I'm suffering an online jinx this week - a reminder that shopping on the internet is not always the convenient, time-saving winner over bricks-and-mortar.

As soon as I started my holidays on New Year's Day, I began to feel the urge for retail therapy. I don't know whether it was the fact my family opted not to do Christmas presents, or whether the holidays just unleashed in me some consumerist sense of entitlement.

Whatever the case, in the week after 2015 began, I went on an online shopping bender.

First, there was a pair of pants and dress (justification "I have nothing to wear to work"), then two sun umbrellas, an outdoor table and bench seats.


The last two purchases were warranted, I told myself, because I'm in a new house and there is little in the way of places to sit, eat, perch a drink, or seek shade outdoors.

But, as my courier packages rolled in this week, my anticipation gave way to irritation, headaches replacing delight.

With the first purchase, the pants were wrong, and while I liked the dress, it still had the security tag attached. No wearing that one yet.

The two sun umbrellas (and how badly have we needed shade in the Bay's brilliant sunshine this week?) ... well, one arrived and it was great. The other, though, was missing from the delivery and remains to be seen.

The outdoor table and bench seats, meanwhile, are hopefully on their way. I chose them because they are made of sustainable New Zealand pine rather than the chain-store kwila or teak I fear is destroying the Indonesian rainforest.

But, despite feeling good about my find, the purchase started to feel like a hassle after a series of emails over several days.

The final straw was when I went to pay and the bank account number was wrong. More emails, more time spent in front of a screen.

These are all first-world problems I know, but that doesn't make them any less annoying.

When you consider that 1.9 million New Zealanders, or 56 per cent of us, now shop online - and the figure is increasing all the time - it is a process online retailers would be wise to get right.

And that is particularly true in our region.

The most recent Nielsen Online Retail Report recorded growth in online buying of 8.6 per cent in the Bay, higher than the national figure of 6 per cent.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported that while the majority of that increased spending was due to a rise in spending on international websites, two-thirds of our online purchases were made domestically.

I am a case in point: Two of my purchases were from New Zealand websites and I decided to shop online because it offered greater variety and convenience. As a single mother, I also like online shopping because it means heavy, hard-to-carry items can be delivered to my door.

Despite the phone calls and emails now needed to sort out my flawed and missing purchases, I will continue to shop online.

And while the moral of the story may to be to keep my credit card in my wallet, I hope my next online shopping spree will go a lot more smoothly.

-Marcel Currin is taking a break and will be back soon. Juliet Rowan is a reporter for Bay of Plenty Times Weekend