Shopping, especially around the holidays, should be fun. I'm especially notorious for my over enthusiasm when it comes to purchasing gifts for others. For the most part, this year has been no different. I've been running around, buying or making gifts like my usual crazy self. But one thing seems to have changed this year and it's making me feel a bit like The Grinch.
See, I'm also notorious for in-person, in-store shopping. I'm well aware of the power of the Internet, and thanks to my badass father-in-law I'm even an Amazon Prime member. But if I can get something in a store, actually purchase it with a card out of my wallet and then carry it away in my own two hands, I'm a happy camper. Call me old fashioned or out of touch, I really don't care. Remember that I am a Filofax-wielding crochet nut, after all.
There is something different about buying something from a person instead of clicking "add to cart." It's human interaction. Around the holidays, it is the quick exchange of a "Merry Christmas" or a "Happy Holidays." You don't get that moment when buying online.
So why am I cranky this year?
Because twice, TWICE this season I've been pushed to online ordering while standing IN the store that I intended to purchase from.
Let me explain.
The first wasn't a Christmas present - it was something we needed for Frankie (the dog). I looked up the item on the website for a chain pet store in my area, saw the price was $24.99, and headed over to buy it. (Now, if the item had been drastically cheaper online, I certainly would have bought it via Amazon. but it was comparable with their prices, so I'd much rather buy in person). Anyway, I got to the store and saw the price on the shelf was $52.99. What?! I brought the item up front and asked the cashier why the same item was listed at drastically different prices and if they would match prices to their own website. I was told no. "Oh you know," she said. "The prices are different because in store we have to pay employees and electric bills and stuff."
And we wonder why our brick and mortar stores are closing left and right.
A few days later, I went into a bookstore chain to grab a book as a gift which I saw listed on their own website for $11.87. Got to the checkout and was told my total was over $25. Already knowing what was coming, I asked why their website had a drastically lower price. "Oh you know..." the cashier said.
Yes, I know. Salaries and electricity and stuff.
I get it. I really do. I understand that it costs more to power a building, pay your staff, and purchase inventory. I also know that people are constantly devastated when their favorite stores go out of business.
Do we not see the connection? Do these cashiers and store employees not realize that they are quite literally eliminating their own job every time they suggest we buy online?
Or am I just an old fashioned sentimentalist who needs to get with the times?
Either way, I can't help but see our future as streets lined with car dealerships, mega stores, and restaurants while everything else is ordered online and delivered to our doorsteps. And it makes me sad.
Am I alone here? I know most of my friends and family are online ordering fanatics. I get the appeal - I don't have to leave my house, I can order in my pajamas (which you can also wear while writing blog posts, coincidentally), and a few days later, all I have to do is open my front door and unwrap a box. I get it. I really do.
But surely there are a few other people out there like me. The ones who would much rather go to a store and see, feel, and touch what they are about to buy. Would rather pull cash out of a wallet instead of entering credit card numbers onto a screen. Would rather exchange a few words with a cashier instead of just clicking "submit order."
Am I alone here?