Once upon a time, I used to love shopping inside stores. When my girls were pre-teens, we’d head to the mall and waste an entire Saturday afternoon “just looking” at clothes, jewelry, bath supplies, candles and whatever.
This year, I confess: All of my Christmas gifts arrived on my doorstep in boxes; a fair number of them from Amazon.
I feel a little guilty about that. The next major looming crisis for the American economy is the demise of retail stores, which are facing an increasingly uphill battle to survive. The shock wave likely to arrive with the layoffs of store managers, sales clerks, shelf stockers, etc., is going to be felt in every segment of society.
So, I wanted to get out there and go store to store, shopping; truly I did. But I just couldn’t spare the time for it, when with the click of mouse, I could find whatever was on the list from an assortment of venues.
The temptation to just go to Amazon is made greater by the fact that many brick-and-mortar stores are reducing the inventory they carry on hand. Numerous times during the holiday season, I heard a clerk tell a customer, “We don’t have that in stock, but I can order it for you.”
I kept waiting for someone to say, “If I wanted to order it, I would have just gone to Amazon in the first place,” but nobody did.
There’s a lot to be said for buying in a retail setting. For clothing, there’s the obvious advantage of being able to try it on and see what fits. For jewelry, you know exactly how big of how small that stone really is and how “real” it actually looks. Holding a candle to your nose and sniffing can reassure you that you really do want “red hot cinnamon” and not “cinnamon and apple pie.”
But those trade-offs — compared to being able to order with one click ad get free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime — well, no wonder we’re undergoing a “revolution” in the retail sales industry.