Clicking and Linking Madness

I run down the basement and think... What did I come down here for? This is not an isolated incident. And I know I am not alone, because my friends have told me they do this, too. I have been doing it all my life, so it is not an age thang.

I prefer to distribute dysfunction equally throughout my life, thank you (ugggh!)

My father identified this issue in me when I was young, but I knew he did these things, too. Pssst, I will tell you a story (he would allow me tell it)...

I was about eight months pregnant at Riis Park beach, and I was relaxed on a blanket, like a beached whale, when Dad was serene, staring out to the ocean while pulling his bathing suit down, and I mean down. I screamed (like somebody being stabbed to death) while his boon companion, Dotty, cackled her butt off.

It was quite a horrific spectacle.

Dad said, "Ooooooooh, woe!" and pulled it back up. Too late.

I hyperventilated and nearly gave birth from the stress and did not speak for the remainder of the day. But as he explained, he thought that he still wore his beige shorts over his beige bathing suit. Problem number one: never wear beige shorts over a beige bathing suit when you easily distract. 

Well, anyway, I noticed the internet is a labyrinth of distraction (the insight which incited this rant.)

Give me fifteen minutes, and I will produce six to eight open browser tabs of utter intrigue. The first click is what I really went for. All the rest are feeding the information junkie part of me... hyperlinks that I assume are in-depth sources of information (plus three acres and a mule!)

I am sure there is a diagnosis for this (hyper-something -- thus the word hyperlink.) But I can justify every single one of my dang tabs. I cannot tell you what they were at day's end, but I know that vapor lock occurred -- the cyber space cloud where my original intent is called into question: Where was I going? I mean, I began looking at dresses and ended up on Etsy. (If I was REALLY dysfunctional I would have hyperlinked FOR you!) And because I am on a tear here I cannot do it this time, but I will do so in future entries.

Yesterday I made an online purchase that cranked all this to the next level...

After I completed my order and entered my billing information, I thought the purchase was made. It was seamless. 

I clicked "next" which should have brought up an invoice, but instead I was led through a cyber mauling of up-sells. Now I doubted I'd completed the sale.

One false click and gawd knows I'd have purchased membership to a travel club, a new magazine subscription, or 25 bath towels for $10. I have experienced all three at different times. (The mail order bath towels was when I was a naive newlywed, thank you, and I could have fit them all in a coin purse!)

I knew it was a legitimate company, but this felt awful. Where was the "end this shopping hell" button?

I read the small print carefully. Then I saw useful, well-priced stationery. So I got just that one thing, okay? I know, I encouraged the behavior I'd been damning. This is how retail works, and, heck, it works!

There was no end in sight to the offers and clicking stress, so I finally clicked "X" and ended it. I killed my own sale, maybe. The heck with it!

The invoice promptly arrived in an email.

Even if it was a well-priced upsell, it was the end of the day, and as shopping experiences go, that one made me feel like I'd just gone through airport security and had been squeezed, swiped, frisked, scanned and tossed on a conveyer belt (where I now needed a comatose nap.)

But now I know, after the purchase, exit early and do not suffer the jungle of upsells (unless I want to.)

Today I am trying a new tool (emphasis on "trying".) It is called a "Controlled multi-tab browsing."

Yes, this really exists.

It is not like a child proof lock on the medicine cabinet or a lock on the liquor cabinet, which a common hammer or garbage pail will bust open. The controlled multi-tab browsing tool just serves as an early, friendly reminder: "You have decided not to open more than (3) tabs," as in,  What is my intention? 

I will keep you posted.