Buying Things in 2021

Now I know what you are probably thinking right now; I am not ready to read another article that simply tells me how I am living my life wrong but does not offer me any guidance on how to change it. Well, you’re in luck. I have a lot to say when it comes to the world of eCommerce and consumer products. I think there are several things that everyone should be aware of when buying things online. In addition, I think it is important to know which products you should be buying online compared to which ones you should buy in a brick and mortar store. Hopefully this article will give you some insight into the world of eCommerce as well as be a guide to how you can change your buying and spending habits when it comes to shopping online.

First of all, it is important for me to tell you that the world did not always used to be this way. I remember back to when the internet was in its infancy stages, and buying things online was almost unheard of on a regular basis. In fact, most things were bought in person or over the phone (if you ever saw those infomercials then you know what I am talking about). Nowadays, almost everything can be bought online. No matter where you look on the internet, there is always someone trying to sell you something at every turn you take. Google now constantly tracks our data and monitors the things we look at, making it easier for consumers to be targeted by ad campaigns. However, I firmly believe that there are some things nowadays that are truly better to buy online. The internet has its downfalls and all of its negative effects, but if one looks at the optimistic side of things, they can see the internet as a cheap and convenient way to purchase some of the things they love most about life.

To start off with, I’ll say that you should almost always buy computers online. What’s better to buy over the internet than another vessel in which you will use to buy more things off the internet? All jokes aside, many companies offer sweet discounts and promo codes when you shop online, and you have to be taking advantage of any discount you can get when buying something that pricey. Plus, your new computer will arrive at your home among various cardboard boxes and you do not even have to drive to the store to pick it up. Now that’s a deal! I started buying any of my new tech gadgets online and have seen a lot better deals and discounts come my way compared to when I was still shopping in stores.

Another product you should be buying online instead of in person is textbooks. If you are a college student and you have been buying your textbooks from your campus bookstore or something like that, I have bad news for you; you have been wasting so much time and money. Buying textbooks online is truly the best way to do it. I always have my textbooks delivered to my dorm room in cardboard boxes or packages that keep them safe and undamaged. Honestly, the internet may be the most influential thing when it comes to our economy.

Baking With My Mom

Ever since I was little, I have always fully enjoyed baking as a pastime and hobby. I began my introduction to baking as a young boy, and oftentimes would help my mom in the kitchen with various baking endeavors and the like. My wonderful mother would let me help in small ways during the baking process. Whether it was opening the candy boxes, mixing some of the ingredients in, or setting timers on the kitchen timer to keep track of our various bakes, I always loved to be helping out in the kitchen. As I grew older, my mother and I continued our tradition of baking together most weekends, and I was trusted with more responsibilities like adding the sugar, eggs, beating, kneading, and all other sorts of baking things that one does in the kitchen.

It made my sisters a bit jealous of all the time I could spend with my mom, but they did not see baking as a hobby and a great pastime like I did. For my sisters baking was more of a chore than anything else. I do not see how anyone could see baking as a chore, it is one of my absolute favorite pastimes. Regardless, I definitely developed my passion for baking even more as I grew older. The great part of baking is that you can often bless other people with the finished product of your baking. I remember back to countless times of bringing cookies or brownies to church on Sundays on a small platter to have out in the church lobby next to the coffee and other odds and ends. It seemed like such a small way to serve others but it always brought me great joy to share my bakes with others and it feels very rewarding. People at church even began to expect baked goods from my mom and I every week, though I’m sure no one would have been mad if we decided to stop.

Nowadays I continue to bake in my own home, though I will always think back on my childhood baking with my mom with fond memories. During holidays when I go back to visit my parents, my mom and I like to do some extra special baking adventures to make up for lost time that we are away from the kitchen together. The kitchen counter will be cluttered with various baking ingredients, candy boxes, rolling pins, and mixing bowls, and we do a poor job keeping the flour contained into the baked goods, but we always have a good time together. 

Last Christmas, my mom and I made a huge assortment of baked goods for our friends and family. We made a large gingerbread house with loads of frosting, marshmallows, candies, and other treats that remained as a centerpiece on the dining room table for quite some time. It was hard work to prevent the little cousins from eating it, but eventually we caved and let them eat it in the end. We also spent time making a few delicious pies. My favorite pie has always been apple, but apple pie is not really something many people have around Christmas time. Either way, I always end up making apple pie regardless and many of my family have grown to enjoy it over other pies as well. We also make cherry pie and mixed berry pie if we have time.

The Year of eCommerce

2020 was a crazy year to say the least. I know from personal experience that the pandemic has changed a lot about our world and our society. Things that used to seem so normal are now a distant memory. Masks were required to be worn in all public places and this made going out in public a challenge at times. Consequently, people were spending a lot more time in their homes. This changed the way that people did their shopping. Before the pandemic, online shopping was becoming more and more popular with continued technological advancements. However, since so many stores and popular shopping spots were being closed down because of the pandemic, online shopping became the new thing for the year. I know for myself, I spent a lot of time indoors just playing video games and stuff like that. Unfortunately, the pandemic sent me home early from school and I was forced to finish my semester at home. After I finished my school work, I did not have much else to do. So like many others, I spent time online shopping and ordering stuff over the internet like the true gen-z that I am. 

If anything, 2020 was a perfect example of how easy it is to find and buy things online and get them at your door in cardboard boxes. Ecommerce companies were in a perfect position to capitalize on this. Some companies exist only as a middleman that will buy products from wholesalers online, then turn around and sell them in cardboard boxes or other packaging for a profit without ever even touching the product they are selling. There are some ethical and moral questions in play here when it comes to taking advantage of cheap labor and products just to make a quick buck, but these companies were greatly impacted by the COVID pandemic. One thing that was greatly increased with the pandemic was the use of Amazon. I know for me, I ordered a lot of products online from Amazon during the months of April and May of 2020. Not only is it easy to find almost anything on Amazon, they are a fairly trustworthy site with good customer service. Consequently, Amazon made a ridiculous amount of money over 2020. They did run into some supply issues, since Amazon works with other smaller companies that sell their products through the site. The problem Amazon ran into is that too many people were ordering certain products and they were not able to keep up with the demand.

The things that were out of stock always surprised me. Even something like a gaming computer, which I ordered in May of 2020, was out of stock for quite a few weeks. I had to wait a longer amount of time than I normally would have to get my computer. It was more difficult to work with the computer company from which I was ordering my computer, because their customer service was abysmal. I tried multiple times to reach the company through their support channels, but was mostly out of luck due to a high frequency of orders and calls.

After about 3 weeks or so of waiting and not being able to get a hold of the company, I decided to issue a refund through Amazon for my computer. Funnily enough, it was then that the company got a hold of me and told me they will be shipping my computer out the next day, with an additional discount for my troubles!

My favorite hobby

Ever since I was a young boy, I have always enjoyed baking with my mother and my sisters. Being the youngest of the family, I started out helping my mother in the kitchen in very small ways. She would let me help mix the ingredients, knead the dough, or eat some of the ingredients instead! Helping my mother in the kitchen was something that always made me happy and helped me to feel more connected with my mother. On any given afternoon, we would bake all kinds of cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and other sweet treats. My sisters would also be part of this process, but I thought of myself as the one true baking assistant to my mom; after all, I spent the most time helping out. 

One of the great things about baking is that it doesn’t necessarily require expensive ingredients or supplies, and it can be a great way to pass the time. When my mom picked me up from school in my elementary days, we may stop at the grocery store on the way home to get supplies for dinner. My mom also liked to use this time to pick up ingredients for our next bake. I would help her pick out things that sounded really good to me; I especially liked to pick out the candy boxes that we would be using for our next plate of cookies or something like that. Rather than buy boxes of cake mix and other premixed baking supplies, my mom liked to make things from scratch. While this is a bit harder to do and requires more knowledge about ingredients and baking, I think it is worth it in the end. It is much more impressive and personally rewarding to make something completely from scratch. 

My absolute favorite thing to bake is cookies. Cookies are relatively easy to make but can become much more complicated or difficult depending on your preference and whether or not you would like a challenge. My mom and I liked to make oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar cookies most regularly. During the holidays, we liked to make a lot more than normal to have on hand for friends and family that would come and stay. 

Now that I’m older and have my own place, I still enjoy baking as a pastime and hobby. Things are different now, but I made sure that the apartment I moved into has a nice kitchen with quality appliances that can accommodate my favorite hobby. Whenever I get the chance to visit home, I still enjoy baking with friends and family, especially my mom. It is a great way to stay connected with the people close to you, and it is rewarding to give the gift of baked goods to others that you care about.

Now that I live on my own, it is a bit more expensive to bake as much as I would like to. Since I have to buy all my own ingredients, I can no longer rely on my mom to help pay for all my candy boxes and other ingredients. It is also hard to find time to bake during the week working full time. However, I believe that if something is truly important to you, you should be able to make time for it. Hobbies are a super important part of life and can help fill your days with more fun and happiness.