One of the most irresistible temptations of recent times, for web users, is that of buying not only compulsively, but also saving money.
Let us explain: on the one hand, if we stopped to think about what we buy online, we would blush at the idea of what is truly indispensable that we have put in the shopping cart, and what has only been the result of a momentary seduction (and usually destined to go out a few moments after the fatal click).
Another compulsiveness surrounds us: the purchase of cheap products. Let me be clear: comparing prices and saving money is a virtuous practice, especially in a period in which the increases in almost all subjects have been very significant.
But sometimes the race to spend as little as possible makes us forget other and not secondary parameters.
This long introduction to say that Temu has also arrived in Italy, the Chinese e-commerce that seems to respond perfectly to both characteristics: it is a bazaar full of often curious objects and trinkets, and has really bargain prices.
Two questions: what’s underneath? But before that: what is Temu?
Temu, Chinese e-commerce has also arrived in Italy
Temu is an e-commerce of the Chinese company PDD Holdings, although the platform was activated for the first time in the United States in September 2022 and is based in Boston.
Just to give an idea of the immediate success of the past months, Temu was the most downloaded app in the United States from September 2022 to January 2023.
Beyond the formulas adopted (affiliate codes, massive presence on social networks) Temu e-commerce owes its success to the somewhat kitsch, virtual department store look of the site and app. And above all at its really low prices.
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Too much, bass? And is this the only doubt that hangs over the made in China shop?
Before we answer, let’s take a look at this snazzy online shop. In short, what can you buy on Temu?
What you buy on the Temu e-commerce
If the question is: “What can you buy on Temu”, the answer is: “Everything, or almost everything”.
Just take a look at the home page, where – with deliberately loud graphics – banners stand out at the top indicating amazing discounts (up to 90%) or prices often lower than one euro.
A little further down, the subdivision into categories makes that explicit All which we were talking about.
Do you want shoelaces for less than a euro, garden gnomes for less than ten euros, shower heads, belts, potato peelers, musical instruments, cotton bud holders, USB cables, smartwatches for less than 20 euros, clothing, and the could the list go on almost indefinitely?
Well: on the Temu e-commerce you will have them. And you will have them at prices that you will hardly find elsewhere. But?
What’s behind it
You don’t need to be thoughtless to argue that such ridiculously low prices will have their reasons. And it is not said that they are noble whys.
Already last December, for example, a long article in Time illustrated some of Temu’s flaws: delivery errors (or parcels never delivered), incongruous charges and non-existent customer service.
Then there is the problem of quality, which is already indirectly signaled by the ridiculously low prices. Often the objects are quite poor and the packaging itself, fragile, is not infrequently damaged.
However, it must be said that Temu e-commerce has implemented a purchase protection program. With which it guarantees a full refund for returns made within 90 days of delivery.
Not just poor quality
Beyond the inevitable poor quality of products and customer support, further problems of a more general nature should be reported.
Very low prices mean not only questionable quality but also, usually, very little attention to two fundamental aspects. In other words, environmental sustainability and respect for workers.
The first aspect has two declinations: on the one hand the massive presence of polluting products, on the other the short duration of the products themselves, a sort of planned obsolescence that pushes them to dispose of and repurchase in a very short time.
Furthermore, with similar costs, it is almost impossible to think of fair wages for those who work in the production of the objects that populate the Temu e-commerce.
Temu banned from Montana corporate devices
There is more. The sister site of Temu e-commerce, or Pinduoduo, has been banned by Google for the presence of malware.
And so Temu himself became a special observer in the United States. Also in recent days the Montanathe first US state to completely ban TikTok from its territory, banned the installation of Temu (as well as WeChat and Telegram) from corporate devices.
In short, Temu e-commerce shamelessly shows the best and the worst of our times: the possibility of having everything immediately and at ridiculously low prices with just a few clicks. But at the expense of the environment and the dignity of a good number of people.