January 29, 2023

Nonnette C. Bennett
“Stay safe!” they say. “Stay home and just order your needs online,” the small businesses encourage in these pandemic times. For many housebound families, this practice has saved them time and effort. For those who sell food online, it can be a nightmare when the joker caused a loss and not a gain. Is ordering and delivering goods online a good thing?
Gigi Ozaeta Maranan, business consultant, has cited the advantages of delivery service. First,no need to go out. Everything is at your fingertips. Second, you are helping small businesses.
The disadvantages are: First, delivery fees could be costly if the seller or the buyer are far from each other since the fees depend on the distance. Second,the goods may not meet the expectations of the buyer considering that you don’t really see what you are getting until it is delivered. Third,buying on line is always risky, especially if the seller does not accept cash on delivery (COD).
“How can businesses and delivery services protect themselves from bogus/prank buyers? 1. No COD. Payment is either done thru on line banking, GCash, Paypal, etc. But this is a big disadvantage because majority of buyers prefer COD. 2. There is really no way you can detect bogus/prank buyers beforehand. Many use fake names and addresses.”
A victim of a prankster with a fake name and address, Gigi’s three children who own an online food business were lucky enough that friends were happy to take the undelivered orders. Gigi said that they did not let the courier pay for the undelivered goods in fairness to him.
“The buyer gets their own food delivery service to pick up the food. The charge depends on the distance. The cheapest is P100. It could go up to P250 for places like Camp Dangwa, Ben Cab area, etc.” according to Gigi. In this way, it is guaranteed that the buyer is really ordering the goods.
Florence Ibarra, mother and online teacher, says, “I personally think that ordering from Shopee and Lazada delivered by J&T and LBC and the like has no logistical problems, save for when sellers do not ship out the same items as what they advertise online.
“On the other hand, ordering food from local restaurants and other products from other business establishments through couriers and delivery men have been problematic. Prank calls/orders are being made pretty much like back in the 70s and 80s when people made calls to hospitals, government offices and funeral parlors all for the kick of it. We didn’t have access to smartphones and the internet and various other platforms back in the day and so the “fun” or “joke lang” experience was basically harmless.
“Fast forward 2020, the world’s more technologically advanced and now we’re faced with a pandemic. Albeit, people seem to find comic relief in seeing delivery people being at the receiving end of their sick joke.
“I personally believe that the use of caller and second party ID is necessary, but most importantly – to those who make these prank calls – don’t be assholes! I’ve seen delivery guys ask for non-existent addresses in my barangay and my heart breaks for them because they have to pay for whatever was ordered,” she observes.
Jane Pangilinan, mother, said, “Usually naman mga friends ko na yung mga inoorderan ko online kaya safe for any prank. So far, di pa naman ako napaprank. Of course, I also have some bad experiences lalo sa benta online. Some products don’t meet your expectations. Yun bang expectation vs reality.”
Lino Tabangin, photography enthusiast, has these observations, “Shopping online is still a new sphere here in the Philippines especially this time of the pandemic.  Though online shopping has existed for so many years, there are still a lot of things to learn and to be careful of.  Not everyone on the internet is honest and truthful.”  
“Many online shops like Lazada and Shoppee can be easily accessed if one is to buy a pair of shoes or a shirt, and quite easy to search for. But before ordering other considerations are the brand, budget, color and size,” he added.
He further stated: “Many factors are to be considered on online purchases, of course the price as discussed and at least should be the convenience it offers that is if you are on a tight budget.  Do research on the credibility of the shops, the longer the shop exists the more legitimate it is. If the price seems to be a steal… walk out from the offer.  A Rolex Watch will never sell for the price of a Timex. But, no matter how careful one is, there will always be bad deals.”
My limited experience with online shopping has been almost the same as the above. I can only end this piece with my best experiences with Anchorwheel food delivery that delivers on time and Just Bake Coz because my daughter likes their service.
So far, other online sites are not too reliable in terms of delivery time or quality of the product. And as Lino observes, if you look around before you order online, you might find it cheaper in a local store. There are plus and minuses to online ordering and deliveries in this pandemic. If you find reliable services, please share them generously by reviewing them online. Most of all, “support local businesses” of friends that you know.