February 24, 2010

Online puchases...useful and not so useful...

One of my co-workers is moving this weekend and watching her getting ready has put me in the mind a few things. Well, that and the fact that my mother made her first purchase on eBay recently...my brother, of course, stressing the fact that it's easy to get carried away with online purchases. Sometimes, though, it's a commen behaviour in certain areas (the north, for example).

Like I mentioned, one of my co-workers is moving and having one of those epic house sales that everyone in the community waits for. I have the feeling when it's my turn it'll be rather informal - I have a history, after all, of just giving everything in my apartment to any charity that picks up before leaving the country. Not so true with her. Weeks ago she had everything inventoried and ready to go...right down to the 143 cans of tuna in her sealift room. Crazy, right? I'm a sucker, though, and have ended up with quite a few things. I only got 10 cans of tuna (for the dogs), but there were many other things I had delivered. I managed to avoid the big flatscreen tv, but couldn't resist the dvd player.

Anyway, the reason I mention all these superfluous purchases in because I'm finding that I have definitely started to view online buys in a different light. Sometimes you need certain things, but it's still a habit I have to learn how to rein in. Before coming here (Pangnirtung), I read as many websites as possible about online ordering. Without further ado, I'm going to relay what I have learned.

First off, check out Jen of Nunavut's blog. It was posted ages ago, but it's still an awesome place to start. Personally, I haven't bought big ticket items because I'm not yet sure how long I'll be here; Jen, on the other hand, spent a few years here and knows it ins-and-outs of big purchase.

Me? Small things that add up. I have found the best place to order stuff is from family and friends but, barring that option, a few things caught my eye:

Moving here at the end of August, I didn't yet need a heavy coat and boots. Instead, I opted to buy them online.


This is where I got my Canada Goose jacket. Any of you who have looked into buying one knows that you pay more than pennies. I searched and searched for the right style (I was determined to get the Kensington model), and it took me quite awhile to find one. As soon as I did, I put in my order. And waited. And waited. I did not receive any confirmation email even though I could see the payment on my credit card. About two weeks later, an unmarked package arrived - a really small one. There was my jacket. I think it was great that there was no record (on the outside) of what was being delivered, but not getting a confirmation email was really uncool.

The Tannery

I ordered some 'Joan of Arctic' Sorels here and, although I think they would have arrived (I got several follow-up emails), the didn't have the style and size that I wanted. I couldn't believe how difficult it is to get that style in 'hawk'! Eventually I went for the Baffins...


These guys were awesome. Great customer service on the 1-800 number with very knowledgeable people. They were able to guide me into choosing the right model I needed for this climate and, thinking about it now, the Baffin boots I got are definitely a better choice for what I want to do up here.


What more can I say? They have wonderful stuff, and you'll never regret buying a few pairs of 'wigwam wool socks' (product # 5001-651). They're soft and perfect for living here in the winter. The snowpants I bought here were fantastic as well (Magma: product #5013-297). They are soft, amazingly thin...and soooo warm. Don't forget to buy the long underwear (Capilene 4: product #5010-867); they're awesome.

NB: I'm allegic to most wool, but the socks don't bother me at all. I have no idea why.

Free delivery on any order over over $150 (or something like that); it's not difficult to spend that much, but certainly worth it. Quick delivery. Easy return policy (I've replaced sizes). Good help on the 1-800 number. The problem? Everything that MEC produces seems to be made for tall skinny people. How many actually fit that body type? Be careful with sizing.


When in Pang, I occasionally have 'pangs' missing my southern clothes - especially shoes. Heels, I miss my heels. Ok, ok...I miss my skirts and tank tops, but my heels and spikey boots I miss regularly. So I have ordered shoes. I can, after all, wear them at school. And it just makes me feel better to have them. Not the best reason, I know, but it's true. Very consumer based.


Awesome awesome. Although it's based out of New York, delivery was quick and painless.


Great company. And I would say this even if the owner wasn't a friend of mine. Hi Jesse!



You can't live here and not know about this. Free shipping anywhere in Canada and, if they make any sort of mistake, you get a replacement, hand-written card, and extra products. That's only happened once, though. They are fantastic and have really quick turn-around time.


Awesome! Cooking with Jaime, The Joy of Cooking, and Cesar Milan's latest book are awesome finds.



This website was a pain-in-the-butt at first because I kept being booted to the American site. I tried .ca, but for some reason it didn't work. When I finally made the purchase, I was quite relieved...if it wasn't something essential, I probably would have given up (I needed puppy pads, not chewy toys and treats). For those of you who regularly use puppy pads, you know the panic that sets in when you're running low; I need them because my two chihuahuas just can't go outside in this weather. I use about 2-3/day and only had enough for a week left when I made my order. The new stuff arrived before I ran out.



Really quick delivery and the email updates were great.


I guess that's about it for today. I'm going to go and try not to spend anymore money. Good luck to you!

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