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Hassle-Free Holiday Shopping

I have company coming over this weekend and my fridge is near empty. I should go grocery shopping after work tomorrow. Oh no wait, I’ll just go to peapod.com. Never mind that the grocery store is 2 doors down from my apartment. It’s much easier to shop online and pay the delivery boy an extra 15%…

The holidays are here!. What am I going to get for everyone? A few clicks here and there…and my shopping is done. The shopping hassle in the malls? It’s so 1999.

The internet has become a necessary part of our everyday life. It began as a way to bring networks together and it’s grown into a lifestyle. Research for a report is no longer done spending hours between dusty shelves at the library. A few clicks, the right keywords and you have all the sources you need for that 15 page paper. The joys of going to a music store and buying your favorite artists new CD, not knowing which songs you would like the best, has been replaced by downloading only the songs you like on iTunes…after listening to a preview of each one of course.

Need directions? Mapquest it. Need a definition? Google it. Need an Elvis Presley salt-shaker? EBay it. Need to find an old friend? Myspace it. Need that video to that one song from 1995 that you can’t remember the name of? YouTube it.

Yes, the internet is a part of our everyday life and it has made everything so convenient. With everything good and positive, a negative side-effect must follow. The internet has become so convenient that it enables some people to be detached from society to the point of becoming a hermit…but a well-knowledgeable hermit who is dressed in the latest fashions. All dressed with nowhere to go but the other end of their webcam.

One important thing of convenience has been shopping. Anything and everything you need is available at your fingertips…at the cost of the hassles of standing in line, dealing with rude cashiers and inconsiderate people in the store. The convenience of shopping online is at the cost of the human touch. It’s been at the cost of immediate customer service. Then of course, there are the additional shipping costs. If you’re purchasing something through EBay, you are counting on the seller to mail your package within 2 business days as promised. You can rush it for only an additional $10.99. You can count that for all the gas that you’re saving by not driving to the store that is 5 minutes away. At these gas prices, who could blame you?

No one can take away all the good that the internet has brought us. If it wasn’t for the internet, you wouldn’t be reading these words. Messenger services allow me to talk to my family across the ocean at no additional cost except what I pay for my monthly internet service. If I really wanted to, I could splurge for a camera and cut out all telephone costs. Thanks to e-mail, I am immediately notified of all headlines of my choosing from the newspaper that I read the most often. No, I cannot deny all the good that the internet has brought us.

When it comes to shopping, things get a little iffy. Although internet shopping is tremendously helpful for those who are disabled or live in rural areas where choice is limited to one or two general stores, I believe it’s about time that its boom come to an end. The experts seem to agree with me.

In an article featured in the NY Times, it is noted that growth in internet sales has slowed sharply compared to previous years. Note that it’s the growth that has slowed, not the frequency of the purchases themselves. While internet shopping is not coming to a halt and is still growing, consumers are feeling the side effects of the online shopping habit. It has become too much of a chore for some people, making sure all their delivery information is correct, they enter the right credit card number, pick the right color, the delivery date, etc that the trend of shopping online is becoming less and less popular.

What is happening now is that a lot of companies will offer in store pick-up for an online order. That way, if there is a problem with the merchandise, the customer can bring it back to the store instead of shipping it back and waiting for a response. Even Dell, which was the father of computer sales online, is bringing its merchandise to the consumer through Wal-Mart. The hype is definitely deflated, though not completely gone. It is now more integrated and more options are given to the consumer instead of either buy it online or go pick it out at the store. Now you can divide up your time and you’re shopping the way you want to handle it.

Of course, the internet shopping fad will never completely disappear. Who really wants to find a flea market to look for a Mindy & Mork lunchbox in 94 degree weather when it’s a simple click away?

Since Black Friday is just around the corner…and this new phenomenon is taking over, I want to give you guys some info and links for Black Friday Online…a lot of stores are now offering Black Friday deals on their websites, instead of making you wait in line for 2 hours Friday morning. For electronics and bigger items such as furniture, this might be worth looking at:

http://www.blackfridayonline.com/
http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com/Online
http://www.blackfriday.info/

Also, information on Cyber Monday:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Monday
http://www.cybermonday.fm/
http://www.cybermonday.com/
http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/ebusiness/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204300382

What about you? Did you start your holiday shopping yet? Do you prefer online or in store? Do you get up at 4 AM on Black Friday?

Let’s talk shopping!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MissRiss November 25, 2008, 8:25 am

    I’m not a fan of shopping. For one thing, I can rarely find TALL pants anywhere but online. I cant find my bra size in the stores, either. So many sites offer free shipping during the holidays. WOO! There was a consumer expert on one of the morning news shows yesterday who said so many of the dept. stores, specialty stores, or even discount outlets jack up the prices only to slash them. So, the internet might actually have the better end of the deal.
    It was nice feeling as if I’ve been smart all along!

    MissRiss’s last blog post..Maybe, just maybe …

  • Joel November 25, 2008, 9:18 am

    I perfer the real deal…shopping in the stores. I know that it gets crowded and crazy, but I always wonder if what I am buying on line is what I will really get. I do plenty of on line shopping but for the big gift giving occasions it is loading up the car and heading to the mall!

  • simply scott November 25, 2008, 9:33 am

    screw that. i don’t go anywhere on Black Friday, and i never have. it’s not worth it, and this over consumerist holiday, called Xmas, makes me want to vomit. i don’t want any Xmas presents, but i’ll take a phone call thanks.

    as for shopping in general, i’m a hunter/gatherer. i go in, grab what i need, and get out. if i linger, i’ll spend $100 more than i intended, esp if i’m at B&N! internet shopping works great for what i need and keeps my spending down. the commissary (that’s on-base grocery for you civilians) takes care of most of my food needs (20 items in 20 mins and i’m outta there) and keeps my spending down. i hate malls (a horrible representation of the evil that is consumerist suburbia), and try to stay out of chain stores as much as possible, preferring local shops in the city that carry things you can’t find in JCPenney or Best Buy.

    the internet has really helped out with a lot of things, and it can really help you plan your shopping with a little research and a few clicks of the button. i’ll stick with that and leave all the maniacs to their own devices this Friday. there’s nothing on sale in this country that is worth being in line at a box store at 4am!

    simply scott’s last blog post..excerpt from “Claws”

  • Squish November 25, 2008, 9:33 am

    I LOVE THE FLEA MARKET! Turkey legs, roasted corn, beer/margaritas and cumbia music while I search for fresh produce, beaded jewelry and random odds and ends?? Fantasticness! But – given the amount of bribery and begging that is involved in getting anyone to go with me, I am aware I am in the minority there lol.

    I refuse to buy clothing online, but anything else is almost definitely being bought online and shipped. I’m shaped too differently to not try on clothing before buying it. I have already bought 90% of the holiday presents I am going too, all online and am in bidding wars on ebay for the rest lol.

    I did the 3 AM Black Friday campout at Best Buy thing two years ago for a computer…but that was the first and last time. I was miserable, wound up sick, and didn’t get the computer I wanted cause they still sold out before I made it in the door.

  • Jaime November 25, 2008, 9:41 am

    I’ve never gone shopping on a Black Friday. I’ve always had to work. I considered doing it this year but I’m broke anyway and I don’t feel like getting up early.

    If someone is worth buying a present for, they’re worth paying full price for.

    Jaime’s last blog post..I should be sleeping.

  • pecosa November 25, 2008, 9:49 am

    I’m still soooo old school when it comes to online shopping. I always think the worst…they’ll steal my cc info, they won’t ship it, the item will be broken, blah blah. I’ve bought one item on line to date: a text book.

    I do my pre-shopping online though. Scope out the deals, styles and availability before leaving the house. Sooo convenient.

    The internet is a great resource, no doubt about it. It’s when it becomes the main source of one’s interaction with the outside world that it becomes a problem. Moderation people, moderation.

    I used to do the Black Friday thing with the ex. Now I think I’m going to pass. I no longer have the energy to scrounge through a store to find a pair of boots on sale.

  • tinyshrimp November 25, 2008, 11:49 am

    The only gift I am actually buying this year is for my mom and stepdad. We are redoing their fireplace for them. Other that that we are only buying for the kids in my family this year, and since they live out of state I will just be sending money.

  • timethief November 25, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Hello there. I do not shop online. I have channeled my spending specifically to shopping local whenever I can. I also do not ever click advertising links in blogs. If I want information on any product that I can acquire locally I can find the links myself by using search engines.

    timethief’s last blog post..I love shopping local

  • Cassie November 25, 2008, 1:41 pm

    I don’t do Christmas shopping!!!!!! mainly b/c I hate shopping , but also b/c I don’t like giving gifts for Christmas. It’s not the reason we celebrate.

    I buy for the children and no one else…no adult needs a gift…Christmas or otherwise!!

    now, I will buy people things just b/c, but never on a birthday or Christmas!

  • Devyl November 25, 2008, 2:42 pm

    I hadn’t heard of “cyber monday” before … I’ll have to check those links out!

    Black Friday was a tradition with friends … but we tend to do it for the company rather than the shopping aspect. We get great deals, but none of us go alone if we cannot go together!

    Devyl’s last blog post..Refusing to Sink

  • Just Jen November 25, 2008, 3:52 pm

    Internet shopping has become a necessary evil in my world. Being a single parent with a spawn that always wants that coveted item, it is much easier for me to login, click a few buttons, type a few letters and hit send then it is to drive aimless through the city and surrounding areas in HOPES that I find what I’m looking for. Sure, I still love finding that perfect gift at the cute little boutique or spending the day in San Francisco going from shop to shop in hunt of a bargain or better – but when it comes to those MUST HAVES, the internet is the only way I go

  • Wovoka November 25, 2008, 4:52 pm

    I’m good either way: Online or in line…

    When I do my shopping, I tend to do the hard stuff early, so as to beat the rush. I usually just do the giftcards thing, because it’s easier that way, and whomever I’m giving the card to can be sure to get exactly what they want.

  • Jody November 25, 2008, 5:04 pm

    With 4 kids, online shopping is a massive blessing with holidays. Especially living in a not-so-metro-area. I can find everything I wanted, all at once, *click* and it comes to ME. No more juggling kids / babysitter to go shopping alone and then try to hide everything. Love the free shipping options just about everywhere. 🙂

  • Kate November 25, 2008, 7:52 pm

    I have been looking for a gift for me and my sis’s bday as well as Christmas. It’s all about Lexi anyway as far as my immediate family is concerned, so getting stuff for everyone besides her is not a big deal for any of us lol

    Kate’s last blog post..Like a fox

  • ikkinlala November 26, 2008, 1:29 am

    I haven’t started my shopping yet (although I should). I prefer to do my shopping in stores. We don’t really have Black Friday here.

  • victorseo February 3, 2009, 8:46 am

    This is a great indepth article. Thanks. I’ll bookmark it and may quote from it on my blog. Internet Shopping is exploding and there are new innovations to take advantage of it everyday. Now you can own your own shopping portal and get cash back from all your purchases at major stores and a huge variety of eco-friendly products. I bought one! http://shoptoearn.net/biwiseo feel free to shop on it (I’ll get cash back from your purchases also!) or buy your own. see http://biwijoe.earn4100.biz for details. This is a natural extension of what the internet makes possible for us.

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