Online shopping

How do you do online shopping? I am currently trying to find the best way to do it for me. I dislike Amazon and every other retailer that has loads of trackers and always signs my email up with spam.

Recently I was shopping on New Egg and for all my orders I used a burner email with Prepaid Visa’s. I really don’t want my real email or real Credit card info in the next New Egg data breach. I also don’t like Prepaid Visa’s they have a $5.95 “Purchase Charge” for any cards $100 and up. Also they don’t let you spend the cards on anything that isn’t US based. It’s been a real hassle buying different PC parts on multiple split prepaid cards.

I don’t like giving my real name for orders to my house. Most times I am asked for a name, email and phone number. I really don’t want my phone number on the packages getting shipped either.

I thought about using fake names that sound real for ordering but I live in such a small area and everyone knows everyone. If I wrote Jane Doe on my next order I am afraid that my local post office would send the package back.

I was wondering what you do when buying things online. Is there something that I could be doing better or am I stuck with this hassle. I really hate using Amazon for how awful they are and everyone else isn’t much better. Stallman has a good list of reasons not to use Amazon https://stallman.org/amazon.html

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I personally love using Amazon, and find Richard Stallman’s luddism ridiculous. Amazon is far more respectful of me as a customer than my local “independent” bookshop, and practices much less censorship.

All I do with them is use a “disposable” email address. Although I was a bit miffed when they forcefully linked all my international accounts at various local branches of Amazon, and forced me to use, first the same username, then the same password. Without telling me (my identifiers just failed).

I also use virtual Visa card numbers – but those don’t make me invisible to Amazon, since they are tied to my plastic card. They just give me some peace of mind.

Since your requirements are somewhat extreme, you might, if you live in the United States, read Michael Bazzell’s books. He covers the problem of physical shipping.

Welcome Genaro!

I would also recommend finding a credit card company that does virtual card numbers. These can be setup to be time limited to expire in a month or whenever you want. They can also have a specific credit limit.

My other thought was to use the Amazon Hub lockers for your shipping concerns. It may be a bit of a hassle if you don’t live in a big city, but as you said online shopping is already a hassle for you. Another option would be to get a PO box in another town. But shipping to a PO box is not always possible and depends on the policies of the online store. You will probably also need to get a credit card that is billed to that PO box so it matches your shipping address for online orders.

Firstly, if possible, buy local with cash. Even though I assume you already do so it’s worth mentioning.

Second, I more than invite you to just write fake names up on random sites. I’ve done this frequently and it has never gotten me any problems. Both when inserting the name for the credit card and for the address. The credit card company does not care from my experience, and as a developer I can tell that only the card number, not the name of the holder is needed for verification & the charge itself.

Also regarding the post office, they do not care, as long as the address is correct they can deliver it. It is fairly common for people to send stuff to a friends address. “I’m away on holidays for three weeks, can I send this to you?” Or you send stuff to your SO with your name. The same happens at an office, same address with plenty of names.

But since you live in a small area this might spread around, but own it if you can: “Why should I let every site in the world my real name?” - I think it’s something people will understand, maybe they’ll consider it a bit odd, but they’ll move on very quickly I’d assume. It would be a pretty lame story if you ask me: “Genaro used a fake name when he ordered his T-Shirts”

And lastly, I personally try to avoid Amazon whenever it goes, but sometimes I still use it. I want to point to a post that every little bit helps. Slowly decrease your use of Amazon / Google / Facebook /… It will make a difference in the long run!