'Tis the Season To Go Shopping

Winter 2000 CSANews Issue 37  |  Posted date : Mar 07, 2007.Back to list

Last Christmas, I placed an order online for some gifts for my kids, with an Internet book retailer who shall remain nameless and, in spite of assurances from the site, the gifts did not arrive in time. Now, this may sound like I intend to issue grave warnings about shopping online but, actually, the contrary is true.

The reality is that last year, many online retailers, particularly Canadian sites, were experiencing their first "virtual" Christmas, and were overwhelmed by the volume. There has been a huge collective "beefing-up" of systems and it seems that most are really well prepared this year.

Shopping online can be a great experience. The weather outside may be frightful, but who cares. Sitting in the comfort of your home, you can reach out and buy just about anything and have it delivered right to your door in just a few days.

Probably the most compelling part of online shopping is the ability to comparison shop without dragging yourself through half-a-dozen malls and stores. Last fall, I was looking for an MP3 player for my son. He had kindly provided me with the make and model. Using a shopping service like MySimon.com, I was able to locate the best price in a matter of seconds. The difference in price between the lowest and the highest was more than 50 per cent, and all prices were better than those I had seen in regular retail stores.

The most often-asked questions about shopping online are always, "Is it safe?" and "What about giving my credit card out online?" Simply speaking, as long as you follow some common-sense principles, there is little risk. Always ensure that you are shopping on a secure site, which means all the data passing over the telephone wires is encrypted. Secure sites always have an 's' in the address, as in "https://". You will also see a locked padlock or unbroken key icon at the bottom of your Web browser.

Additionally, credit card companies protect you and limit your responsibility for misuse of your credit card to $50, although none of them would ever hold you responsible for even that limited amount.

If you are careful to follow these simple guidelines and shop at sites you recognize, for example, the online operations of traditional retailers, you should be able to enjoy all the convenience of shopping from home, plus maybe even save some money...just don't leave it to the last minute.

www.Snowbirds.org Update  
The CSA would like to thank every one of you that have made our web launch the success that it is. We have, since our launch, had tens of thousands of hits viewing everything from our news magazine to downloading applications for some of CSA's premier benefit offerings like the Currency Exchange Program and CSA Auto Roadside Assistance Program.

The most exciting addition we will make to our web site will be our on-line application for the CSA endorsed Medipac Travel Emergency Medical Insurance. For those of you familiar with applying in previous years, the on-line application should be very familiar. My strongest recommendation is to read the Easy as 1-2-3 window carefully prior to beginning.

We have also been getting hundreds and hundreds of snowbirds joining the CSA through our AOL and web sites. Tell your friends. Keep up with snowbird news. Visit www.snowbirds.org regularly or do keyword search snowbird on AOL.