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Shopping gets just a little too easy

I am still a novice at on-line shopping, but I need to pace myself

I am not sure what experiences are like in the rural world, but I am finding this on-line shopping idea very handy (not sure if that is a good or bad thing.)

I know is not necessarily a brand new idea, but being a late bloomer in many aspects of technology, it has only been in recent months that I hesitatingly tried it, and boy, it works pretty good. The push I received was when my daughter began giving me Amazon gift cards for on-line shopping for birthdays or Christmas. I was gracious but my silent initial thought was “what am I supposed to do with this?” And I guess the implied answer was “well dummy, go on-line and buy something.”

My first on-line shopping venture was to apply a gift card toward a new briefcase. I am not even sure they are called briefcases anymore — backpack, satchel, manpurse, laptop bag, messenger bag… whatever. I seem to always have so much “stuff” I need/want to take with me anywhere I go, that I like some type of bag.

So I entered the key words in the Amazon search bar and voila — there were several pages of bag styles for me to choose from — everything from a reasonable to crazy price. But with one or two simple clicks (and my credit card number) that item could be at my door in one to two days. I found one — click, click — and as promised a day or two later a delivery person brought it to the door. That truly was easy.

I have really had to pace myself, because that kind of shopping is perhaps way too easy, especially if you have too much time to dream up things you need. But in another experience the other day, one piece of older technology I had been using in my office just stopped working. I went to a couple of large retailers here in Calgary looking for a replacement. I told the 12-year-old sales clerks what I needed (everyone is so young) and in both cases they looked at me and said “oh, geez, I don’t think they make those anymore — we certainly don’t carry them.”

I left thinking I was just out of luck, but what am I going to do? This is equipment I find very useful. “But wait, Lee, what about on-line shopping?” So back in my office I quickly entered the key words in the Amazon search bar and voila — the pages opened, there were several different models of exactly what I was looking for. Click, click, and two days later the delivery person delivered the parcel to my door.

A new way of life

My experience is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of type and scope of shopping that can be done on-line, but I am sure it must give brick and mortar retailers a reason to pause and think about the future. And I know they are keeping pace. My favourite clothing designer, Mr. Mark, of Mark’s Work Wear also provided me with a great on-line shopping experience.

From my house there are probably three or four Mark’s stores within a 10-minute drive. And they have very good selection for in-store shopping. But so much of in-store merchandise is modern or slim-line fit — well my body isn’t modern or slim (I’m working on it). And then they may not have the colour that best suits me, and then back to my first point, even the modern cuts just don’t have enough “X’s” on the size label for a mature figure. Back home again, on the computer checking out the Mark’s on-line merchandise. Enter the key words in the search bar and voila there’s a much wider selection they didn’t have in the stores. Click, click, and it is on its way to my door.

The hazard of this on-line shopping experience for me will be the risk of getting carried away and buying stuff that I really don’t need. Restraint will be the order of the day. I don’t know about you, but I have been known to be in a store and buy something that I really, really needed — and now it’s still sitting or hanging somewhere unopened with the tags still on it. Today’s take home message — think, think before click, click.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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