The old “shop ‘til you drop” motto has taken on new meaning with the advent of Internet purchasing. Now, it’s “click ‘til your eyeballs scream in pain.”

Which is what I did for an hour or so last evening, checking out the new e-commerce consumer Web site launched by Cotton Incorporated: www.TheJoyofShopping.com.

With the goal of making it easier for consumers to find and purchase cotton products, the site already offers more than 40,000 cotton and cotton-rich products, which can be browsed by category, price, online retailer, or specific item. Once you find a product that interests you, there’s a direct link to that product on the retailer’s Web site.

The JoyofShopping.com project is “a bold statement in today’s marketplace,” according to Ira B. Livingston, senior vice president of consumer marketing for Cotton Incorporated. “With this site, we have the ability to offer products most chosen by consumers — products made of cotton. Consumers love and trust cotton, and now they can act on those emotions.”

Among the 88 retailers now participating in the program are such big-time names as Macy’s, Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Jos. A. Bank, Pacific Sunwear, The Gap, Old Navy, BlueFly, Sears, Wal-Mart, Linens ‘n’ Things, Kohls, etc.

“TheJoyofShopping.com is an exciting, unique way to promote cotton and cotton products,” says J. Berrye Worsham, president and chief executive officer of Cotton Incorporated, the research and marketing company funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton textile products.

Cotton Incorporated plans to continually expand the Web site’s retailer base, with the aim of giving consumers an even larger selection of cotton products, while providing participating retailers another venue to reach customers. TheJoyofShopping Web site will be linked to Cotton Incorporated’s consumer Web site, www.TheFabricofOurLives.com, which provides product and care information, as well as the latest trends in apparel and home decor. That site, operational since July 2002, now averages 80,000 “hits” per day.

So, OK, giving TheJoyofShopping.com a test run, these are some of the things I happened across in random mouse clicks:

• A $95 Gianfranco Ferre men’s dress shirt on sale for $44.98.

• A 100 percent cotton Mississippi State Bulldogs cap, $12.99 (caps for almost every other college/pro team known to man also available at varying prices).

• A Roberto Cavellia iridescent roses Italian tie, 68 percent cotton/32 percent silk, $72.

• Or a Donna Karan DKNY woven cotton tie, only $14.99.

• A Chase Authentics Dale Earnhardt, Jr., black twill uniform jacket, $104.99.

• Wel-Bilt 100 percent cotton work gloves, 89 cents per pair.

• Van’s classic Aloha slip-on shoes, neon blue/neon pink/white, $39.95.

• Hoppe’s cotton gun cleaning patches, $1.49 pkg.

• 550-thread count king sheet set from Gump’s, $160.

• A $14.95 cotton tee with the wording, “Dear Al Qaeda: Give us Osama or we’ll send you Hillary” (no longer available).

And on and on and on...

As my eyes were glazing and my fingers aching, I came upon just the answer to conclude my Web-hopping expedition:

• A Paradise Island cotton rope hammock, $99.99, and a Hotel Collection goose down pillow with a 400-thread count cotton outer cover, $129.99.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz...