7 Tips for Traditional and Online Shopping During the COVID outbreak

One of the marvels of the modern world is online shopping with two-day shipping on anything and everything you could ever want. However, the last few weeks have had a massive impact on online shopping, shipping, and traditional retail industries. To keep yourself and your family safe, here some simple online shopping tips you should keep in mind while trying to purchase items for your family.

Be Careful on New Websites

Just as you might examine a news site to see if it has truthful information, an online store should be carefully checked before your order anything. As you explore a plethora of online shopping options, look for indicators that the site is protecting your data and is safe to shop on.

  • Look for HTTPS in the address bar or a lock
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Return policy
  • Correct language
  • Reviews
  • Social Media following
  • Contact information

Although these can’t prove any websites are good or bad, they can make you more comfortable when you’re making the decision to purchasing something. Keep these simple online shopping tips in mind whenever you shop.

Keep Your Data Safe

Your personal data is important and if you’re not careful, it can be stolen. Be wary when you’re doing any online shopping and sites ask for birthdates or other personal data. There are times when this data makes sense, like when purchasing alcohol, but otherwise, it’s best to keep it to yourself. There are a lot of simple online shopping tips to protect your identity and personal information.

Be careful with your passwords, and make them as complicated as you can. Try to use numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols if you can. Auto-generated passwords that your browser makes can be extremely effective so long as you keep them someone safe in case you lose your browser data.

Finally, if you’re doing any online shopping and an online retailer asks you pay by sending money to a bank account, cash to an address or something similar, it may be best to walk away. These are not good ways to pay online. The best way to pay online is with a debit or credit card that has strong liability coverage and is easily monitored for any problematic transactions.

If you’re worried about how slow or difficult your internet is being, keep in mind that if you have a large family, your router may be at capacity while everyone is sharing it. If you continue to have internet issues, do not hesitate to contact your provider.

Be Mindful of Shipping Times

Currently there is a spike in panic buying and the purchasing of medical supplies. Many online retailers like Amazon are slowing delivery times of nonessential items in order to fulfill essential good orders to families across the country quickly. Amazon may be known for its two-day shipping policy but that is out the window for obvious reasons. Most deliveries are taking anywhere from 5-14 days to arrive depending on the item and where you live of course. Some wait times for nonessential items like personal tablets, phones, and smartwatches, as well as items like clothes, shoes and more are delayed even longer.

When ordering online, keep a few simple online shopping tips to keep in mind. If you are trying to get your hands on medical supplies, or cleaning supplies, be aware many online shopping retailers, have removed these items altogether and those essential workers like healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and nursing home/elder care workers need those supplies to keep vulnerable populations as safe as possible. Once you get your delivery, disinfect the packaging before you open it and then disinfect the item you bought, especially if it is a used item. If you’re worried about getting sick from the delivery person, wait a few hours before picking up your mail or package as the virus isn’t viable in the air for more than 3 hours.

Be Wary of Any “Too Good to be True Offers”

Email offers should already be taken with a grain of salt, but right now many people are falling for offers for medical supplies and cleaning products that are completely false. If you don’t recognize where an email came from, copy and paste the link into an incognito web page and see if the site seems trustworthy. However, any offers for masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other medical supplies are probably bogus as most of these products have already been bought up essential businesses like healthcare services and retail services. Any offers to say you can get them in bulk are most likely false. If you’re unsure whether a source is trustworthy, try to find any reviews or news about the online shopping retailer. If you cannot or it’s difficult, it may be best to avoid doing business with them. If you still don’t know if an offer is real, you can try looking for simple online shopping tips about email offers.

Remember You Can DIY Anything

Many items you may want to purchase can easily be made at home. There are a lot of DIY supplements for all kinds of items. You can even make facemasks at home very easily using a bandana, hair ties, and a coffee filter/paper towel.

  1. Start with a handkerchief and two hair ties. Rubber bands are okay as well, although they will be less comfortable.
  2. Fold the handkerchief in half, along a horizontal axis, and make a nice crease.
  3. Place piece of paper towel or the coffee filter at the center of the handkerchief. Fold the top-down and the bottom up, so that the coffee filter or paper towel rests in the fold.
  4. Place your first elastic about one-third of the way in from the edge of the handkerchief. Place the second elastic one-third of the way in from the other side. The two elastics should be about one hand-width apart.
  5. Fold the left side in toward the center and then fold the right side in toward the center, tucking the right side into the left-side flap.

You don’t need to wear it at home or in the car unless you’re with people outside your regular family group. Wear it any public place such as grocery stores, and essential jobs. Avoid touching the front of it in case you breathed in infected droplets when taking it off and always Remove and dispose of the coffee filter/paper towel insert. Place the rest of the mask in soapy water, soak it for two minutes, then wash and rinse and wash your hands, and disinfect with bleach or alcohol anything you touched after taking off the mask. Never reuse a mask without washing it first. Do not forget to reinsert the filter/towel. You find a lot more simple online shopping tips and DIYs with a simple google search if you need to make something.

Don’t Worry About Big Projects

Right now a lot of services are currently closed. If you were thinking of getting plumbing work done or looking into roofing services, set that aside right now and work on other projects. With spring coming it’s a great time to clean up your yard, reorganize your kitchen, clean your closets and carpets and more. Larger scope home projects should wait for now. The last thing you want during this time is more stress and people you don’t know in and around your house. If you have a problem that needs immediate attention, however, be sure to have anyone who enters your home disinfect their hands and disinfect any surfaces they touch. If they seem ill, do not let them into your home.

If you were planning a move, make sure any movers you hire wash their hands or wear gloves while transporting your goods. And make sure to thoroughly disinfect your new home when you arrive.

Keep Grocery Shopping to a Minimum

If you’re used to running out to the grocery store once a week, it may be time to cut back. Grocery stores are essential however, due to the number of people who go in and out every day, they can easily spread COVID. Some simple online shopping tips and/or traditional grocery shopping tips include:

  • Wear a facemask if you must leave home
  • Go to the store as little as possible
  • Go alone. Do not bring your children, family, or friends
  • Use an online shopping service to get essentials delivered
  • Respect store hours reserved for those at high risk
  • Respect the social distancing requirements and stay around 6ft away from people
  • Only touch the items you’re buying, and don’t touch everything on a shelf
  • If there is hand sanitizer, use it before and after leaving the store
  • Buy non-perishable foods and frozen foods
  • Be quick and don’t linger
  • Pay with credit or debit if possible. Cash and coins could be handled by sick people
  • Be respectful of store staff and any new store policies
  • Disinfect packaging
  • Rinse any produce but do not use soap as it can be harmful to ingest
  • Be especially cautious when picking up prescriptions and supplements

Be Careful When Ordering Delivery From Restaurants

The FDA has stated that there is no evidence to support COVID-19 being associated with food or packaging. That doesn’t mean that food transmission is impossible. COVID-19 viral loads have been found in the gastrointestinal tract so to make your food deliveries foolproof just assume that the chef or delivery person coughed COVID-19 droplets all over your food and packaging. COVID lives for 3 hours in droplets, 24 hours on paper or cardboard, and 3 days on plastic, so assume the worst. Remember to keep in mind the following simple online shopping tips when you get your nest delivery.

If you can, order hot foods because similar COVID viruses to COVID-19 die at 149 degrees Fahrenheit. So anything that can be reheated is safer than cold foods where the virus will just be dormant. Limit contact with the deliverer be having your food left at the door and when you leave a tip in cash, tape it to the door. Once you have your food, don’t get distracted by how food it smells, empty all containers onto plates or into other dishes and toss out the delivery packaging. Alternatively, you can disinfect the packaging and keep your other food safe by storing any delivered food in a soft side cooler and not in your refrigerator. Once the food has been stored or is ready to eat, wash your hands with soap and hot water. If you want to be sure, you can microwave your food to 149 degrees to kill any germs in your food. Finally, even if you ordered finger food, eat with a fork and knife to limit contact from hands to your face.

Whether you’re shopping in person or doing some online shopping, keep yourself safe. The simple online shopping tips you should remember most are: disinfect what you can, wash your hands, be aware of scams and suspicious websites and don’t be upset by long delivery times. And finally, don’t forget that this won’t last forever.

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