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Web shopping

A year ago, I was an occasional “web shopper”. Most of what I bought was purchased through my favorite “computer stuff” store, NCIX. But that isn’t “really” web shopping: I’d order stuff through their website, sure, but I’d go pick it up at their nearest location here in Langley. Real webshopping is when the thing you ordered arrives at the door courtesy the friendly post/UPS/FedEx/Purolator person.

Fast forward to today…

Now I am probably receiving one or two items via the “real” online purchasing every week. It started, I think, when I first ordered some coffee online via Timothy’s. That worked out well, so I bought a few things through Costco’s online store, then a couple of antique clocks through eBay… which led to my clock addiction and repair hobby, including all the tools and materials that entails.

In the last month, I’ve received:

  • A nanotech swimsuit for Irene
  • a clock (last of my five “fixer” clocks)- boy was that a mess, but I wanted a fixer…
  • a work bench and bench accessories from Sears
  • a pair of Vibram five fingers shoe things
  • three shipments of various clock tools and parts

In addition to this, I have sitting on my counter two “we missed you” tags from the post office for deliveries on Friday: I think both of those are for clock parts and more tools. And I just placed another order for an ultrasonic cleaner, and a week or so ago placed orders for a (manual) lathe and a few more bits and bobs. For the first time in my life, I actually recognize my postal worker, and we chat about stuff while I sign for deliveries.

It is getting the point where there is almost a delivery every other day, and I’m starting to forget exactly what I have on order. I have to look back through my saved emails and such to be sure. I realized a couple of days ago that I have to be careful not to order anything with a lengthy delivery time for the next few weeks as we have plans for a vacation in September.

I’m expecting this whirlwind of shipments to wind down a bit as I get my tool collection for clock repair built up. I’ll still have to order parts, but I won’t (hopefully) need quite so many tools. The interesting thing is that I’m not really that fond of receiving stuff: I don’t like the piles of packing materials, and constantly missing deliveries can get to be a pain. But the convenience of finding pretty much exactly I want and having it “appear” a few weeks later instead of wandering around from store to store is beguiling.

One thing I should take a moment to explain. I like finding the “thing I want” and getting it. I hate shopping: the process of wandering from store to store, looking for something and hoping to find it, often ending up with something else entirely or settling for something “similar” but not quite what I wanted. In this regard, web shopping eliminates (for the most part) the frustrating aspect of shopping. I have access to hundreds of thousands of stores, and can focus down to the specific thing I want, coupled with near-immediate research to confirm my choice, with laser-like precision. It is close to perfect for someone like me.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to “three or four shipments a year”. Heck, even just counting my automatic coffee delivery, there will be one shipment every sixty days to our address. I can see why this might be worrisome to retailers, but for a person like myself who hates shopping, it is a godsend. I wonder how common my experience is?

2 comments to Web shopping

  • I tend to shop online for gifts, books, music, all my computer stuff, subwoofer and centre speaker for the TV. I don’t buy more because, well, I don’t have the money to shop that much 😉

    And of course I book all my travel online.

    I find if I know what I want, online is the way to go … I come home from work, I don’t want to change, rush out to get to the store, re-arrange dinner, just to pick up something – or worse find it is out of stock that day.

    But, there are also times when I like to go to a store because I’m not 100% sure what I want. or I need to see what it is I’m buying. Clothes for example – my uniforms for work I would love to buy online. Standard style, brand and size, and half the time the store is out of stock on the day I get there. But for other clothes, I want to see what it is I’m buying because it isn’t “standard”.

    A TV – I want to see what the picture looks like before I buy it. A DVD player though – buy online and get it shipped.

    For me it isn’t quite so much the wanting a specific thing nor hating shopping as such. It’s just that I have other things I would rather be doing with my limited free time. Online shopping saves me time.

  • You make an interesting point about some items being things that it helps to see and touch. The TV I’m going to put in the living room… I’d like to see it first. Another monitor very much like the ones I already have… order it online.

    The “saving me time” part is definitely a big aspect of it. Imagine trying to find five or six antique clocks of certain types in certain conditions at, say, auctions or estate sales. I imagine I’d have to attend a dozen or more such events, several hours each, and would likely have to make decisions without adequate opportunity to research what it is that I’m buying. One day I’ll go to a few auctions since, in theory, that is the best place to get the really good deals, but wow, what a waste of time.

    That lack of readily available comparisons and knowledge and the wasted time of “in person” shopping has an interesting side effect. In the absence of online auctions for clocks and web stores for clock repair tools and supplies, there is a good likelihood that I never would have gotten started on my current horological adventures. I mean, how many stores do you know nearby that sell mainspring winders, or taper pins? I’m sure there are some, but I can’t imagine it would be fun tracking them down, and comparison shopping would be painful.

    On the other hand, there are some things where either the instant gratification of walking out the door with purchase in hand or the benefit of “touch and feel” that you get in a store weighs heavily. But I’m finding fewer and fewer instances where that is really necessary for me.

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