Students decide how to shop this season

By Bridget Maiellaro

During the holiday season, customers must decide whether to purchase gifts in person at local stores or via the internet. Since there are pros and cons for each type of shopping, students at the University of Illinois have mixed opinions on the subject.

Due to identity theft and other forms of embezzlement, shopping on the Internet is just as dangerous as shopping in a store or by mail, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In a recent survey conducted by Sun Microsystems, one third of adults know someone who has been a victim of identity theft.

As a result, many students such as Haruka Honda, freshman in LAS, prefer local shopping.

“My parents always tell me horror stories about how people accidentally give away the wrong information and computer hackers do what they want with it,” Honda said.

Other students, like Shweta Malladi, sophomore in LAS, believe that in person shopping is more personal. In fact, she is willing to stand in line for hours, as long as she remembers it is for her friends and family.

“On-line gifts aren’t as meaningful,” Malladi said. “I’d rather go searching for the perfect gift in person because it shows that I put in more time and effort.”

Another reason why college students prefer to shop locally is because there are more benefits. Brandon Lernor, sophomore in LAS, said he feels that going to the mall may not save time, but it saves money.

“You can see the exact items you purchase in person before you actually buy them, and paying tax is cheaper in most cases than paying for shipping,” Lernor said

However, local shopping can also be dangerous as customers flood malls and other stores, resulting in injuries and pit-pocketing scandals. According to Phil Kadner of the Daily Southtown, a suburban Chicago newspaper, the number of shopping cart accidents resulting in fatal injuries triple during the holiday season.

Consequently, students like Joey Cocco, junior in Engineering, are turning to on-line shopping. In fact, according to the survey by Sun Microsystems, two thirds of the respondents plan on shopping via the internet during the holiday season.

“No parking. No lines. No cold,” Cocco said. “It’s pretty simple.”

However, Cocco did shop at his local Wal-Mart on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving because he wanted to save money on a television and digital video disc that was on sale for $100.

“It was rough,” Cocco said. “They ran out. Then this other lady and I saw an employee with a big cart full of them, so we took the TV’s off the cart before he restocked them. I refuse to go back out after that!”

Jim Payonk, junior in LAS, said he feels that shopping locally is a waste of time and energy.

“Waiting in line is senseless,” he said. “You might not get as many deals on-line, but you are able to keep your sanity.”

Meanwhile, other students do not see a difference between shopping at the mall or on the internet, said Tiffany St. James, sophomore in LAS.

St. James said she believes that each kind of shopping has both positive and negative aspects.

“It depends on who I am shopping for,” she said. “I tend to buy my closer friends and family members their gifts at the mall or other stores, while I just order the remainder over the internet.”