The Art of Buying Safely Online

Why do you want to buy online?

You would like to buy online because:

Convenience

  • You do not have to ride to the mall.
  • You do not have to drive around ten blocks to find a parking place.
  • You do not have to jostle around with the crowds in the mall.
  • You do not want anyone following your every move with a hawk’s eye.
  • You do not want some one to convince you into buying, something that you do not need.

Well, I think they are good enough reasons why you would like to get onto the net and go buy something online.

Standard Features of online malls
Most of them are visitor friendly. Let us look at one such Online eMall I came across.

Let us now see how these Online eMall websites are designed.  This is a generic website.  Of course you understand that this site does not exist and it is only for demonstration purposes I am mentioning it here.  Let us call it simply – Online eMall.

The customer-friendly Online eMall website is cleanly laid out. The website name is very clearly displayed on the home page.

A key feature of this Online eMall is, it  offers franchises.  Normally, the franchise’s name appears to your left, right beneath the Online eMall profile. Then you have the navigation bar that indicates the e-franchise home, orders tracking and a tab to invite friends to the site.

Then you see those small folder icons: The name of the folders indicate the contents and within brackets the number of items too. For example the first folder is Beauty and Personal Care and it is displaying 43. When you click on the folder, the column to it’s right displays all those items that fall under the “Beauty and Personal Care” category. Each item has a small picture of the product / service with pricing, availability and probable shipping time.

So, all the visitor has to do is click on the folder on the left, view items that appear on the right, add her choice to the shopping cart, fill the forms and pay, to have them delivered at her doorstep. But before she confirms the order, it is up to her to make doubly sure that she is ordering exactly what she expects.

When the shopping season approaches, the Online eMall  owners will update the site and announce really amazing products and services to it’s customers, at great prices.

Phishing
OK, so what makes you think it is safe to buy online? Haven’t you heard of those who collect your credit details and siphon off monies without you ever knowing about it?

Yes, I have heard about that and read about it too. But then there are always those elements around. All you have to do is take a few precautions and you are better off.

Now let’s see what those precautions are:

FAQ’s
Every online shopping mall would have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and a privacy policy. Read them both carefully and if you are convinced that it is a good site and is taking care of your interests go ahead and do your shopping.

Warranties and Guarantees
Check if the the site is offering warranties and or guarantees on the products and services they are offering before you make your purchase decision.

Postal Address
You must take care to see if the postal address of the site is given on the web site. If it is not there, then their intentions are in doubt and I advise you not to do business with them.

Cash
There may be occasions that the company or any individual you are buying from asks for cash, say no. Tell them that you would prefer to pay with your credit card. That way you are protecting yourself from avoidable fraudulant transactions.

Help and Support
There are genuine sellers and are helpful. They would be more than happy to help you with your doubts and queries that you might have. Some of these sites do have a live chat service where you get instant answers. Some of them have Feedback forms for their customers and they always write you back about your concerns.

Search and Research
Use the search engines to learn about the online shopping mall that you are trying to buy from. This would help you learn more about them and you can make a buying decision based on that.

Reviews
If there are reviews left by customers read them. It would give you a better insight about this online shopping mall and how they go about treating their customers.

Return Policy
You should also make sure what their Return Policy is, so that you know exactly what to expect.

RESOURCES
There is this excellent site that tells you how to protect yourself from online phishing scams. Please click here to visit the site.

Happy Shopping!

Note:
This article was first published elsewhere on August 6, 2009 and the site is no more available.  Hence I am posting it here again.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101123150210/http://rightword.blogsome.com

Gratitude Challenge – Day Two

                                        The heart has no wrinkles

1 –  “No, I can’t let him go” she said. “He’ll be with us for as long as he wants to.”  That’s what Ellen Sharma, the founder of Children’s Garden School, Madras, said when she was approached by my relatives when they wanted to remove me from the school and take me with them.  This happened when my father passed away and I was alone with my mother.  That’s where I learnt a whole lot more about life.

Ellen Sharma Children's Garden School

Founder Member Children’s Garden School


Ellen Sharma
, how can I forget her?  How can I forget V. N Sharma her husband who always had a smile on his face and used to borrow books from my dad’s library? And it was such a pleasure to run those errands carrying those books back and forth!! Gratitude! Yes, if that is the word.

2 –  They used to call it “Erra Meda” ( ఎర్ర మేడ – Red Building).  The evening turned to night.  I was sitting there in a corner when he walked in and the hall erupted with noise.  It was my cousins chirping and they all ran towards him.  With a large smile, he pulled out a fistful of coins from his trousers and dropped them into every open palm spread out before him.  Well, he is their father.  Something was just about to crack into a billion pieces and began to ache within me.  That’s when he came towards me, caught me by my hand, opened my palm and dropped the coins he had saved for me.  He looked into my eyes and I looked back into those kind eyes that were full of love, warmth and they were smiling.

Tripuraneni Gokulchnad - litterateur

Tripuraneni Gokulchand

He is Tripuraneni Gokulchand, this world does not know much about, perhaps that is the way he wanted to be, though I wonder.  He is the youngest son of  KavirajuTripuraneni Ramaswamy.  My mother is Atluri Chouda Rani. She is his younger sister.  And thus I am his nephew.  Gratitude did you say?

3 – It was sometime around 70 or 71.  I was home and the postman delivered me a small brown paper parcel.  It came by registered post.  Brown paper covered all the sides.  The twine thread with a perfect knot to a side and trimmed with just enough to hold between your fingers, held the cover in place. The postage stamps were at the top right corner.  Our address written in perfect handwriting, almost like caligraphy, perfectly placed at the center of the packet.  So was the from address.  Lower left corner of the packet.  I did not have the heart to tear it open but I did.  I took a pair of scissors and cut it open from one side.  Gently pulled out the contents.  There is an other layer of newspaper.  This too is neatly folded around the content which was rectangular in shape and slightly hard.  Opend the flaps of the newspaper from one side and in lay a book.  Beautifully wrapped up in a thick tissue paper, what we call butter paper.  It is translucent, enough to help you make out the title of the book.

Chalasani Prasada Rao, a caricature R K Laxman

Chalasani Prasada Rao – a caricature by R K Laxman

It is “kathalu kaakarakayalu” (కథలు కాకరకాయలు – Ed -1968).  A short story collection by Chalasani Prasada Rao. I did not know who he was.  I turned over the pages.  I found the following words “keerthisEshu’DuAtluri Pitcheswara Rao ki”  (“కీర్తిశేషు ‘డు‘ ” అట్లూరి పిచ్చేశ్వరరావు కి).   I met him a few years later and came to know that he was the editor, magazines Eenadu.  What I couldn’t comprehend then was why would anyone that too a stranger dedicate a book to my father and ?!  Gratitude did you say?

Note:  This is the second part of the Gratitude Challenge Day TwoThis is a post that I posted on my Facebook wall and I felt that confining it to that SMN is not right and that it should reach out to more people.  That is why you see it here. 

Bloodhound, the tracker dog

Origin
Bloodhounds have extraordinary sense of smell and are great trackers.  Extremely efficient at pursuing scents often leading them to their quarry hundreds of miles away.  This breed has its traces from about 600 BC and is believed to be descendent of St Hubert Hound.

Trait
The Bloodhound has an amazing sense of smell.  A purebred can detect, identify and process the scent emitted by just one or two cells. The construction of the nasal chambers of a Bloodhound’s nose is distinctive with unique placement of the olfactory receptor cells.  A typical Bloodhound has close to 4 billion receptor cells that aid in mapping a pattern.   A human being has just a 100 million.  Researchers believe, the folds around its neck and the wrinkled flesh under its lips, help in holding the surrounding air, while the nose is busy  scenting.  They also believe his functional drooping ears help to trap, hold and absorb the surrounding air.  This helps the nose to lock on to the scent, identify chemical odours, and map solitary patterns.

Temperament
Dogs are good friends to human beings.  Bloodhound definitely is one of the best suited to be a pet dog. Many agencies around the world prefer a Bloodhound to track criminals and assist in various investigations. They also realize it takes time to train a bloodhound.  Though an ideal family pet, like with all other pet dogs, someone should watch a Bloodhound, when he is around small kids.

Bloodhound the tracker

Bloodhound the tracker

Lifespan
A dog’s life span varies widely. Dogs of different breed’s median life span are between ten to 13 years. A study of the Bloodhound life span pegged it at about eight years.  With the help of proper diet and good exercise a Bloodhound’s median life span of eight years can be maximized further.  A good trainer who can design proper training routines can help the Bloodhound live longer.

Breed
A genteel breed, the Bloodhound is quite affectionate towards its owner. Bloodhound loves his ‘trainer’. Bloodhound, the best known tracking dog may be difficult to handle on a leash. His lively nature helps in beginning the training at a tender age of three months. Some trainers wait until he is eighteen months. Lavish praise subsequent to a given task usually after a successful tracking makes him extremely happy.

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Image courtesy: http://www.freeimages.com/profile/mkkw