Not so long
ago, a great job opportunity came my way. So, after careful
consideration and with much regret, I decided to move from my
beloved New York City to the Princeton, New Jersey, area. However,
trying to uphold my reputation as a true geek, I was determined to
facilitate my move using as many Internet services as possible.
You see, after getting hooked on
e-trading and e-dating, it was only a matter of time before I
started suspecting that the Web might work just as well for doing
things on a larger scale.
And if there was no better place than the Internet to shop for a
DVD player, maybe buying a car online wouldn't be such a bad idea,
It's Driving Me
|A D V E R T I S E M E N T|
At the time, of all the sites that I sampled, CarsDirect.com seemed to be
the leader of the pack. Furthermore, it's one of the few places
where you don't have to go through the hassle of waiting for a quote
Besides, if a dot-com has to "get back to you" like those sneaky
real-life dealers with their infamous "trips to the sales manager,"
then why bother shopping online in the first place?
Unfortunately, the "golden era" -- when they were supposedly
giving cars away -- has passed. No matter which model I was looking
at, I could always get a significantly better bargain from a local
dealer. So, ultimately, I ended up buying my new Eclipse the
Next in line was shopping for auto insurance. I tried filling out
numerous online applications but got mostly spam in return. Overall,
it turned out that soliciting quotes over the phone was still a lot
quicker than doing it online.
Once again, a random insurance agent I found in the Yellow Pages
got me a far better deal than all those phony sites that promised to
"save me money."
No Place Like
Then I started searching for a condo. However, it wasn't long
before I realized that any attempt to look up properties online
would be futile.
Simply put, anything worth considering was sold before it ever
made it into the online classifieds. Maybe the situation isn't so
bad in other parts of the country, but around here, relying on
online listings was a sure way to be left out in the street.
In my last effort to try to utilize Internet services, I turned
for a quote on a mortgage. Day in and day out, I
had listened to the company's advertising on the radio, boasting
about a "virtual marketplace of lenders."
I went ahead and signed up, only to discover that instead of
sending me the promised "four offers within hours," they took almost
a whole week to reject me outright.
Now, being rejected for a loan by a particular institution isn't
a rare occurrence. What surprised me was that none of the multiple
banks they supposedly enlisted could offer me anything.
Actually, now that I think of it, this was probably the first
time I was ever rejected for a secured loan of any kind.
Additionally, that rejection stood in sharp contrast with every
individual mortgage company I contacted directly, all of which
seemed eager to do business with me.
At that point, I concluded that the Web had ultimately failed me.
So, when I went shopping for homeowner's insurance, I didn't even
bother trying to do it online. My faith has been shattered.
Besides, instead of dealing with faceless, poorly implemented
computerized systems, I got to meet a few rather nice people. Well,
except for that lawyer who handled my mortgage papers.
Anyway, just when I needed online services the most, none of them
seemed to do me any good. I was in a rather desperate position,
being new to the area, lonely and disoriented. I thought the
Internet would prove to be a blessing.
Instead, I ended up wasting a lot of time dealing with
ineffective services run by immature companies.
So, the next time you hear somebody telling you they can do
everything online, take it with a grain of salt. The Internet
still has a long, long way to go.