Some people love to shop and God bless them. But I see a strange phenomenon in my part of Connecticut. Retail stores are closing, lots of them. And when I look at these empty storefronts, I feel this odd, misplaced sense of guilt. Am I partly responsible? You see, I never, ever, walk into stores anymore if I can help it. Here’s how I manage this….
I buy food online – That’s right. I now have most of my groceries delivered by a local chain. For years my husband Randy tried to convince me to do this, but I fought him. “I want to pick out my own produce!” was always my argument. He’d roll his eyes. “But do you need to pick out your own package of Bounty paper towels or Cheerios? Get everything but produce!”
One day I found myself pushing a heavy metal cart through a soulless big box store for the third time that week. The cart was laden with kitty litter, laundry detergent, and cases of dog food.
This is insane, I thought. That afternoon I started a delivery account. I began modestly, ordering the heavy, cumbersome stuff. Soon I added other fare — paper towels, disposable plates, toilet paper and napkins.
Within weeks I was throwing in cookies, bread, frozen pizza, crackers and even chicken breasts. And yes one day, I summoned all my courage and ordered four tomatoes. And you know what? The store picked out better ones than I did.
Once during the frigid winter I went completely rogue, adding flowers. The next day a delivery guy (rather cute) rang my bell, holding my bouquet of pink Stargazer lilies. “For you I assume,” he said with a smile. I smiled back. I could get used to this, I thought. And I have.
I buy clothes online — I have the attention span of a cranky 4 year old in department stores. That’s where they group items by designer. I start out hopeful. Here are tops, I say to myself, happily going through a rack. But then I see more over there… and there… and there… and 500 feet away. My palms start sweating. I just want one blouse. Damn, I’ll be here forever.
Then I discovered online shopping. Yes, it took a while to find those perfect skinny jeans or the kind of tops that aren’t too loose or too tight. I’ve learned who has the best black pants and the nicest-fitting jackets. But once found, I’ve stuck to these brands with the loyalty of a hunting dog.
I buy everything else online – and I mean everything. Know what I bought from Amazon last month? File folders, sugar free candy, pens, pillowcases, ink toner, nail clippers, moisturizer, books, hairspray, 3-hole punch paper, vitamins, a change purse, headphones, lipstick… everything. Everything. Even if a store is just miles away, I’d rather wait a few days and have the stuff delivered. I’ll do anything to avoid schlepping down endless aisles looking for that one stupid thing.
(And last but not least… drumroll please)…. I buy dinner ingredients online! It was like that scene in the “Music Man” where the whole town turns out for the Wells Fargo wagon. Recently my culinary-talented son Paul and I couldn’t wait to see that first box arrive on our front porch. The makings for a meal!
Now anyone who reads this blog knows I hate cooking. So that’s why it was so gratifying to pick up this box… and hand it to Paul! It was a win-win all around. (And by the way, he did a great job with almond-crusted tilapia).
So yes, I buy everything online… almost.
Alas, I’m not completely store-free. No one is. But now I’m able to choose where I put my limited retail energy.
The other day I went to Whole Foods (one of the few retail chains I like despite its high prices) and treated myself to a grocery bag of heaven – fat, juicy blueberries, handmade Provence lavender soap, organic chocolate, gooey Roquefort cheese, and crusty French bread.
“Now this is why stores were invented,” I thought later, unpacking my stash, popping a piece of bread in my mouth.
Maybe I’ll go back next week. Maybe I won’t. For once, it’s my choice…more or less.
I gave a sigh of contentment. Even the cranky four-year old was pleased.
Do you shop online or prefer stores? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share. Thank you!