Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Changing Lanes

Doing holiday shopping online doesn’t hold charm of reality

December 26, 2007

One of my brothers, who lives in Texas, was evaluating his adventures in pursuit of Christmas gifts.

He was out and about at various Fort Worth-area shopping centers.

After venturing out to fight the crowds, he vowed to do all his shopping next from home - with the convenience of the online version.

After taking care of last-minute errands Sunday at an area store where elbow-to-elbow shopping was the norm and a parking spot that probably could have qualified for a shuttle service to the store, I was ready to join him.

However, there's also something about jockeying for a parking spot and walking aimlessly through stores in search of the right gift that, even though it is taxing, is exciting at the same time.

Searching for a discount here or a sale advertised in a store's newspaper flier is hard to beat, even though a few clicks of the mouse surely are time savers. And, they normally don't leave you searching for a couple ibuprofen pills.

Again, though, I usually go back to purchasing most gifts in person. Call me a purist, but I'll probably be heading back to the same hectic scene for years to come.

It's similar to my views on newspapers. Sure, I'll get some of my news online, but there's something about holding those pages of newsprint in your hands that just can't be beat.

Call me a fossil, but that's how I feel. It's not as though I don't order things online, but I'm still old-fashioned in some regards (I've yet to book anything when it comes to bidding, such as Priceline or eBay).

My brother noted that online newspaper versions are a greener way to go, as in environmental.

However, I pointed out that I personally am an avid newspaper recycler, as are all of us here at The Mirror. That goes for that plastic you'll find your newspaper wrapped inside also.

My other concern when it comes to all of that online shopping is: What is the future of the retail business that line our downtowns and shopping districts? They still will reap revenue from those items online, but what about those other items you see in the store that you pick up along the way? Yes, that might be more beneficial to the consumer because they aren't apt to make those impulse buys. Of course, Internet shopping also can guide to other areas of "the store" I suppose.

And, there is the rest of the year in which consumers will shop in person on a regular basis - when those aisles aren't crowded 24-7.

We'll see what happens.

But you can bet that I'll be making trips to local businesses - at least that's my current plan for December 2008.

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