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October 07, 1999 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

128 -- The Ochigan Daily -- Weekenc tc. Magazine -- Thursday, obey 7, 199c

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,a The Michigan Daily --Weekend, etc, Magazine -Sursday, October 7, 2999 B

Online shoppers experience the mall at their fingertips

Linking up online results in relationships, headaches

By Megan Kennedy
Fsr the Daily
All i takes is a flip of the television
switch and it is immediately obvious that
the Internet is everywhere. To unearth
information about virtually any product
on the market, just go to fill-in-the-
blank.com: Kellogg.com, budweiser.com,
cocacola.com, even tampax.com.
Nowadays, any product that can be
bought in a store can also be purchased
online. With a click of the mouse and
glance at a credit card, University students

can buy the world if they have the credit
limit and the inclination. They can do
their banking over the Intemet or pur-
chase a car over the Web. They can gro-
cery shop, buy birthday gifts and make
travel arrangements. In the present-day
technology-driven world more than ever,
it is possible to polish off all those monot-
onous weekly errands without ever leav-
ing the comfort of one's own home.
So are University students taking
advantage of this luxury? Is e-commerce
really as simple as it's pimped out to be on

the commercials, or are there hidden costs
and ramifications? What products are
best to buy on-line, and which ones
should be left to the old-fashioned tech-
niques? To answer these questions, stu-
dents might have to doa little bit of inter-
net shopping of their own.
The first mission might be to pick up
some new clothes. Early on in the game,
catalog companies such as J. Crew and
Victoria's Secret naturally evolved to the
availabilty of their businesses over the
Internet: Land's End even has online sales
reps who guide the customer over the
phone to the product that they are looking
for (provided, of course, that the shopper
has two phone lines). In these cases, inter-
net prices and catalog prices remain com-
paratively equivalent. Recently, though,
many mainstream clothing manufacturers
have hopped aboard the interaet band-
wagon and begun to sling their goods via
the Web. The readiness of the market for a
new "mallard green funnel neck" sweater
from the Gap offered the chance to see if
a good deal could be had on the Web. At

gap.com the sweater was on sale for
$39.50 plus $5.00 shipping and handling.
However, employees answering the phone
at the store's Briarwood Mall location
were eager to inform callers that it was
only $34.50 there. A little more shopping
around at various other Internet retailers
illustrates that, in general, it is almost
always cheaper to go to the real store to
make your clothing purchases.While it
may be a little less convenient to actually
get up and trek to the mall, there invari-
ably tends to be a sale somewhere that
makes items less expensive. Additionally,
it's always an added bonus to be able to try
on clothes before purchasing them.
Another essential stop on the informa-
tion superhighway is CDNOW.com. Here
e-shoppers can search for music by genre,
or pick a specific artist. Those with time
to kill can listen to songs or read bios
about the bands, and the top 100 discs
from each genre are always 30 percent
off. Music mavens in the market for just
one CD may find their best bet to be a
jaunt to their local record store. The price

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of shipping and handling will cost more
than there is to save online. For more avid
music listeners, however, CDNOW and
other on-line music marketers are a much
better deal. "It's difficult to control myself
because it is entirely too easy" said LSA
senior Amy Holland. "Just point and
click! The only problem is, I don't feel
entirely comfortable giving my credit card
number out to any 'joe' on the net, but
CDNOW has made an effort to ensure
that my personal information is kept com-
pletely confidential" Discs that range in
price from S15.99-$18.99 average about
$3 cheaper on the Web, and compulsive
clicking is not a worry: No matter how
many CDs are piled up on one purchase,
shipping and handling never exceeds
$4.97, making major music purchases
much more affordable over the net.
Then there's engineering junior Peter
Andeer, who shops for music using less.
conventional Web-techniques. An avid
hip-hop fan, Pete likes to listen to local
music from other areas. Short of physical-
ly traveling all over the country, the only
way that he can do this is from web sites
such as hiphopsite.com. "To get the
records I want without using the Intemet,"
Andeer said, "I would have to go to the
record store and bug them to order the
tracks for me. Then I'd have to wait forev-
er until they got it in. It's a real process.
This way, it's much less painless:'
Recently, the computer moguls at Dell
revolutionized computer purchasing over
the interaet with a concept called virtual
customization. Now, when a customer
wants to purchase a computer, they can
embark upon the Internet and pick and
choose the options they want, virtually
creating their own model of computer.
According to Keith Elder, director of e-
commerce sales at AffordableComput-
ers.com, Internet sites that sell CDs and
books usually only offer a couple of dol-
See SHOPPING, Page 168

From Introductions to Face-to-Face
With America Online (AOL), AOL
Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, chat
rooms on the World Wide Web and other
similar services, meeting people from all
over the world is only a few key strokes
away. Initial conversations, though,
aren't always necessarily for the sake of
creating a relationship. In fact, some-
times the seeds of a friendship are plant-
ed unintentionally.
"I never really go online looking for a
relationship, said Aaron, an
Engineering senior. "I usually do it when
I'm bored. If you're up at 4 a.m., online
is the easiest place to find people to talk
to. Sometimes, though, I've gotten to
know the people a little more and gone
from there."
"When I'm bored, sometimes I'll
search the AOL profiles for people who
go to the University or who live nearby,'
said Katie, an LSA sophomore. "Ive
become friends with several people that
Meeting face-to-face, however, is a
different story.
"It's really nerve-wracking," Katie
confessed. "They like your personality,
but if they don't like your looks, will
they snub you? You never know."
With all the publicity indicating online
sex offenders on the prowl and crimes
connected to people meeting from the
Internet, some are worried, while others
are unconcerned.
"The only way I think it would be safe
to meet someone in person was if you
had a concrete way of knowing if the
person really is who they say they are,"
said Michelle. "Even then, Id only meet

them in a social situation - not by
Aaron disagreed. "I used to think it
was a risk, but if you really think about
it, life is just dangerous. Is meeting
someone from online any more or less
dangerous from meeting someone in a
bar and going home with them? People
are always under the impression that the
Internet is full of psychos. True, there are
some, but is it really any worse than the
general population? The Internet is

'anonymous,' but what do you know
about that guy or girl in a bar, other than
superficial things?"
Endings: Happy or Bitter?
Intentional or accidental, strictly
online or eventually face-to-face, how do
online relationships generally turn out?
Like all relationships, each is unique, but
an online foundation gives maintenance
and breakups a different twist.


Photolilustration iy Allison can1
Online relationships can make it easier to keep in touch.

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By Cortney Dueweke
Daily Arts Writer
Rejection: It's something everybody's
experienced and nobody likes. It's what
holds people back from approaching that
attractive girl in bio class and keeps them
from initiating a conversation with that
gorgeous guy at a party. The fear of
rejection is a leading contributor to self-
consciousness, nerves and tension.
So what if there was a way to meet
people and begin relationships without
jittery first introductions and awkward
early conversations?
As society becomes increasingly
dependent on and fond of technology,
more and more people have found what
seems on the surface to be the perfect
device with which to meet other singles
- the Internet. Online relationships
come with their own sets of pros and
cons, problems and risks, howesver-
and many students have discovered this
Anonymous Appeal and Drawbacks
The first and best question is "Why?"
For many, the thought of sparking a
romance with someone via an imperson-
al machine is ludicrous. For others, the
inherent anonymity is a major part of the
"A lot of people find it easier to type
things than to say them aloud, and you
can express your emotions without hav-
ing to see people's reactions," said
Michelle, an LSA sophomore who, like
the rest of those interviewed for this arti-

cle, did not want her last name revealed.
"You get to know someone from the
inside out and things aren't necessarily
based on physical qualities."
Like Michelle, many of those who
have been in online relationships are
enticed by the prospect of someone
admiring them for their personality
instead of their looks. Unfortunately,
practically anyone can easily hide their
true personality behind a keyboard and
computer screen.
"Obviously, not everyone has good
intentions,' said Michelle, "and it's easy
for people to get the wrong idea about
what each person has planned for the

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