Buying on the Internet

By Ann

I have a problem that I need to confess. It involves purchasing products on the internet. See, I don’t buy many things. I can’t. Because I’m young and poor (and believe you me, it’s significantly less glamorous than Rent makes it look—although I am grateful there’s less AIDS).  So, when I do make the rare decision to purchase a product on the internet I carefully weigh in my mind all sorts of responsible concerns, “Is this worth the money? Do I really need it? Etc, etc.”

The one question I always forget to check on is, “What are the product’s dimensions?” Because who cares, right? It seems like, if you’re buying a cell phone, it will wind up being roughly cell phone-sized and if you’re buying a watch, it will wind up being roughly watch-sized, so what’s the difference?

I’ll tell you what the difference is.

A few years ago, my old cell phone broke. Luckily for me, it was time for a free replacement courtesy of Verizon. Merrily, I logged onto their website and picked out a phone. It met the two requirements I have for any phone I get: (1) it was free, and (2) it was red. This was enough for me.

Then it arrived in the mail, and I had a very disconcerting realization.

No, seriously. I want you to look at this picture, and tell me what you see.

This is my phone, and that is a pack of gum. WHY ARE THEY THE SAME SIZE?! WHY IS MY PHONE THE SIZE OF A PACK OF GUM?! Look at this. Just look at it.

Seething with quiet rage, I vowed never again to forget to check the dimensions of something I was buying. Then, I promptly forgot that resolution.

Then, recently, I used some Christmas money to buy myself a new watch online. It arrived in the mail.

And here it is:

My watch is the size of Asia. You can read this watch from fifteen feet away. I could return it, but I know me. I know I’m going to be too lazy to do that. So, instead, I’ll probably just keep wearing it around and pretend like I did it on purpose. Because nothing says fashion statement like strapping Big Ben to your wrist and talking into a phone the size of a Barbie accessory.

Sometimes I get away with this kind of thing, though. Like the time when I couldn’t decide between two differently colored laces that came with a new pair of sneakers. Instead of choosing, I just wore a different color in each shoe, hoping that I would eventually make up my mind between the two. Instead, I forgot all about it until I would get the occasional compliment on my hipster-like style:

“Two different color laces—that’s cool, very hipster of you!”

“Why, yes, thanks, you’ll note that I did that on purpose,” I’d say convincingly,

Probably I should be learning from this latest Big Ben debacle. More likely, I’ll keep forgetting to check dimensions on products until I have an entire closet of accessories that appear to have been sized in a fun-house mirror. I can only hope these will come to gradually redefine my style into what can only be described as misguided Japanese street fashion meets the Mad Hatter.

Note: I wrote this post in January. I post it today in honor of the retirement of the phone in question. Dear little phone, in spite of your stupid tiny size, you served me honorably and to the best of your limited abilities for four years. But now that your battery’s dead, it’s time to say good night. So I got an iphone instead. You’ll be happy to know, however, that after growing accustomed to your ways for the past four years, this very normal-sized phone feels too large in my hand. Thanks a bundle, gum-phone, you’ve ruined me. On the plus side, it’s red and white, so it’s going to match my dumb Asia watch.

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