I've become addicted to online shopping. Not buying — just shopping.
I tend to amble about the Internet, checking prices here, perusing rebates over yonder, browsing bids on auction sites. Occasionally, I'll make a purchase but not before examining scores of deals to select an absolute bargain.
On the Web, the customer is king. That's worth something in these days of inattentive or surly service.
I recently purchased an external hard drive for my computer to hold the photos and music and files that I've accumulated and the vast quantities I plan to obtain in the coming years.
Unfortunately, the day after I ordered the device, I was back online checking to see if I should be suffering from buyer's remorse.
It's gotten so bad that I'm worried that someone might buy me some kind of electronic gizmo for my birthday or for Christmas that I could have found much cheaper through my online bargain-hunting expertise.
Although electronics remains the most common online mark-down item, the fever is spreading into other areas of commerce.
Last year for the first time, Americans spent more online for clothing than they did for computers. This year, 10 percent of clothing sales are expected to occur via the Internet.
Mainstream retailers are becoming more adept at online marketing. Free shipping, liberal exchange and return policies and interfaces that offer detailed and numerous views of merchandise attract business.