THERE is a lot of fuss from the major stores about people buying things online.

To be honest I love the freedom of shopping 24 hours a day, sitting at home in my pyjamas some days, but it does have pitfalls.

Clothes shopping is a problem, unless you know the particular store’s sizing, but if, like me, you have found one you trust, you never need enter a clothes store again.

I have bought TVs to tape measures online, and am generally happy with the idea.

Let’s introduce a young woman to the story, let us call her Cecilia.

Cecilia had the urge to brew her own coffee at work. We are lucky that we have a proper gas cooker in the lunch room, and Cecilia decided she would buy one of those Italian/Greek/Turkish type of steel pots you heat on the gas and it all bubbles through.

Sounds like a perfect item for an internet sale.

Cecilia found a likely pot, guessed the right size and ordered online.

She keenly waited for the pot to arrive… and finally the big day arrived.

The box looked suspiciously small, and when the packing was removed the pot would be the size for the smallest of teddy bears.

Why they even make one that small is amazing.

So it was back online to order a larger size.

I think, but I am not sure, I suggested she go up a couple of sizes. But Cecilia just went up by one.

Another wait and the box arrived.

Guess what? It was a bit small.

Cecilia took it all in good spirit, but the pot was not up to scratch for a serious cup of java.

Now, with the vagaries of the internet, Cecilia gave it one more go for the right pot, but the ordering process snagged, and the order did not go through. It does happen.

Cecilia tried again to no avail.

Finally on the third attempt the order completed and she sat back to wait for the perfect pot.

As if by magic, the pot arrived and what’s more it was about the right size. Finally.

Then another pot of the same size arrived, and then a third.

Like buses, the one she wanted came in a batch with two more.

For a while she was happy with the thought of three pots, until she checked her credit card account.

It seems all three orders went through, as did the charges.

Last time I asked, Cecilia was negotiating refunds and returns, but at least she could have a coffee to calm her nerves.

– Steve Kendall
twitter@stevekendall1