Shoppers grabbing bargains on social media


AWAY from the hustle and bustle of busy town centres, it appears as though hundreds of Barbadians are doing their Christmas shopping online from the comfort of their own homes, with transactions being made right on the island.
Social media, particularly the popular Facebook network is a hive of activity as the countless sales groups are allowing persons to buy products, trade and haggle a wide range of items for the holidays.
From toys, perfume sets, chocolates, clothing, bicycles, rugs, cell phones, turkey hams, spa packages and jewellery, the buy/sell groups are creating another avenue for local shoppers. The groups range from buying, trading, swapping for all persons, be it man, woman, boy and girl of all sizes. Animals are not left out, with pages being dedicated to the sale of animals, particularly dogs.
Persons also appear to be taking advantage of “gently used” items, as many homeowners try to de-clutter their homes for the season, selling their used items for a fraction of the original cost. In the true spirit of Christmas there is a Free Cycle group which allows persons to donate their unwanted items, in good condition, free of cost as well as other charitable groups accumulating items for families in need.
One shopper told The Barbados Advocate that she preferred to peruse the groups and make purchases because the prices are much better than the stores, since they didn’t put on the high mark-ups to make a profit or have to pay rent.
Another online shopper said she liked the ability to haggle with the seller, securing even more discounts. She also commended the fact that persons were often willing to deliver the items to her door step or they could meet at a place that was most convenient, thereby saving time and energy. Unlike heavy shipping and handling fees from overseas sellers and websites, local buyers can pay a small fee for transportation, or it can be delivered free of cost.
While this appears to be the easiest way to do some Christmas shopping, persons in the past have been scathed by unscrupulous sellers, particularly as it relates to electrical items that knowingly were not working, or were on the verge of malfunctioning when they were sold. 
In many cases, their Facebook profiles were immediately discontinued after they collected the money.
Administrative staff who attempt to keep these pages running smoothly can be seen posting rules and safety tips to keep their members safe. Persons who have had bad experiences also take to these pages and blast the guilty party, essentially black-listing them, recognising that hundreds of discerning persons visit these sites daily and eagerly read reviews and complaints.
Group admin, urges persons not to meet in dark or lonely places or by themselves, recognising that some persons may post these fake profiles in order to lure unsuspecting buyers into a trap.  (JH)

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