August 10, 2010

Store Bought

I bought two pairs of shoes on Sunday. While I understand this sounds unremarkable, I assure it was not. The reasons are threefold.

Fold 1. I rarely buy shoes. The last time I did I think it was because the work shoes I owned had a hole in the bottom my foot kept falling through. I don't dislike shoe-shopping. It's just not on my go-to list of awesome stuff to do.

Fold 2. Whilst wondering through the store Owen loudly announced I can't find my penis and then launched a full-scale search and rescue mission.

Fold 3. I realized that, despite my love of shopping and spending money, those two pairs of shoes I bought (dress shoes for work and casual shoes for, well, not work, if you're curious) were the first things I've gone out and physically purchased in a long time.

I started thinking about this. My two great retail loves are books and music. When Tower Records still had a pulse, I'd wander the aisles for hours, at the very least stopping in on a Friday afternoon and decompressing from the long week. And then brick and mortar music outlets started to die. So my I found myself wandering through local bookstores, perusing the shelves. Now the buzz is that the print industry is dying. Apparently I'm part of the problem.

Over the last year or so, my buying habits have totally changed. Rarely do I wander through stores looking for something to buy. Now I search the internet, find what I want, compare prices and, generally, download whatever it is I was looking for. My book and music consumption is now almost entirely digital. But it goes further than that. 90% of the presents we bought Mia for her birthday we found and bought online. Most gifts I buy I find on the net.

There's benefit to this. It's convenient, the selection is nearly unlimited, and its cheaper. But at the same time I'm passing up the normal human interaction that goes along with stepping out in the world, handing over a credit card, and making small talk with the cashier. And I kind of think we're all a little worse off for that.

But still, buying a couple pairs of shoes was kind of a pain in the ass.

Has technology changed your shopping habits? And is this self-imposed isolation a good or bad thing?

P.S. Owen did find his penis. In case you were wondering.

Posted by Chris at August 10, 2010 6:51 AM

There are two things I never buy online.
1. Jeans
2. Shoes
Because both my ass and my feet are tough to fit!
Have a great day! (and a little laugh I hope!)

Posted by: Maribeth at August 10, 2010 7:12 AM

I never had any boy children, they sound hilarious!

Posted by: linda at August 10, 2010 8:12 AM

Like you, most of my shopping is online these days. My books are mostly e-books (except I'm actually reading a print book now because it wasn't available electronically, gasp!) and that comprises most of my non-neccesity spending. I won't buy clothes online though because if they don't fit, it's a pain to return them.

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 10, 2010 8:45 AM

Laughed my ass off when I read #2 glad to hear problem solved. I looked at shoes yesterday too but didn't buy any, what a pita. Have a good one!!

Posted by: Trish at August 10, 2010 9:03 AM

While I have to admit that we do a lot of online shopping in our household, I've found that over the course of the past couple years, we've rediscovered the local businesses. There's a couple of wonderful independent bookstores in our town, and a record store too (these are also my primary vices). We also go to the same locally owned and operated video store. I go to these places because it really *is* nice to browse and get out, and the staff knows me by name, and often suggests things I'd like. It's nice, and feels fuller as an experience. I don't want for online shopping because if I can't get what I'm looking for in town, I do order it in from Amazon, etc. Truly, I don't want to lose that sense of community, and in my thinking, it's already gone too far by way of isolating people. If I can, I'll work against it. CDs rip at higher quality, and books smell like home. Don't forget the little things. :)

BTW, I pretty much only wear Chuck Taylors. Find yourself a fav, and never worry about shopping again--just replace. The guy at my local athletic shoe store also knows me by name. :)

Posted by: martin at August 10, 2010 9:42 AM

I still do most of my shopping at the mall...mainly because I need to keep walking and it's either too hot or too humid outside, especially with the hills. In the mall, I can walk in a flat area in the air-conditioning and may as well do some shopping while I'm there.

Posted by: Krush at August 10, 2010 10:25 AM

I was an early fan of catalog shopping, and then in 1999 when I discovered the joys of cable modem, I was easily converted to online shopping. Perhaps your observation, however, explains my love of going to the grocery store - the only aisles left to wander?

Posted by: Heather at August 10, 2010 10:56 AM

Sad. There isn't any thing like opening a new book; the smell, the feel. Whilst your kindle still smells like the cheetoes you left in your backpack two years ago regardless of how many new e-books you download.

Posted by: Nosmo at August 10, 2010 11:14 AM

Technology has for sure changed my habits. I do the majority of my shopping online. I like being able to compare prices without having to drive to 10 different stores. It also keeps me from impulse buys. I am incapable of going in to Target for the ONE thing I need without loading up a cart. It also saves my sanity, because I am known to have panic attacks in large crowds (malls). The only time I have to break down and suffer through it is twice a year when my daughter needs school clothes and then summer clothes.

So glad Owen's search & rescue was successful!

Posted by: js at August 10, 2010 11:45 AM

This is a topic I've been meaning to talk about myself. I've recently started working from home full time and it's really changed my outlook on things like human interaction. I realize that the more we do it, the easier it becomes, and the more of a "hassle" it seems to interact with people face to face. However, whenever I do go out and interact, I feel great having talked to people and smiled at them. It's an odd thing.

I do interact with plenty of people through kid activities and general neighborhood friendliness but it's different when you're accomplishing tasks.

Posted by: Brad at August 10, 2010 11:55 AM

I'm a ludite.

I go to the library for my books. I still buy cds. And I do almost all of my shopping myself, in brick and mortar stores.

And when I go to the grocery store, I wait in the long line for the checker to ring me up. I hate doing it myself.

I don't love all of the technology we have.

Posted by: Mindy at August 10, 2010 12:10 PM

One of my favorite things to do is browse through a book store. While shopping online can be fun, nothing beats the experience of going in to the store and actually handling and smelling the books. I don't think I could ever buy an electronic book, I love actual books too much. I will buy them off Amazon if I'm low on funds, though...

Posted by: Holly at August 10, 2010 12:12 PM

i like to keep it well rounded. i do all the same internet comparing/researching/buying as you. but if i find out one of the things i'm looking for is actually at a little local portland shop, i'll get it my car and go. i really enjoy the options, though. i was raised in a tiny town on the oregon coast. i still remember going to that little shop in town where you'd put in your jcpenney order. i'm glad that's over :)

Posted by: kati at August 10, 2010 12:19 PM

I shop almost entirely online. I buy music on iTunes, download Kindle books from Amazon, jeans from American Eagle (I HAVE to buy my jeans online, because stores don't carry the extra long lengths). Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores kind of sucks because I have to pack up 1-4 of our kids, park, negotiate the parking lot with 1-4 kids, deal with items put in the wrong place so you think a thing is $25 but really it's $40 when you check out. I'd really rather mix up a martini, put my feet up on the couch, and get my stuff delivered to my door (with free shipping - thanks Amazon Prime!). I have no issues with internet shopping. I used to work in retail/customer service, and the service is not what it used to be. I'd rather spend the time I save chatting up my friends than chatting up some teenager I may never see again at Toys R Us. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Brooke at August 10, 2010 12:25 PM

I am glad Owen found his wang. It would have been awful if an unsuspecting shoe shopper had come across it hiding in a loafer.

Unrelated: Did Palahniuk's Tell All annoy the hell out of you or just me?

Posted by: bri at August 10, 2010 1:00 PM

My shopping habits have certainly gone more the cyber direction.
Now if I could just find a way to fill my truck up with gas online....

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at August 11, 2010 2:00 AM

We buy our music, pre-order games (hubby is a gamer) and get some speciality items that are very hard to come by in the shops, but other than that, even though we have the option to shop online for pretty much anything we need, we choose not to. While I really dislike shopping as a whole, I prefer being able to browse and choose what I want as opposed to someone else doing it for me. I don't even buy books online (whether electronic or printed). I like printed pages, the smell and feel of a new book.

PS, glad Owen managed to find what he was looking for ;-)

Posted by: Delia at August 11, 2010 3:49 AM

It's a good thing Owen found his penis, but if he lost it in the store, I'm sure you could buy another on Amazon or eBay. :)

Posted by: jessica at August 12, 2010 10:14 AM

I just burst out into tears reading that you're converted to e-books. Real tears....gosh man we have to band book lovers....must HOLD ON tight.

Posted by: Kristy at August 13, 2010 8:41 PM