The world is a store window as you log in to buy. Online shopping has made a different degree of shopaholics of us all. From clothes and shoes, to books and electronics, bags and furniture, people are buying up

Who can resist the phrase “Flat 50 per cent off”? And if that offer is floating temptingly in front of you, on your laptop, at home, or on the office system during a break, and is just a few clicks away from being yours, how do you resist?

If you’re the kind that wakes up each day to check mail, and then immediately gravitates towards the promotional shopping offers of the day in your inbox, you surely qualify as an online shopaholic. If you’re the kind that regularly buys something that you don’t need but just want because you like what you see, you’re getting there, to shopaholics anonymous. Bhavna Shah, a 19-year-old student, says “There are at least 10 offers every day in my inbox that are tempting. My eyes just pop at the word ‘discount’ or ‘up to 70 per cent off’. How can I resist that? Specially when you don’t even have to step out of the house for it; I can shop at night! And almost every site offers free home delivery. My eyes rove on anything from sunglasses to accessories, jewellery, and of course, clothes! I end up buying many things I don’t really ‘need’, but what the hell, when I get it, I feel good.” Initially she did worry about “what if it’s not what I wanted”, but now with returns becoming easy peasy, and secure shopping gateways, she’s gotten bolder, she says, even when it comes to electronic buys. Her mum is, she says, quite surprisingly a co-shopaholic (“I convince her that she is saving money by buying me these things online when there are discounts!”), and of course credit-card provider!

Meera Anshuman, a banking executive, buys books, DVDs and headphones online regularly. “I hate shopping. But this is so easy, and tempting. At one point I would buy books as often as twice a week and started giving the office address for delivery because my husband would go mad receiving my books at home! Now I consciously control myself and don’t visit my favourite site. Because once I enter the site, there’s no way I’ll log out without shopping. The thing with books is, you may not find what you’re looking for in a bookstore, but you’re sure to get it here. And with good discounts.”

And who says it’s only women who can shop till they drop? Karthik K., a 30-year-old tech lead at a software firm says he shops compulsively every week, shattering the stereotype that its women who tend to do that. “But there’s a difference. Men usually shop with a budget in mind!” he says in the most serious tone. And his budget? “Every month, I set aside about Rs. 5,000 for online clothes shopping for me and my wife. She picks what she likes and sends me the link and I buy it for her.” But electronics — mainly phones, memory cards, hard disks and computer peripherals — are what really interest him. “Electronics are the planned buys; clothes are unplanned. It’s way better shopping online because you get big bargains on electronics, and you get the latest products two days after they are launched, even before they hit retail stores. And I don’t waste time going out.” In the last six months, all his clothes shopping has been online!

Vanishree P. Acharya, a 44-year-old pharmaceutical quality consultant, has been shopping online regularly for the last two years. “Yes, I’m a compulsive shopper. Nowadays I shop once or sometimes even twice a week online. Even offline I was a shopaholic! With the online shopping spree I am on, the other shopping has reduced.” She was weary and started off with books and online subscriptions to scientific societies in her field of work. “Slowly I became more adventurous and I’ve graduated to buying shoes for my boys, DVDs, electronics, and laptop accessories. Where there’s no challenge of size or how it looks on me, I’ll buy online,” she states pretty clearly.

You must have that friend in your midst who claims she shops online so often, the delivery guy is now her friend and he knows the address by heart!