The Problem: My parents needed to buy clothes racks for our home while a major renovation was taking place.

Their approach: was to go to or call every store that they knew and they still couln’t find waht they were looking for.

My Solution: As a college student I trust the Internet to get me what I need in as few steps as possible. As anyone around my age can probably tell you, it’s incredibly frustrating then when our parents and their contemporaries refuse (and I say refuse because if they just opened themselves to the wonder of technology things would go A LOT easier) to adapt to changing times. I just couldn’t understand why after days, or even just hours, of searching neither my mom or my dad thought to turn to the Internet. Thankfully, I was able to do a quick Google search, find the clothes racks online (I was even able to shop around for the best price), place an order and get them delivered to our doorstep.

I think we’ve all noticed that older generations have a general distrust of the Internet as a place to buy and sell things. We’ve heard every excuse for why we shouldn’t buy something online: it’s not safe, you shouldn’t trust people with your information, why would you ever buy something without seeing it first, that everyone lies on the internet so you’re never going to get what you order, and this frustrating list of qualms goes on…

I’m am happy to be able to claim a victory in this intergenerational battle. It’s been a process, but nowadays my mom does nearly all of her shopping online. You can find nearly anything your heart desires (and even things it didn’t know it desired) somewhere on the Internet, and it’s not as scary as it used to be. Websites and online stores are a common and legitimate way to do business, and chances are, if you’re vigilant about where you’re doing your shopping (looking for secure websites, usually indicated by the “https” in the URL, before inputting your credit card information, or researching smaller online stores for example) you won’t get scammed. But, of course, as much as I told my parents this, they weren’t convinced. I had to take matters into my own hands…Darling daughter to the rescue!

For the new online shoppers, I’ve prepared a list of suggestions for the best and safest online experience:  (let’s bullet point this) Stay close to familiar names such as Amazon, HSN, or Walmart. After doing a Google search and shopping around, I looked for online stores that are connected to names I am familiar with, which leads me to a good point: even though an item isn’t available in stores doesn’t mean that they won’t have it in their warehouses for online sale (often this is called an “online exclusive”). Eventually, I made my purchase from The Container Store, a store I am familiar with and trust. Many online stores such as Amazon and HSN also utilize mobile apps for shoppers, adding to the convenience factor. You can even shop for groceries online, even from local supermarket chains that are adopting the service. I don’t think that’s a service I’ll be utilizing anytime soon, but hey, it’s an option!

Not convinced yet? Let’s recap: Outstanding selection, convenience, time saving, and cost efficient? Sounds like a win to me!

After the clothes rack debacle of 2011 and its subsequent solution, the doors of e-commerce have been opened, much to the displeasure of my dad (and his wallet). It’s gotten to the point that if we need something other than groceries or something from CVS, the first place my mom turns to is the internet or dismisses my desire to take a trip to the mall with “Why don’t you just look on Amazon?” or “I have a free shipping coupon for Macy’s!”. Now, even though I’ve had to stop her many a few times from buying something that seems just a little too good to be true from some seller in China on Etsy but online shopping is just another part of life in our household. Many are the nights that I try to close up shop only to find the familiar blue glow of the computer and my mom sitting close by scrolling through pages upon pages of shoes...I may have created a monster.