Ordering Online in Korea: A Rant

Ordering Online in Korea: A Rant

If you are interested in coming to South Korea for an extended period of time then I am sure that you have heard about the wonder that is Korean delivery service. Order food online and it shows up at your door in minutes. Place an online shopping order and it arrives at your door the next day. Who needs Amazon Prime when you have Korean delivery service! Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I, for one, could not wait to try ordering online for myself. It was actually one of the first things that I wanted to do when I first arrived here.

But it seems Korea has other plans for me.

Placing an online order for anything, ANYTHING, is close to impossible and is the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced online. I wanted to order some bedding online because the bedding sold in stores here in Korea is ridiculously expensive (no really, a single fitted bed sheet can cost anywhere from $50-$75). So I get my happy self on Gmarket and found a good Summer sale on some bedding and placed it in my shopping cart. Only to go and check out and find out that I have to 1) make an account and 2) install some type of program on my computer.

At first it gave me the option of checking out as a guest but that was pretty much a joke because there was no button to actually choose to check out as a guest. The only clickable option was to create an account. I even tried downloading the random program first but that proved to be futile as even that didn’t work. So I went ahead and tried to make the account. Only to be met with yet another hurdle: the only option I was given to confirm the account was through a Korean phone number which I don’t have.

By this time, I can feel myself getting hot which happens when I start to get upset. Why the heck is this so difficult?? I just want some darn blankets so I can stop sleeping on a plain mattress! After about three days of trying, I ended up having to ask my recruiter to purchase it for me and I pay them back later.

I have even tried ordering food online since I can’t speak on the phone since I don’t know Korean, and that proved to be impossible as well. Having websites that are not English friendly is already a hassle in itself. But I get it, I’m in Korea now. I’m not expecting all the websites to be in English. But what makes it so hard is that a lot of Korean websites are made with moving photos embedded into the website by a flash player. So even if you try to translate the page, the pieces on the website run by the flash player WILL NOT TRANSLATE. And that turns out to be almost everything on the site. So that’s problem number 1.

The rest of the problems are all repeats of what I explained above. I have to create an account. In order to confirm the account, I have to have a Korean phone number. If no Korean phone number then I have to confirm with some type of certificate where I have to download a program to my computer. But after downloading said program, nothing happens! Which brings me back to square one: being hungry and having no food.

One time I got so close to placing my order, only to input my address and the website could not recognize it. It took me an hour to figure out how to input an address that they would recognize. But when my address was finally accepted, do you think I could order my chicken? No. Because the website claimed that the branch nearest to me was shut down (which it wasn’t and still isn’t).


Ordering anything online in Korea has proven to be nothing but a complete frustration inducing experience and after hours or days of trying by myself I end up having to ask my co-teacher or my recruiter to just do it for me. It’s really annoying because moving to a country where I don’t know the language is already hard enough. But something like ordering online – which should be so simple! – is now one more thing that I can’t do alone which strips away even more independence. And that freakin sucks. Even my Korean co-teacher admitted that ordering online in Korea is a hassle. Every website has a different program you have to download and if you don’t have a Korean phone number, you’re still out of luck anyway even if you could get the downloaded program to work.

And lastly, this isn’t about ordering online but I feel it should be mentioned; I was on YouTube once watching a web series and for the very last episode, the main couple in the show finally got over their issues and made up. So there was going to be some kissing in the episode. I was met with an internet block! There was no sex or nudity or even any real removing of clothes besides a guy showing his chest, and yet here I am, met with a block on the video. On the last episode. In order to watch the video I had to confirm my age. And how does Korea want you to confirm your age???

By entering your phone number, your phone service provider, and PROVING THAT YOU ARE A KOREAN CITIZEN.

What.               Even.

So even if I had a Korean phone number, I still wouldn’t be able to watch because I’m not a Korean citizen. What does being a Korean citizen have to do with confirming age?? Why do I have to be a Korean citizen to watch two people share a kiss on a tv show?? What are you doing Korea???


I have no idea how people have gotten past the blocks I am being met with online and I have no idea who to ask either. This past month has been one of the most stressful in my life and it sucks that such little things that should be so simple add to my stress and annoyance.

Great job Korea. Great job…

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