Cuba Shopping Online? No, Thanks

By Safie M. Gonzalez

HAVANA TIMES – Our country has been fighting the invisible monster that is COVID-19, for some months now. Every Cuban’s life has changed in this time. Every one of us has had to learn how to adapt to a new everyday routine to try and stop the damned virus from spreading further.

Today, the website is supposedly the fastest way to do your shopping, and to avoid large crowds in the street. Congratulations, we’ve taken one more step in becoming more cyber-progressive.

However, you tell me, my dear citizen who works and pretty much definitely has an online bank card: Have you managed to buy milk, cooking oil, chicken, soap and detergent? All in one go?

If you have, please tell me immediately, because I can’t remember how many tragic attempts I’ve had, always running into different obstacles, such as shortages of these products or them being missing, or because stores are having to shut down so the logistics can be reorganized, or because these items just aren’t available for longer than two minutes, even late at night.

I can try to understand the last reason, as a large percentage of the population is at home without work and can “surf” the web at these hours in the early morning; but why do these items run out so fast, anyhow?

Why have these online stores opened up if they can’t satisfy the working population’s needs in reality? Why dazzle us with a possibility that is little more than a ghost? In the meantime, Cuban TV continues to repeat that we can access the website to resolve our needs.

A few lucky people have managed to do a shop online, although their order doesn’t always come in its entirety. Nobody knows what happens exactly. It really might just be a logistical problem, or maybe the government has decided to shut down some of these online stores to prevent further disappointment among the population, thereby avoiding more of these negative comments.

In any case, if you have some megabytes and an online bank card, try it out, in the day or late at night, and you might have more luck than me on this adventure.

2 thoughts on “Cuba Shopping Online? No, Thanks

  • Shopping online requires that the purchases be delivered! Where is the delivery service in Cuba? UPS, FEDEX et al have no role in Cuba – and would be denied any opportunity. So, what about El Correa? Christmas cards posted from abroad are unlikely to be delivered, and a single photograph posted on August 28 in Canada, was delivered on December 31 in Cuba – and it had been opened by the Aduana. Christmas cards posted in Cuba to Cuban addresses, fare rather better than those posted abroad – expect about 60% delivery.

    But parcels of goods delivered through El Correa? Like squirrels looking to find and store their nuts, the Correa staff would recognize opportunity and seize it.

  • Shopping on line works effectively and efficiently if, and that is a big if, the population has, number one, the access to the easy and affordable technology and two, the confidence that the supplier has plentiful access to the food products being sold. Tough order to fulfill in today’s Cuba.

    As we all know, many Cuban citizens at this moment do not have ready access to operable on-line technology. The majority of the population does not have easy access to the sophisticated operable technology mandatory for this digital type of mercantile transaction.

    Many citizens do not even have access to regular telephone lines for hook-up or the necessary funds to pay digital fees for cell phone use. So, whoever has the fortunate opportunity to engage in this type of transaction certainly does not represent the average Cuban on the street. As we witness day in day out the average Cuban must line up, with cell phone in pocket, and wait exorbitant amount of hours under the unbearable hot sun for possible access to a pound of poultry, among other food stuffs.

    Moreover, as the author points out quiet clearly, the Cuban economy is not efficient enough to even produce a pound of poultry for its citizens; therefore the endowed calling customer, even with operable on line technology, is left without.

    The state is beginning to realize that food self sufficiency is paramount and that some progress is being made, perhaps, in raising chickens to meet local demand. Chickens produced locally will not require customer calling advanced technology to feed the masses. Locally efficient market driven produced food stuffs will allow people to actually see their products on shelves worthy of purchase.

    The author solicits anyone to try out her experience. If anyone out there has had success using on line technology to click order, receive, and enjoy exactly their timely mercantile transaction to share their lucky adventure.

    It would be a real eye opener and an education for all if a regular Cuban citizen does use this current on line technology successfully to click order, receive, and enjoy their timely purchase. I, like the author am skeptical. If this innovative technological process was successful, would not the unbearable long lines in front of merchandise laden stores be much, much shorter, efficient and endurable?

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