Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BROWN: Shopping on the seat of my pants

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me up a Little Longer, Lord | 12/31/2013

I have never been, nor can I imagine ever will be, a Black Friday shopper. Camping out in the cold, guarding my place in line and getting mobbed doesn’t seem worth the trouble, even if I miss out on some bargains I probably didn’t need anyway. No, I’m more of a Cyber Monday kind of person, or more accurately, a Cyber Monday-through-Sunday kind of gal.

My cyber shopping habit began years ago when I discovered Amazon where I could order any book I wanted and have it delivered to my mailbox within days. A million books later, I thought “what the heck” and expanded my shopping to the other departments at Amazon. I was literally like a child at Christmas. They had everything a woman could ever want — they even had stuff I didn’t know existed, like pink peppercorns. Who knew?

I have never been, nor can I imagine ever will be, a Black Friday shopper. Camping out in the cold, guarding my place in line and getting mobbed doesn’t seem worth the trouble, even if I miss out on some bargains I probably didn’t need anyway. No, I’m more of a Cyber Monday kind of person, or more accurately, a Cyber Monday-through-Sunday kind of gal.

My cyber shopping habit began years ago when I discovered Amazon where I could order any book I wanted and have it delivered to my mailbox within days. A million books later, I thought “what the heck” and expanded my shopping to the other departments at Amazon. I was literally like a child at Christmas. They had everything a woman could ever want — they even had stuff I didn’t know existed, like pink peppercorns. Who knew?

To say I became addicted wouldn’t be exactly true. However, I did become a huge fan of sitting on the seat of my pants in front of the computer.

There’s no “fixing your hair” or “putting on make-up” or finding your coat and boots and gloves, no warming up the car or finding someone to watch the kids. All you have to do is put on your pants and sit.

I guess technically you could cyber shop without your pants, but I think that would be a bit of a distraction, if not downright creepy.

The thing to remember about cyber shopping is that once you buy from an online store, they give your name to other places and soon you have all kinds of interesting invitations to shop their stores. Most of their missives go straight to the trash — much like junk mail — but a few smart ones sneak in and you can crash-land into all kinds of wonderful temptations without ever leaving the seat of your pants.

One day I found myself ankle deep in Shoebuy. I used to love shoes, but what could possibly be more unlikely to fit than shoes? The good people at Shoebuy are one step ahead of us and offer free returns and free shipping. Wow. Who can resist that? What could possibly go wrong? Nothing — except risking a strained relationship with the UPS driver who spent an entire week delivering shoes one day and then picking them back up the next. It finally dawned on me that I really didn’t need shoes because the only thing I was wearing out was the seat of my pants.

The gifting season is over now, but I’ve already started a list of things I want to look at when I decide to cyber shop again. Nearly all of my purchases are deliberate and well thought out which is why I keep a list. It also helps me bundle my purchases allowing me to take advantage of free shipping offers on purchases over a certain dollar amount.

Other than furniture, groceries and automotive products, I haven’t bought anything from a brick and mortar store in a very long time. No more crowds or cranky sales people, no more aching feet or time wasted looking for something I usually never find. I have the world’s largest shopping mall right on my desktop and all I have to do is sit down and shop on the seat of my pants.

Oh, yeah, I’d better add new pants to that list, mine are starting to look a little worn.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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