A Plea for Brick and Mortar
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I have a number of friends who are Direct Sellers. Partylite, Steeped, and now Thirty-One. I keep thinking that I "should" host a party, but then I realize that I don't really see the benefit.
You see, I'm a Gen Yer who loves to shop. Direct sellers say things like, what's better? Walking around a crowded mall full of screaming children or sitting at home with friends and a glass of wine in your hand? Strangely enough, not the latter, for me.
I don't love a crowded mall, but I love the instant gratification of making a purchase in person. I love to pick up a book and hold it in my hands. I like to open it up and read a few random pages to see if the author's writing style appeals to me. I like to try on clothing and see how (if?) it will fit, because I HATE returning things. I CAN'T buy shoes online (unless I've tried them in store). In fact, I have never purchased anything from Etsy. I'd LOVE to, and if there was a boutique which stocked my favourite etsy artists, I would probably spend FAR more money there than I do at Lulu... but they're online, and I have to measure twice and *hope* things fit. I have to *hope* that pieces won't be broken off the hair sticks I ordered, because sending them back for new is too much work.
These days everyone talks about how everything's going digital. Books are passé. The only things people buy locally these days are their vegetables. I think that -- like the ubiquitous "death of dating" -- this is a myth. I do know people who shop online, but most of the people I know still shop in stores, just as I know that people who talk about how young people don't date, they just have sex are out of touch with reality.
This is the age of convenience. Sure, it is convenient to shop online in your pyjamas, but it's also convenient to not have to return things multiple times, order multiple sizes, or wait 2 weeks or 3 days (or months) to receive your purchase.
I do shop online: I order books from chapters, and accessories from Hong Kong for my electronic devices. But I do these things as a last resort. I go into stores, desperately seeking things that fit my needs (and boobs), but sometimes those things aren't there. I am not the majority, but I don't think in this I am alone.
Stop threatening to take away my brick and mortar shops. Or do. Heck, it'd save me quite a bit of money... but you're not going to find me spending the same amount as I would if I were in stores: it's harder to love something you can't touch, and I've never seen something online that I "can't live without" that I hadn't first seen in stores.
Some of us still think of shopping as a social activity, not a chore.