in person because of the different fits of all of the lines; sizing completely depends on the brand. So a lot of time if you are a solid two in Rock & Republic Jeans, you might not be a solid two in Rag & Bone jeans," Reinhardt said.
Conversely, online shopping can also boost business at boutiques such as Swap. Reinhardt explains that many of their consigners sell clothing to Swap that they bought online but did not end up fitting.
Another downside of online shopping is the potential for overstock. Reinhardt explains that many times sites will order a large stock of a particular item, and when that item does not sell they end up with an overstock of the product. This bogs down the selection of clothing on the site.
Reinhardt said that when you shop at Swap, you avoid this problem.
"A lot of times on the online sites, they get certain styles that don't sell well so they will have a bunch of that particular style, whereas we have such a myriad of cuts, colors and materials. Customers get a wider and more broader selection," Reinhardt said.
Olivia Lueckemeyer can be reached at

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