Tuesday 16 January 2018

Who Is To Blame For Ruining Shopping

I am going to do something I strenuously avoid normally – I am going to talk about the good old days. The days when shopping was fun, an adventure, an opportunity to go out in search of treasure and complete a day’s searching, often exhausted, but satisfied in a job well done.

Planning and anticipation would go into a shopping trip and the day itself usually involved carefully visiting the various retailers who could possibly satisfy your shopping needs. I say possibly because, before the information age, we were never really sure what they had in advance. And sometimes we could be disappointed by their offer, or equally we could get a nice surprise because we found something we hadn’t expected. After sifting through the options, interspersed with a cup of coffee here, and lunch there, we would finally make a decision on our intended purchase, make that purchase, and head for home, a job well done, mission accomplished, a general feeling of satisfaction.

Now I can do all that in 15 minutes, sitting on the couch, before I head out the door. What is the fun in that? How could we turn a half or full-day experience into a boring 15 minute one? Who has deprived us of an exciting stimulating, anticipatory experience and made it ho-hum?

Let me give you another example. I have a significant birthday coming up and I was thinking of asking for a nice watch as a special gift for a special day. This would have been a magic old style shopping trip. I am salivating at the thought. But I did a bit of research online, narrowed down the options, and then thought about the possibility of going to an auction and perhaps picking up a very worthwhile used watch from one of the great Swiss manufacturers. Going to an auction, examining the goods on offer, planning bids, and then going into battle with the buyers in the room sounded like a great shopping adventure worth at least a morning or afternoons diversion. But no!

Have you heard of invaluable.com? It is a website that gives you direct access to hundreds, probably thousands of auctions worldwide. If you type in watches it will list all upcoming auctions in places like Bristol UK, Los Angeles USA, Paris France, and so on. And you can bid online in any of those places. Now, I haven’t used the service so I don’t have all the detail on how it works, but you can pay with your credit card, most of the auction houses have shipping facilities, and the world is your oyster. You can make your decision on the spot with the comfortable knowledge that you have examined the total auction offer on watches, across the globe, from your lounge chair. 

Where is the fun in that? Ok, I will admit that getting global access has some merit. I might find a nice surprise or two. The actual auction might have some excitement but watching bids on screen rather than looking your auction opponent in the eye, is a backward step for me. I might have to find an auction house that doesn’t use online for a true experience.

I hear you saying that I don’t have to go online, I can simply go and do what I used to do. And you are right. I can ignore the online aspect and just go on a shopping trip and make my purchase. But what if it was cheaper elsewhere? See, I am hooked on this online information thing – Damn them! Whoever they are have ruined a perfectly enjoyable and satisfying experience of shopping. Maybe I can come back as a millennial and it wouldn’t bother me.

By Greg Smith

17/01/2018 20:11:21      Greg re watch         "Greg you are too  tongue in cheek the world is your oyster YOU are free to choose it is just that there are so many options out there have fun choosing your watch option and happy birthday🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂 please comment." 
Yep - I think an old fashioned shopping trip in real shops is the way to go. Thanks for your wishes - Ed.