There was a time, and I refuse to believe it was so long ago, when one could actually go to the store to purchase what you wanted or needed. There may have been a few steps involved, but there was nothing overwhelming. You simply had to want whatever it was bad enough to stop what you were doing, go to a store where you could purchase, use an acceptable form of payment, and you walked out with the item in your hand ready to get back to your real life. You could begin whatever it was you made the purchase for. Unfortunately something changed while I wasn’t paying attention. I find that attempting to do what I have described today is simply a fruitless act of desperation that can only end in disappointment.
This is not a new problem by any means, but there was an incident, so it is fresh. Part of the problem is me. If I have the money and I decide I want something, I want it immediately because I already have plans for it. So I don’t have the time to wait for something to be shipped to me. I need to be able to lay my money down and come home with the prize. What I experience instead is people telling me things like, ‘I’m sorry. We don’t carry that model in the store’, or ‘We carry that brand, but not for your model’, or my favorite, ‘We used to carry that, but we don’t anymore’. I used to be spontaneous in my purchases. I miss that. I recognize there are advantages to buying online. Advantages that I have taken. But nothing kills my purchase buzz quicker than shipping.
There is one store that I know of which sells the ink and paper I use for my printer. It is about an hour drive from my house. I happened to be in that area today and decided that, while I am not out of ink, it might be wise to stock up. When I arrived I was surprised to discover the store had closed 2 hours early to update their systems. Now I admit my initial reaction may have been irrational, but it gave me something to think about after it passed. I understand it is not in the interest of any store to carry a product they can’t move quickly enough to justify selling, simply because I might want to buy it someday. But I can say without hesitation I don’t like having only two options. Ordering online and waiting, or driving an hour or more to purchase what I need. There is an opportunity for somebody to bridge the gap between the seemingly endless inventory of the Internet and the fast return of the local store. Maybe that somebody is me.
I’ll see you on the other side.