23 Aug 2010
By Gaby Phipps

The perils of online shopping


There are so many attractions to online shopping – not least that you can do it on your couch wearing trackies and ugg boots – but it does come with a certain degree of risk, particularly when you’re shopping for clothes.

Purple peacock cardiganI have had a lot of success shopping online, recent notable mentions include the giant silicon cupcake mould and my cow print doona boots (yes, they’re worth the delivery fee).

However, I have had one specific disaster – my purple peacock cardigan.

I now realise it should have been obvious. Purple. Peacock. Cardigan. But like the greatest chefs of our time – who put together the oddest combinations to make the best signature dishes – I trusted this store, and thought that surely, it would be beautiful when it arrived.

Everything I have purchased in person from the purveyor of Purple Peacock Pap was a triumph. Two years later people are still asking me where the giant flower skirt came from… where they could get a cardigan with the same big clear buttons and tiny bird embellishments… how could I go wrong?

Perils of online shoppingI couldn’t even sell it on eBay for half the price. I hate to admit it, but I lost $160 on that cardigan, which still sits, tags attached, in my cupboard.

I’d like to know that I’m not alone, has anyone else purchased something online that makes them look like Barney the friendly dinosaur?

More information:


Posts: 2


  1. Larry Sixsmith (Telstra employee) says:

    OH dear, Gaby not the best of buys there. I must say out of the few online purchases I have done, I have been lucky. I have purchased quite a few products from
    I have been very happy with the products however what annoys me about online shopping is, for what ever reason, my post office does not attempt to deliver to my door. They put the \sorry we missed you\ card in the letter-box. Therefore I have to go to the post office to collect my good. Defeats the purpose really.

    • Taj says:

      Hi Gaby, I have an online clothing store and we understand that sometimes when you buy online you get it home and for whatever reason change your mind so we offer a returns policy that allows you to return your clothes within 14 days tags still attached for a full refund, we stock many brands including SASS, Fate, Ladakh, Shilla, Riders, Religion and many more for women, men and children. Hope this helps.

  2. Gaby Phipps (Telstra employee) says:

    Larry, I totally understand this problem! However, my siblings and I get around this by regularly sending online orders to our parents’ house in the hope that one of them will be there, or the delivery dude will leave the package on the safe covered-in porch. We send so much stuff there my Mum is actually on first name terms with the local delivery dude.

  3. Jane McConnell (Telstra employee) says:

    Hi Gaby,
    Loved your article. I have the opposite problem -- having copious amounts of my own stuff that I really should sell on eBay but somehow never quite get around to it. I think you should unleash the Purple. Peacock. Cardigan. Or at least save it for a dress up party!

  4. Crispy says:

    Good read Gaby.
    So far so good with my online purchases.
    My best online buy was a piece of aboriginal art which I bought direct from the artist.
    Importantly, the price wasn’t inflated by a retail intermediary and I could be confident the money was going straight back to the artist. The downside was that I had to frame the piece, which cost just about as much as the artwork!

  5. Susie Bate says:

    I have a similar experience with a cardigan purchase on eBay (white with little coloured pom poms all over it). At the time I thought -- “a cardy from one of my favourite designers with quirky appeal? cute”.

    Except…when it arrived the pom poms weren’t nearly as cute as I thought they had looked in the photos. Sigh -- yes, I had bought a Cosby Cardy.

    I was recently tagged on FB wearing said cardigan (it was a “WTF are you wearing?” theme party). Everyone kept asking me where I got it. I couldn’t bring myself to say “um, it was already in my cupboard”… just smiled wanly and said “thanks, I found it on eBay”.

  6. Reg says:

    Yep bought a you beaut coffee machine online only for it to require being sent back several times to get it to work and had to pay $35 every time they send it back to me even though it was under there warranty! Go figure.

  7. M@ (Telstra employee) says:

    Lol. Oh Gaby, I feel your pain. A couple of years ago I ordered a tailor-made red jacket for my magic work. The picture depicted a smart, well cut item in a deep vermillion velvet… And the price was brilliant. Too brilliant.
    The astonishingly huge, satin tent that arrived in the mail was both hilarious and unusable for the intended purpose -- though I’m sure I can find something to make from all that material…


  8. Dan says:

    Oh Gaby how we suffer together in online purchase nightmares. My best disaster yet is a Pacman hoodie that I just should have known was never going to be cool. But I do love for a bit of geek gadgetry, and you can still get a Pacman hoodie from them if you don’t believe me and think you can rock that look.

  9. Cathy (Telstra employee) says:

    Gaby, fear not. You’ll still be able to sell it on eBay. You are way ahead in the fashion stakes and you just have to let your buyers know that purple is the new trend for Spring/Summer 2010 (

    Cardigans are also big news (

    As for peacocks? Well, I’m not sure they will ever be in so best to play that part down!

  10. Gaby Phipps (Telstra employee) says:

    It makes me so happy that other people have had online shopping disasters! Particularly involving clothing.

    Although, Dan, I reckon I could rock a Pacman hoodie…

  11. Dan says:

    @Gaby -- don’t go there. You have no idea how many times I have tried to rock that look, I even wore it once around the block walking the dogs (once okay?) to ‘try it out’ and seriously, that was the quickest walk ever.

    Maybe I should wear it to work one casual day?

  12. Gwynn (Telstra employee) says:

    Dan -- you’ve turned me onto a terrible thing with

    So much useless stuff that I’d never wear or use, but would still love to have lying round the house just so say I have it… especially a sonic screwdriver!

  13. Dan says:

    @Gwyn you’re welcome.

    Swing past some time and check out my Powerball Dyna-Flex -- mechanical glowing gyroscope, because everyone needs one of those, and you will better understand my addiction.

  14. M@ (Telstra Employee) says:


    This will probably get some of you in even deeper -- but with Father’s Day coming up:

  15. Gaby Phipps (Telstra employee) says:

    M@ you’ve saved me! Not just for Fathers’ Day but for every male birthday and Christmas present that I need to buy in the future!

    My favourites are the Bug and Mosquito Zapper and the BBQ Branding Iron.

  16. Jehad (Telstra employee) says:

    M@ -- NINJA COAT HOOKS!! I know what I want for my bday, now I just gotta find someone to buy them for me.

  17. M@ (Telstra Employee) says:

    It’s just one of my many haunts -- I’m a serial online shopper, I have so crazy stuff (almost anything can be used as a magic prop) that my wife has given up in despair.

    You want really cool stuff (but you’ll pay more for shipping) try:

    mmmm bacon lifestyle products….


  18. Gaby Phipps (Telstra employee) says:

    M@ -- love it even more than the other one! Everyone I know is getting bacon soap for Christmas!

  19. Paul B says:

    I’ve got to be honest and say that I have worse luck when I purchase things in bricks and mortar stores. At least with online shopping you don’t have an assistant standing hopefully by waiting for you to reach for your wallet. Also, the ease of which you can return to an online store (versus the hassle of getting back to a real store) take the pressure off making a poor on-the-spot decision!

  20. Gaby Phipps (Telstra employee) says:

    Good point Paul, I’ve had quite a few in-store experiences where I’ve been talked into something that either doesn’t fit, or looks terrible. At least online we can check the return policy easily before we purchase.

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.