I’ve realized as I gotten older how much my dislike for shopping has intensified. While I have never been an enthusiastic shopper for anything, over the past few I have realized how much I hate going into stores to shop. I just have no desire to get into the minivan, drive 20 miles to the nearest store and walk around aimlessly looking at stuff. It pretty much is the last thing I want to do, aside from cleaning the toilets after the little grandsons have been around for the day.
For me to go shopping it is more like a hunting expedition. I go into the store knowing what I need, I spot it, claim it, bag it, tag it and go home. Done deal.
We have had out of state friends and family visit and when planning what to do for adventure, it always seems that a visit to the Mall of America is on their list. Yep, the biggest mall in America with over 4 miles of store fronts, a place that can fit 7 Yankee stadiums inside it. They always want to go see that. For me...I’d rather clean the toilets after a solid week of the little boys using it.
But it never fails, we load our visitors up and take the trip down to the Cities to see MOA. We find one of the 12,550 parking spots, leave a phone with the “Find My Friends” app on it in the car so we can find our way back when we are done. We have literally spent a tortuous 9 hours going from store to store to watch people shop or just browse. Meanwhile I will volunteer to wait in the mall area with all the bags that accumulate. At least there I can people watch and see everyone mesmerized by the vastness of the place. And every once in a while, a fellow non-shopper, bag watcher like me, will sit down and just give me the knowing look..like “yep out of towners are visiting, so here I am too”. There’s an unspoken bond that forms for those few minutes of non-verbal interaction.
I have over the past 3 or so years become an avid online shopper. It is the ultimate thrill for us non-shoppers to be able to pull up a seat at the kitchen table with a mug of tea and a laptop. It is almost magical to be able to sit there all alone in my sweats “shopping”. There is no one blocking an aisle, no need for ankle guards from those who ram their shopping carts into the backs of my legs. No need to mask, or worse yet, be around those who don’t mask and are hacking up their lungs alongside you. There is a certain amount of joy in sitting at the kitchen table shopping for the groceries. No longer do I buy stuff because I can’t remember if we are out of it or not. I can just go to the cupboard and look.
No longer do I have to unload all the groceries to check out, and then bag them all up, put them in the cart and pile them into the minivan, only to do the reverse once I am home. Nope, I order, I drive up and it is all bagged and loaded up for me. I just have to get it all inside the house and unload and put away just once. How cool is that? When I started doing this about 3 years ago it was a game changer in the way I go shopping.
And even better there is Amazon....my non-grocery one stop shopping experience. Just type in what I am looking for and a long list of items with descriptions and prices will come up. I have become a browser. Once again from the kitchen table I can look at the choices of what I need, read the reviews and see if it is what I am looking for. Heck I can go and google the item for in depth reviews. In 2 clicks of my mouse I can order an item and a few days later it is in my hands.
Once the item is delivered and I have opened it, I can still decide if I want it or not. This is the greatest part of Amazon in my opinion. I can return an item, no questions asked. Just 2 clicks of the mouse again and drop it off at UPS. Returning stuff to stores usually makes me feel guilty somehow. I feel like the store people maybe think I stole it or broke it or whatever. I’m sure my body language says all there is to say about how insecure I feel returning stuff. Over the years I have to say that I rarely if ever return stuff to stores. I have convinced my Best Half that it was in our marriage vows that he would do all store returns and I would teach the kids to drive. This has made for a long and happy marriage albeit a little scary taking curves with the third born child in the learner’s permit days.
Amazon seems to work pretty well with ordering stuff, getting it and deciding after you receive it if it is worth keeping or not. When I return stuff, I usually just put it on a balance on the account. I figure I will eventually use it for something. And the return is quick, usually within an hour of dropping it off at UPS.
The other day as I was doing an Amazon return, I started thinking...wouldn’t it be great if life was like an Amazon account? Just order up your life experience, have it delivered to you without any work or fuss. Decide if you want it or not. If it fits you comfortably, keep it. If it is not what you thought it would be, 2 clicks of the mouse and it is out of your life.
But then I thought the better of that. There are so many things in life that maybe started out as a struggle only to make me a better person in the end. For it really is because of the “no returns” in life that we all have to work on becoming better than the original purchase. Here’s to life experiences. May we all learn and grow from them and not be able to make an easy return...just like EBAY.